We Are More Than What Sets Us Apart
Editor’s Note: The following guest post comes from Megan, a novice to the blog world. She teases at the complexity of an infertility conundrum: How do we educate people about the infertility experience and how it reshapes us without making childlessness the only thing they see about us?
I am normally a “silent” silent sorority member, and am thankful for this community. Something happened on New Year’s Eve that made an impact and left me to reflect. My girlfriend gave me her son’s copy of LPA Today Magazine Spring/Summer 2012. LPA = Little People of America. Her son is a lifetime member. Two weeks before her son was born he was diagnosed with dwarfism. He is a little person.
In the LPA lexicon, those whom society deems as proper height are called average people. Note the word average, not normal. I appreciate this, because as I am sure you can all relate, who the heck is normal? In my world normal does not exist.
The LPA magazine editor’s column, “Still waiting for the media to ‘get it right’ ” caught my eye. It highlights a Rolling Stones feature on Peter Dinklage, the actor who portrays a feared dwarf on HBO’s Game of Thrones series. (My husband loves these books.)
LPA magazine editor Jody Yarborough came away disappointed with the piece because she hoped for a profile “more about Dinklage the actor/man/father/husband/person and less about Dinklage the dwarf.”
Yarborough ends the article with these thoughts:
“So how do we as a community get to a place where we don’t have to preach about it anymore? I believe one way is by holding the media to a higher standard. Holding them to a progressive standard that tells our stories not in a way that they think society wants to hear, but rather in a way that society needs to hear. In vignettes of conversations sprinkled throughout Hiatt’s article, Dinklage makes it clear that he has built his career not in denial of his dwarfism but in spite of it.
The finished article is very much a missed opportunity. Had Hiatt really seized on who Dinklage is rather than how tall he stands, he would have crafted a piece of Journalism that really “got it right.” Instead, as a reader, and as a fan, what I am left to wonder about is all the things I wish I knew about Peter Dinklage, besides the fact that his parents didn’t lower the kitchen dishes for him when he was growing up. Not only would it have made for a better read, but it would have served Dinklage better, as well as our community as a whole.”
I loved these last two paragraphs and could very much relate. The part that struck me was the second to last sentence.
Let’s pull a Pamela and swap out a few words to see how it would read in our community:
Instead, as a reader, and as a fan, what I am left to wonder about is all the things I wish I knew about Peter Dinklage, besides the fact that he (editor’s note: can or) cannot have children.
This is the point where I want to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw and deliver a knock out close but I am not sure I have one. I have more questions than answers. Obviously, we are not the only circle still waiting for the media, society, and people to get it right. How do we as a community or as individuals educate those around us so they are not left with a one dimensional view of who we are? My girlfriend does it by passing along magazines.
Megan lives quietly in West Michigan with her husband, garden, honeybees, and chickens on 40 acres. After six stressful but successful years in corporate sales and four years of infertility madness she walked away from it all for a simpler life. By day she works around the house managing the farm and volunteering within the community. Nights, weekends, and summer vacations she attempts to keep up with her husband who is a local high school science teacher.
Megan and I welcome your thoughts