The hubby and I finally invested in a Netflix subscription and I'm happily rewatching my way through the first season of Glee. I was struck again by something that bothers me. I'm really glad to have a popular show aimed at teens with a disabled character. It gives a sense of empowerment. However, why does it seem that all the storylines revolving around Artie seem aimed at making us feel sorry for him? It feels like being given a pat on the back with one hand and smacked in the face with the other.
I have lived my life coping with a disability. I won't lie and say that I've totally come to terms with what I've lost physically and what I still have left to lose, but I don't spend all my time moping about it either. You can't. If you spend all your life handing out invitations to your pity party, you'll feel even more isolated than you need to. I've had my fair share of breakdowns and moments of self pity. I remember one time when my long-suffering college roommate walked it and found me staring at my books on the top shelf where she had placed them in a cleaning fit. I couldn't reach them and didn't know what I was going to do so I just stood there and cried about it. It's funny now, but it felt like a very low moment then.
If the entertainment industry is going to try and give disabled teens a role model, they need to work a little harder at it. Perhaps that wasn't the intention with the character, but if you think you can put someone on screen that fits into such an obvious niche, you're a fool to think they won't be looked to for inspiration. It's hard enough to accept the life and limitations that God has given you sometimes. Do I wish that I was born "normal"? Yes. If I were given a chance at a miracle cure tomorrow would I take it? Probably not. My road hasn't been easy or smooth and probably won't be as long as those around me, but it's made me who I am today.
So my advice to the writers of Glee: Artie needs to suck it up and stop whining so much. Oh, and please find him a wheelchair his legs aren't miles too long for. That is all.