The following section comes from Chapter 9, titled “What I Learned.”

            I have become a disabled woman over time. I certainly would have rejected such a title in the beginning. It could precipitate my death. Consign me to an itty-bitty life.
            And I was never a joiner. I would have been describing myself as part of that group - the ones whose lives are measured out by others.
            For me and other disabled people, the process of claiming disability as an identity and the disabled community as our own is complex. I crept toward it, then skittered away.  I remained for a long time an eavesdropper, a peeper.
            It took many people to bring me into the fold. To help me move toward disability, carrying myself in the upright posture of a newly enfranchised citizen. My advancement was due to other disabled people and, significantly, to the times we were living in.
            I came of age as a disabled person as the disability rights movement was evolving into a recognized political entity. In the years from 1971, when I left rehab, to the present moment, I have witnessed the passage of legislation aimed at integration and equity in education and employment, and the emergence of many disabled people from sheltered dwellings and workplaces.
            This new cadre of disabled people has come out of those special rooms set aside just for us. Casting off our drab institutional garb, we now don garments tailored for work and play, love and sport.