Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ugh. Some People!: Another blog where I turn my nose up at people being awkward

This week has been overwhelming and harried due to coming off my week-long high from being at ARE camp to starting a temp job on Monday. Even my off days have been crazed, so I seriously feel like all I have been doing the electric slide in a sandstorm for the last 14 days. [Tangent: Is that a good analogy? Probably not. Bottom line, life has been a hectic blur lately.]

There has been so much to write about with this frenetic Tazmanian Devil pace, but I have decided to start by sharing and responding to a guest blog posted on a friends blog. [Tangent: Seriously, that's some Inception style blogging! Am I right?] Since I call this blog "That Girl in the Wheelchair", occasionally I like to rant about disability stuff in the mainstream. My friend Beth from In Case of Fire, Use Stairs, posted this guest blog from a friend about being a parent to a disabled child. [Tangent: It could really apply to anyone who is a friend/family member/loved one/caretaker/boyfriend/girlfriend/father/baby mama/baby daddy etc.]

My main takeaway/ part that left me shaking my head emphatically and immediately posting it on every piece of social media I could access was this part. [ Tangent: I implore you to read the whole thing because it's brilliantly stated, but if you're lazy like me, I understand.]:
Being called a “special kind of person” began to make me uncomfortable.  And then I saw a photo on Facebook that made me realize why.  It was a picture of a teenage girl dressed for prom and standing beside her date—a boy with Down Syndrome.  The picture was charming, but it’s the comments that got to me:

“Honorable move, looks like she made his day!”

“Someone at my school did the same this year. It made me proud of her because she’s absolutely beautiful and could’ve had anyone she wanted.”

 “That is very sweet of her…”
I, too, have seen this viral piece of condescension before and remember it making me itch, which is my default reaction to anything that makes me uneasy. Granted, it is nice of anyone to be nice to people with differences, but they don't need to be glorified and part of some kind of "like if you agree" campaign on Facebook.  Immediately, it came back to me in flashes and I turned my nose up at the whole firestorm of "awws" and "she's a hero!" comments.

here's me turning my nose up!
I cannot express to you how many times a backwards compliment is thrown in the direction of me or someone I love. My best friend used to get it all the time when people would find out she wasn't my sister, and thus not genetically obligated to hang out with me, they would say, "That's nice of you to take her out and hang out with her all day." Ugh! Some people! She would usually respond that it is in fact nice of me to hang with her.

 Sincerely, I know the people are usually elderly or have good intentions as they cruise by me in a Cracker Barrel and pat me on the head before patting my boyfriend or friend on the back and say "God bless you" or "You're amazing" and shaking their head as if they have just seen Jesus turn Stewart's root beer into wine.  I'M RIGHT HERE, DAMMIT! How does that make me feel? Pretty shitty, if I'm being 100% honest.

c/o flickr
 It's kinda sad that I've made peace with the fact that some people view Jamie and my relationship as some kind of Make-A-Wish scenario [Tangent: It always reminds me of the prom night vignette from New York, I Love You.] Yes, Jamie is incredibly patient and kind, and I'm sure he has to deal with his share of shit from other people due to his choice to date me, and for that I always feel a sense of guilt for putting him through that.  But it also makes him incredibly strong that he doesn't give a shit and like Eric Cartman, he carries that "Whateva, I do what I want" mentality  [Tangent: Only further evidenced by his affinity for insane facial hair and oversized old women's sunglasses.]

Who knows? Maybe he'll start a trend. Just like every hipster wants an Asian girlfriend- pretty soon, they will all be chasing chicks in chairs.  Disabled ladies: the ultimate accessory.

 What I do or my friends do everyday isn't inspiring [Tangent: I really hate that word. It's gross. I guess the only thing I would accept to be viewed as is a low rate mentor. I'm happy that with minimal effort and not even trying, I can show young disabled folks not to subscribe to the notion that if you use adaptive equipment or need breathing treatments that you have to be a shut in.] and the roles Jamie and my friends play in my life are not to get accolades or martyrdom. Instead of believing our relationship is an act of goodwill, instead think of it as you would any average normal relationship/friendship: it's highly likely he is just into the same weird shit that I'm into.  Simple as that. And trust, my friends and loved ones have PLENTY of "disabilities" of their own, they just don't get parking placards for it. 


