My voice here on the vast blogosphere and Internet is just a small berry on a very large and fruitful bush. I get strength from knowing that I am not alone. Like typical berries, there are a bunch of us out here, but we tend not to cluster the way other berries do. Unlike typical fruit, us berries are sentient, aware of our environment, vastly so, and aware of each other, more so all the time. We are a strange variety, but we are bunching and growing more typical all the time.
“How interesting,” you say.
“What type of berry are you?”
You can call me a Gimp Berry, the berry representing the growing empowerment of disabled people. The Gimp Berry bush I grow on has many branches, at least one branch representing all the various disabilities. The physical disability branch is where I am fortunate enough to be born as a tasty fruit. Nearby are branches for being blind and Deaf and so on, and from the major disability branches sprout smaller twigs. If you can think of a disability, the Gimp Berry bush has a branch and/or twig for it, and they all bear tasty berries like me. Our bush is growing all the time, and us berries are glad for the company.
“I had no idea,” you exclaim.
“What does a your bush look like?”
To look at the Gimp Berry bush can be deceiving. Sometimes it looks in need of all sorts of help; it can be scrawny. But it can also be wild. Gimp Berry bush branches have a tendency to violate the restrictive rules of horticulture, so people want to tame us, or worse. But the Gimp Berry bush is much stronger than it looks. Its roots are deep and old and strong, so strong that people have even tried to eradicate our bush, kill us, time and time again—even today it happens—but we survive because we have been around forever, and we will remain around forever because the Gimp Berry bush is part of the earth itself. What’s so sad is that many of the people that want to change or kill us will someday become part of our bush. That’s how strong we are. But we are also very open; there’s lots of room to grow and bear fruit here.
“Why do Gimp Berries not cluster?” you ask.
“Why do you not bunch like typical berries?”
First and foremost, there is nothing typical about us. Each branch and twig of the Gimp Berry bush is unique unto itself for all sorts of reasons too vast to explore here. We may all share the same roots, but the path to our branches has had many influences, and from that comes our many differences. Some of these differences come from horticulturists that have tried to treat each branch instead of the whole Gimp Berry bush, and, to he honest, the various branches craved this individual attention. The result of this has been surface divisions among the berries. But as I said above, our shared roots are very strong, plenty strong enough to survive such divisions. So strong, in fact, that from our diverse branches has grown even greater roots strength.
“How interesting,” you say.
“How strong is the Gimp Berry bush?”
Our bush is so strong that we are learning to take pride in the Gimp Berry bush, so strong that we are now starting to have parades and festivals in honor of it. We call these parades and festivals Disability Pride, and they are beginning to happen all over the country, from big cities like Chicago (where they’ve been doing it for 11 years) to small cities like Nacogdoches, Texas (2nd annual parade announcement coming soon!). Our Gimp Berry bush is finally bearing fruit in all sorts of amazing ways. There’s even talk of coordinating multiple events throughout a state, or even beyond. Our very old and strong Gimp Berry bush is finally maturing to the point it bears vastly more and tastier fruit clusters.
“This is all fascinating,” you say.
“But what does a Gimp Berry look like?”
We look like you, of course, so be proud and share the fruit plate.