Stopping and moving

Listen to this post:

In the years since we started making “Who Am I To Stop It,” I’ve thought countless times about the title. That might be because I can’t count. But I also just find it an interesting title. Most people add a question mark at the end. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a question, isn’t it? I suppose it is, and yet it isn’t.

It’s a rhetorical question, and usually you’re not expected to answer the person who asked one of those. Which makes it not a question, in a way.

When I encounter rhetorical questions, the answer I usually give is, “Oh, yeah. Good point.” When I ask myself, “Who am I to stop it?” I think the same thing: “Oh, yeah. Good point.”

I’m really moved by Karolyn Gehrig’s blog post on stopping, wonderfully titled, “On stopping.” Karolyn writes about the weird insistence non-disabled people have with praising disabled people for not letting their disability stop them! On smiling despite having a disability! On getting that job or degree or relationship or feeding themselves and never giving up!

Vomit break. This is the kind of thing that I hope will actually stop. To stop putting focus on how you perceive people with disabilities likely won’t succeed at things just because of disability, and to start asking what social obstacles tend to prevent people from achieving what they want, disability or no disability.

But Karolyn then writes about how she, in fact, stops all the time. It’s part of how she lives with disabilities. When her body needs a break, then she’s gonna stop. She has to.

When people hear this is a TBI film, it’s sometimes mistaken for a Supercrip, overcoming, inspiring story of beating the odds. Luckily, it’s a different kind of stopping in my title, and it aligns with Karolyn’s well, I think. Mine is a pep talk: Who am I to stop it means don’t let ableist messages get in your head and stop your creativity and self-expression and self-advocacy and fighting for whatever it is you wanna fight for.