Today is rainy so I’m going to spend some time telling you about myself and my independent life (later I probably will go to a local pastry shop to drink a tea with some cookies…). This is my first post in English, so please forgive my mistakes!
the Independent Living Movement grew out of the Disability Rights Movement, which began in the 1960s.
As you probably know, I’m Italian and I live in a small village not too far from Turin. I’ve been living alone for two years, since I went to live in the city center of Turin with a Pakistani boy who was a student of the Polytechnic of Turin. We lived together for six months, in a small house behind the University. I can remember the smell of spices and tobacco inside the house, and the tasty dishes that he used to cook…I loved the Pakistani recipes, even if the first time I tasted a dish called Quorma prepared with a spicy sauce and chili, it set fire to my mouth as if someone had struck a match on my tongue!
The Independent Living philosophy postulates that people with disabilities are the best experts on their needs, and therefore they must take the initiative, individually and collectively, in designing and promoting better solutions and must organize themselves for political power.
By the way, our house was a melting pot of cultures: Italian, Indian and Pakistani perfumes, different kinds of music and different languages, Italian, Urdu, Hindi, Persian, Arab… Before sleeping, he used to listen pashto songs or sufi music: Hadiqa Kiyani and Abida Parveen have made my nights more fascinating. He gifted me a typical bridal dress as well, and sometime I wore the veil – called Dupatta – on my head. It seemed to live in fairytale, even if this experience was not as easy as you can imagine.
Over the years, the Movement has spread from North America to all continents, adapting itself to and getting enriched by different cultures and economic conditions
Because of that, I moved from Turin to the village where I live now. Here I started to live alone, with two shifting assistants that help me to do everything I can’t do on my own. For example, getting dressed and undressed, having a shower, cooking, and going outside. if I have a date, for example, they take me everywhere I need to go but then they leave me alone because they are only a substitute for my legs and arms, not for my brain! It means that my partner doesn’t feel like he has to kiss my assistant as well… 🙂
So, this is what I consider Independent Living: a way to live like everyone else even if you have a serious disability.
Independent Living is a philosophy, a worldwide movement of people with disabilities working for self-determination, self-respect and equal opportunities, it’s a welfare topic, but for me – firstly – it’s the chance to live alone, to rent a house, to hire personal caregivers, to travel and to build our own future like any other person!