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.]:
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.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…”
|here's me turning my nose up!|
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.
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.