John Lennon may not have invented the phrase “crippled inside” but he did bring it to a generation.
When we normal people see a cripple in a wheelchair we may feel sympathy, we may feel supportive and protective, we may want to demonstrate our generosity of soul by engaging them. Physically, we feel repulsed. Relieved it is not us in the wheelchair and a tinge guilty at being relieved. The Germans do have a work for this, though it does not deal with the more brutal reality that the idea of sex with cripples is heavy with disgust.
Yet many people walking around in well functioning bodies are deeply crippled inside. There are things they can’t do for themselves, that they need help with. Emotional things, like self-esteem. There are things they can never do or achieve, like unconditional love. They will never give a child they upbringing they need and they will live narrow lives constrained by fear of exposure.
In Toxic People, Gathering, the reasonably able-bodied Geoffrey falls in love with the strong-willed wheelchair cripple, Yshta. He whispers to he the truth, that of them, he’s the real cripple.
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