  1. i really love this post but at the same time i hate that you had to write it, you know? i approve of nose-turning-up at these kinds of people and i really like your friend's response to them.

    can we just talk about how freaking amazing that picture of you and jamie is?! also i giggled at "it's highly likely he is just into the same weird shit that I'm into" because ain't that the truth?

    sidenote: it was so great to finally meet you last night! if we're being completely honest I feel like I didn't get to talk to you enough because when i did it felt like i was screaming down the table, geez. but this can be remedied when we all keep hanging out in the future, y/y?

    sorry to hear about your rough week— i hope you find sometime to yourself for relaxing soon! i'm off to read the article you posted now. -jenna

    1. I know! I am so glad we finally got to meet and occasionally shout down to each other down the table. Next time we will have to musical chairs it periodically!

      Thanks. Me and Jamie are in some type of costume in 98% of pictures taken of us. I feel like we have very few where we are being sincere in normal clothing. Ha.

    2. haha it's so funny that you said that because i was literally thinking of "blogger musical chairs" meetup when we left last night. . . (oops, my blognerd is showing. . . ) maybe one day we can even convince our misters to come ;-) (costume required)

    3. If we both have this idea- then clearly it is brilliant! Jamie is usually down for whatever....costume or no costume. It seems all the blogger boyfriends have a thing for facial hair. Your dude has a solid beard.

  2. First off, catching up on your blog has me ROLLING with laughter. Girl, you are hilarious! (Tangent: Your tangents are my favs.)

    As for this particular post, in a related way, I will say that I have always dated men I find to be sexy beasts. And I talk about my boyfriends to people, because I talk quite a bit. But when the time comes for them to meet my guy or see a photo, I inevitably get this surprised reaction like, "Wow, he's really handsome!"

    Um, excuse me? What about me makes you think my boyfriend should be average-looking or something? I may not be society's idea of a hottie, but I have some sexy brains and geekiness. My guy must be such a martyr for wasting his handsomeness on someone who looks like me. LOL

    1. I say the same thing about Jamie's height. He's 6'1... I'm 4'11. His height is truly wasted on me

    2. Dan is 6'1 too and I disagree with you... nothing wasted when you got a man who can reach the top shelves! LOL

  3. People are oblivious to their stupidity. It's just true..... there you go again, callin it as it is, Kimmie Jones. If we took away the wheelchair all that would be left would be fantastic wit and insight, a Rain Manesque ability to recall 80's/90's pop culture trivia, a transparent writer and storyteller, a cute Annette Funicello sweetie pie face (yes, I think so) and a lot more that I don't know personally about you but I'm sure there's a lot because so many people seem to love you..... I started readin because you were in Rae's reading list, boy was she right! It pays off to try a recommendation, sometimes ;)
    People, though they mean well, are pretty dim sometimes. Who ARE these people pattin your head in Cracker Barrel?!?! I am embarrassed for them! Come on now!

    1. You are so sweet. I swear you are like my Jiminy Cricket, Laura Huey. You never fail me.

  4. oh my gosh i'm cracking up at the picture of you and jamie, mostly because you didn't say anything about why he is dressed like that, so maybe it is just his casual outfit! haah!
    and i agree with laura huey up there, i am second hand embarrassed for people patting your head! what are they THINKING?
    thanks for sharing that post. it isn't something ive' ever really thought of before (i'm not the "oh you are a SAINT" type, mostly because i'm not very NICE, haha!) and thinking about some kid hearing people say that to their parent over and over, or to every friend who deigns to hang out with them? terrible.

    1. You are a true hero for being my friend Rae. Usually I take it with a grain of salt but if I'm PMSing or have had a shitty day, I can't promise a hair rustle won't get your hand knocked off

  5. Just found you via Spashionista's blog. It's pretty disturbing to me that people would feel this way about loving someone disabled. I'm one of those people with an invisible disability (a serious back injury that leaves me with chronic pain and limited physical ability and stamina). I don't know if people who know about my disability think my partner is a hero. I've never even thought about it. I will now though! I do get a LOT of people telling me that I only need to "think positive" and my injury will go away, the obvious implication being that I'm not really injured at all because I don't "look" disabled.

    P.S. I have a blog about style, disability, and feminism (plus lots of tangents). Check it out if you'd like:

    1. Awesome thanks for reading. Sometimes I think having an invisible disability would be hard bc sometimes if people don't see it, then to them it's not real or it doesn't exist. People are dense like that. But I do think it gets you out of some of the word vomit from strangers and awkward comments. When you have an obvious disability, it's like you're on display at all times. It's hard to blend in, so I've just kind of embraced it...however I still have a complex that the people around me have to deal with comments too.

      Ill definitely check out your blog! Sounds intriguing

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