La tensión entre los que deben defender ciertas normas, opiniones y valores, y los que luchan por otras nuevas, es el resultado sobre el que descansa la evolución de la sociedad.

Serge Moscovici

From the serenity (Móran M, 2006) (doc)

Some time ago I started to think that it would be good to make a foundation to spread knowledge of what Achondroplasia is and to share what treatments and care is needed, as well as what things one can do to live more harmoniously with it.That’s why I came to the Internet (even though I’m not very fond of it) to see if there was something of the sorts.To my great surprise and joy, I found all of you, as well as a number of posts, comments and experiences that were very similar to mine.This had never happened to me because I’ve never had the opportunity to relate to people with this disability.I had only seen some people on the street.

When I speak of similar experiences it’s because, for example, I remember when I was a child and didn’t understand why I was always looked at and made fun of, except in the district where I lived (in the city of Rosario) where I went out to play in the street just like the other kids as if there was nothing wrong; I was one of them.I even played a lot of football, which was my favourite game.But as soon as I came out of that environment, I felt, as I said before, the looks of astonishment, laughter and mockery.

I don’t know why, but when I lived in Rosario (until the age of 9), my parents never sent me to school, which was about 8 blocks from my home.They told me that it was very far away and that I could not walk so much (which was true) because I got tired.Also, my parents and my sisters (all older than me) taught me to read and write the four fundamental operations of mathematics (I knew multiplication tables inside-out).

I had even learned the simple rule of three.When we moved to Buenos Aires, I started going to the school which was in front of my house.The fear was huge; it wasn’t fear of the people, but of things going wrong and of people thinking I was unable to study due to my disability.It wasn’t so clear to me how things were. I knew I was much shorter than the other children my age, but I thought that maybe one day I would grow or that some medicine would appear which would make me grow.What was clear to me was that my intelligence level was the same as the others and that if I applied myself, I would have to do well.That’s how it was, and I turned out to be one of the best students.It was okay that my classmates were three years younger than I.My relationship with my teachers and peers was totally normal.The problem was, and still is, walking down the street.

The other issue was when I had to go to secondary school.My mother wanted me to go to the Don Bosco School, in the Salesian Congregation.I really didn’t want to do so; I had to walk six blocks every day and I was thinking that if I stayed at home and did nothing I may be better off.My mother (my father had died), my sisters, my brothers-in-law and the few friends I had encouraged me to study.Above all was my mum, who bent over backwards for me and told me to study so that tomorrow I could get a good job and not depend on anybody.In reality, I later learned that my mum’s great fear was her dying and leaving me unprotected.Thankfully, this did not happen.

Returning to the topic of secondary school, I ended up going to the Don Bosco School.It was a new challenge. How would my relationship be with schoolmates, teachers and priests?How I would get on with studies? Would I do well enough or would I have difficulty?Again, thankfully, it was better than in primary school.A good relationship with my schoolmates, teachers and priests, and one of the two best averages on graduation at the end of five years of study.

But the most important part of the Don Bosco School is that it is where I met God.And without me realising it, my life changed then.Firstly, I began to love my body (up until then I never wanted to look at myself in full-length mirrors).But through the grace of baptism I learned that my body was a “Temple of the Holy Spirit”.How wonderful!My little body was a temple!God lived inside me!Just like other people.To God, I was the same as everyone else, so it did not bother me so much that others laughed at me or teased me.A priest once told me, “They also laughed at Jesus Christ”. Despite the differences, it is clear.

I completed secondary school happily and without many complexes (although I still have some), and I even represented the school in intercollegiate competitions in chess and Religion.The whole school community always treated me as one of them.Without privileges, but also without contempt.I felt confident and sure of what I could do.Whenever a new situation arose, I repeated with Saint Paul “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

But there was still a long way to go.University.It was another world.Just as in the earlier stages, it went smoothly and I graduated within five years, as planned in the curriculum.Only one teacher left me with a bad taste in my mouth when I asked him to let me sit a test prematurely so I could qualify a quarter early.He asked me, “What’s your hurry?What do you want the degree for?”I found the answers to these questions when I started to look for work.Everybody closed their doors on me.Some had trivial, stereotypical answers, such as “We will be in touch soon”, “It’s no problem to us, we care about the content, not the continent”.Finally, and after the pleas of my mum, the father of a friend of mine gave me work at his company (in 1971) not as an Actuary, but with work in accounting.Due to various circumstances, I got to handle the entire administration part.Shortly thereafter, due to personal differences (I think that it had nothing to do with my disability), I quit that company.Since then, I have been advising small businesses, doing accounting work, settling taxes, salaries, etc. I’ve had moments where I did well financially, but for a few years now, with the terrible economic crisis plaguing the country, I’ve barely managed to survive decently.

I will also let you know that in 1973 I bought a car which I drive myself, and since then I have been driving my own vehicle.My mum died in 1979, and I believed that the world was finished for me; nothing made sense anymore.But Divine Providence caused me to meet an exceptional woman (of normal height) with whom I’ve been married for 18 years.

Unfortunately, for people who do not treat me normally, I’m still an object of curiosity and mockery, and even of fear.For example, it’s been two years since I started going to an office three times a week, and every time I get into or out of the car, businesspeople look at me as if it were the first time they’d seen me.

So, this is a little summary of my life.I have tried to emphasize everything that is positive, so whoever reads it may learn that even if life is hard, sometimes you can fight.It is not impossible if one has the love of family, decision, a pinch of audacity and, above all, faith in God, who is the One who will never abandon us.

On the other hand, life is not easy for anyone, and I know many people that, without being disabled, live the same as Cain.I think that what we have to endeavour to do to the utmost is for us to be treated always as we are -human beings- and ensure that everyone understands that they (or their families) are all exposed to having this or that type of disability, that nobody thinks that it could never happen to them, that gods did not create them, that they are not proud.That we all have to always realise that we are nothing more (and nothing less) than human beings.

I tell you this as at my 57 years of age, that I agree with my way of being, of thinking, of acting.As my mind and my spirit, this could only be developed within this container, because as I say, “I am as I am because I am as I am”.In another body, I would be a different person, but I am happy with this one.

A big hug, good luck, and if you can, write to me. My email is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Miguel Morán González