Everyday Inquisitions

It’s a rare thing indeed when someone who presents as *Abled asks me about my disability. Occasionally, it’s all about the method and context of the enquiry, not the actual person asking, allow me to expand.

Living with a visible disAbility I have always been the subject of scrutiny by society at large, more so now that I use a Power wheelchair, (very difficult to ignore) As Harry Winston once said: “People will stare, make it worth their while”. Truly, words to live by. I admit, I have done and will continue to do My* part in making it worth society’s while if they consider my personage stare worthy.

The other afternoon on public transit a middle aged woman sat opposite me on the bus, she presented as Abled* but I refrain from making broad assumptions.  She asked me all about what my chair does, commented on the type of covering I have on my seat, back and armrests,(Sheepskin) and further, why I had covered my seating area in this material.  I gave her the reason, being my skin has become delicate, and I’m prone to pressure ulcers, as many a wheeled folk are. She took a long hard look at my chair again and asked me how long I spent in the chair every day. The answer being, variable dependent upon how I’m feeling and moving, or what I plan on doing on any given day.

I mistakenly thought this would conclude the inquisition, but alas, no.  Society in general piques my interest occasionally, and I tend to choose my battles with the utmost care.  This person was simply *not going to let this opportunity to interview a real live Crip pass her by… oh my, no.  I said to myself, “Self, here comes the* windup, she’s gonna do IT, you just know* she is! Pay close attention because here comes the fastball, it’s a mean ass burner of a curveball  and I’m ready to knock it out of the park.  She pipes up, “So, why are you in a wheelchair anyway?”…  See, I told you. This* was gonna get *Real.

I usually avoid talking about myself, and don’t seek out strangers to speak with in general, but this* winner found me. I was four point restrained on public transit facing off with what could arguably be a true sitting duck. Quack.  Oh my, this* was going to be JUICY GOOD! I told her precisely why I use a power wheelchair, I went into a bit of gory detail in regard to my disAbility, the pain, the glorious bouts of  agony, and yes, the glorious truth in regard to my prognosis . I also regaled her with anecdotes pertaining to the numbskulls I encounter on a daily basis.  I discussed incontinence, and my ability to choke on nothing but air. I told her I could ostensibly bite the biscuit right here and now in front of everyone, given the correct sequence of circumstances. I gave her her bus ticket’s worth alright.

She blanched and flushed as only a Caucasian can.  She mumbled, and fumbled and noises eminated from her that I don’t ever think I’ve heard before. This my friends, was a piece of unparalleled oratorical  excellence . I hit a veritable grand slam this time, Harry Winston would be proud. She appeared to have been experiencing  information (TMI) overload. I don’t know what thoughts were milling about up there in her cranium, but I thought this baby might actually blow a gasket. Suddenly she bolted out of her seat and pushed the stop button as if her life depended on it – several times.  She appeared panic stricken. ( By the look of terror that registered on her face, I done real* good.)

The bus stopped and she scampered away like scared wild thing.  I was secretly proud of myself for enlightening the *Abled* it always feels good when I can help them understand my life a bit better. An old fellow mid-bus with a cane applauded the performance heartily. Some other good hearted soul offered me half a sandwich in return for the entertainment.

I realize that I could have fired back to her question of why* I am in a wheelchair with… this: Why aren’t you?

~Crip Out~

 

 

 

 

 

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Ten Things…

Things I wish the Abled*could know about people like me, who live with a neuromuscular disorder / disAbility.

1. I am not your inspiration, nor am I your cause.
2. I am not your mascot, or a posterperson for, nor the absolute authourity on my particular disease, nor am I the expert on anyone else’s.
3. I have my own dreams and ambitions. Respect them.
4. Respect my personal boundaries. I respect yours.
(that includes my wheelchair or mobility device/equipment or my service dog etc. so touching anything I have going on over @ here* requires my express consent). Otherwise, it’s called assault and yes, I will press charges.

5. I can see and hear you perfectly. Address me directly. (Unless I’m ignoring you). You may be surprised/shocked by my reply, I’m not a toaster. I’m a human being, just like you.

6. No,I don’t know your sister’s friend X who also uses a wheelchair. (But if she’s hot* and likewise inclined* and I happen to be single* at the time*~ maybe you can get me a phone number? 😉 )
7. If I need help, I can ask for it. Conversely, if You need help, you can ask me too.
8. You can pray for me if you have the burning desire to do so. In my experience, it won’t change my reality. No, I didn’t do* anything to deserve this condition that you may believe was punishment from some vengeful entity, but If that’s what floats your boat, knock yourself out. (just don’t touch me, or make me run over you with this big black chair).
9. Yes, sometimes this* hurts (beyond belief) but what hurts more, is Ignorance… That* hurts everyone.
10. No, I never imagined I would ever look this fabulous. People stare. I do my utmost to make it worth their effort.

 

~Crip Out~

Ableist* Attutudes

How is it that I’m not functionally disAbled until the moment I leave my home? (Not that it’s a Bad thing I’m a very Proud Radical Crip) I have had to make so many modifications to my home and personal environment over the years to make my life possible (occasionally I have invented where there are no modifications available, or affordable). I’ve been very fortunate, I realize this.

The true problem begins when I leave my home environment and am faced with so many barriers (not just physical built environment i.e. stairs, curbs, and the like) The most debilitating barriers I face on a daily basis are attitudinal. Most notably from “professionals” i.e medical professionals,and those who should be more enlightened, but aren’t. Fear and ignorance,discrimination, judgement, and assumptions about who I am (or Should* be) from the folks I meet on a daily basis occasionally take a piece out of my soul. Ignorance is the most debilitating of disAbilities my friends, and it’s pervasive.

This is why* I do the things I do, and attempt to educate and inform. But even SuperCrips like me get so very tired of it all.

~Crip Out~

Dear Abled* Folks

I know most of you really* don’t care or give much thought to folks living with disAbilities, I know I sure didn’t until I acquired one of my very own.  I am learning continually about this new existence, and I thought maybe a few of you out there would take a chance and come along  with me …disAbility  (btw, This* is how I choose to spell dis-Abled no, I am not having a stroke, nor am I making toast)…my apologies, that* was crip humour. ..is a journey…and trust me it’s a destination as well… So, here goes…

You may have questions, I may* have answers, but I have spent my time watching other folks and thinking about perceptions and realities.  Society teaches us that folks with disAbilities are to be seen as “other” and are not to be engaged with socially as we were taught (Back in the Day) that disAbled  folks won’t engage with You either, or maybe you were taught that you might contract whatever *those* people suffer from. It was  only true if one happened to have a cold okay?

Caveat* : Some of you will or will not appreciate my sense of dry gallows humour, but, so be it it’s all part of the package. what you see, is indeed what you will get.

~Crip Out~