Art by dreamedbyjuliana
6 years ago, I had a best friend. We played together every day of the summer. Almost every childhood memory I have, she was there. But, even as a little girl, I noticed little differences between us. The way she talked and played and learned was different than anyone else I had met. I later learned that my best friend was born very, very early, causing her development to be delayed. At 10 years old, I didn’t fully understand disabilities, but there was something that drew me to this girl because something about her differences made her all the more special.
6 years after moving away from my best friend, I was reminded and convicted of the way society treats people with unique disabilities.
It actually happened when I watched Finding Dory last summer. For those who don’t know the story, Dory is a fun, energetic little fish who struggles with Short Term Memory Loss. She constantly forgets things that happened 2 hours ago, 2 minutes ago, sometimes even 2 seconds ago. This makes her the butt of jokes and a target for ridicule and judgmental looks. But she never stops smiling.
Like in the movie’s prequel, Finding Nemo, Dory meets and makes a lot of friends that help her through the journey. She heavily relies on them to help her remember every little thing. But then there comes a time when Dory is separated from everyone she knows. She finds herself alone in the big, blue ocean. Lost. Friendless. Almost hopeless. And she starts to forget. And she says “Oh no, oh, no. I’m forgetting again. I’m forgetting my parents. I’m forgetting where I was going. Wait, where am I going?” As you see this little blue fish lost and alone and vulnerable, you realize what it might be like to not remember. To be Dory. To have a disability.
I’ll never forget the feeling of hearing this story. For a second, I was Dory. I was exposed and I was scared. I had a disability and in our society, there are people out there who are alone because others don’t want to deal with differences. All of a sudden, Dory’s forgetfulness and antics weren’t funny; they were personal and real. Experiencing this scene opened my heart to people who are targeted or ignored for how they were created. Where do I fit in on the spectrum? Do I have unconditional love towards those different from me? Or do I avoid them because I don’t want to be “weighed down” or bothered? It made me wonder how people are treating my best friend …
Art by _.color.the.world._
Finding Dory reminded me to treat people with love. Treat people with respect. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Please, take the lesson of Finding Dory to heart! You never know how many lives you might change.
The Kamau Sisters
Hi! We're Nia, Jada, and Bailey Kamau. We laugh, sing, read, and have Narnia marathons probably more than we should. Thanks so much for checking out our blog!
"Sisters by chance, friends by choice."
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