Friday, August 10, 2012


   As I mentioned in my last post, I'm currently taking a really cool photography class. I never gave photography more than a passing thought for most of my life (excepting Instagram here), but I needed the credits and I liked the idea of walking around the City taking pictures during my lunch breaks. Anyway, this week's assignment was about perspective and how the photographer is in control of making the viewer see his or her artistic vision. Photographers play with different angles and techniques in order to get the perfect shot. The very essence of the art is making people see a certain object or person in a new light (often literally.) It's funny, though, because even though the students' assignments were all exactly the same, none of our photos looked a bit alike. Everyone had drastically different views and ideas that they captured in their pictures. And the even funnier thing is that that's a pretty good metaphor for life in general. Everyone has ideas and thoughts and stories, and they don't always align with what others think and do and feel.

NYC Windows
When I was a teenager and my aunt drove me to my high school, I used to spend the half-hour trip reading in the front seat. My cousin always conveniently left her fashion magazines in the car, and I loved flipping through them. A lot of the magazines featured real women writing short memoir-like pieces about a particular aspect of their life. One day, I found one about a woman with a disability and her experiences with dating. I don't recall the specifics, but the woman had something along the lines of a lopsided back and misshapen legs. She wrote about how she would hide in dark corners at swanky bars so that attractive young bachelors would not notice her "flaws."

I distinctly remember feeling a shred of pity for the poor woman who, I believed, had it much worse than I did. After all, I've always had a decent figure and shapely legs that I consider to be my best feature. But as I continued scanning the story, I read something to the effect of "It could be worse: I could be an amputee...." Yup. While I was rejoicing that I wasn't shaped like her, she was thanking her lucky stars she was not missing a limb like me.  

NYC Street
It was a pretty insightful lesson I learned from that fashion magazine. People have different ideas about EVERYTHING. There's no objective hierarchy in terms of whose disability is worse or better to have, just like there are people who prefer blondes to brunettes and people who are willing to hurt each other just to prove that their ideology is more correct. There are people who will consider a disability a deterrent to a relationship and those who will love someone with a limb difference, not in spite of, but WITH the disability. It really depends on the person's perspective.

So there you have my thoughts on this. I'll leave you now with this short anecdote: My boyfriend and I were at his parents' house last week when his mom started talking about a new adoption show I'm working on (I'm Having Their Baby on Oxygen, if you want to check it out.) I casually mentioned that I'd like to adopt a special needs child someday. Her response was not what I'd hoped for; she said it would be very. difficult to raise a child with special needs.

"Well, I turned out okay,"I said sheepishly.

"Oh Caitlin," she laughed. "But you're not Special Needs!"

I have no idea what "Special Needs" means to her, but it's nice knowing that the picture of me in her head is one that doesn't fit the category I've been placed in all my life.


  1. Caitlin, great blog here. I found it after looking up the Aimee Mullnis meme real quick.

    I'm working on a project about perceptions of disability and perceptions of sexuality. Your writing is godsend. I would like to talk more about your potential involvement. I wasn't sure if there was a better way to contact you.

    As a message of self disclosure, I live with a chronic illness that requires orthopedic surgeries and crutches from time to time. I like to consider myself able-bodied with insight into what it is like to live with mobility issues. That's that real point of my writing here though, I am thrilled to see you taking on these concepts with a clear voice and I want to work with you on this project.

    My project (if completed on time!) will be submitted to the Boston Reelabilities film fest. Maybe that is already on your radar? I think the NY submission deadline has passed.

    Anyways, I love your blog & let me know what you think. Hope to hear back. Thanks!! Be well.

    1. Hi Jawkat,

      Thanks for your comment! I've never heard of that particular film fest before, actually, but it sounds interesting. What sort of project do you have in mind? My email is