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Tell It Slant, Third Edition, 3rd Edition by Suzanne Paola, Brenda Miller

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5

The Body of Identity

The body offers deep truths all its own. Different truths, truths of difference.

—STEPHEN KUUSISTO AND RALPH JAMES SAVARESE

I have a disability, one that others aren’t always able to see. Recently I mentioned this disability to a new friend. She leaned toward me and said, in a half-whisper, “Well, don’t worry, I would never have been able to tell.”

I realized this person felt she was being kind. But there are painful assumptions loaded into this comment, one that I’ve heard versions of many times before: my diagnosis is one that I should want to keep hidden. I should feel reassured and flattered that it doesn’t “show.” What about those times when I cannot hide? How should I feel about myself had she noticed?

I began, in ...

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