When you’re in a wheelchair people are always giving you bigoted attitudes, telling you what you can and can’t do.
Everyone always knows someone who knows someone who sat next to someone on a bus who read an article about people in wheelchairs and hell with those qualifications surely a Nobel Prize in medicine is just around the corner.
I was told by a woman in a bar “that everyone knows people like you can’t do sport you’re all useless cripples”
Recently I was told by a dress boutique owner who didn’t have wheelchair access “why would you want nice clothes? Where do your kind ever go to wear them?
About six months ago I was climbing at Brooklyn boulders and I had climbed a difficult wall about six times in 2 hours the last time I climbed a 5.10 route which for an able bodied climber is hard but with just your arms is accomplished and I was having a break with a health bar and some coconut water. Suddenly a woman who was watching some children climb blurted out “it must be sad “Sad? Why I asked “well she said having to sit and watch others do something you can’t” can’t? Yes I was in a wheelchair but I was wearing a black diamond climbing rig expensive climbing shoes a chalk bag on my hip and chalk all over my hands, but she looked passed all of that ignoring it all because I had wheels under my ass?
In the Jim Crowe days people had blinders on when they saw a person of color, it could have been ghandi or desmond tutu or nelson Mandela holding a cure for cancer in one hand a letter from god in the other but if they were black they used the back door and sat on the back of the bus and if they went near a white woman they met the KKK.
Woman have for generations lived under a glass ceiling, having to work five times as hard to be recognized but never getting more than 70 cents on the dollar of any man doing the same job.
We the people of tribe wheels under our ass have all of that in spades, imagine going back to 1960 being a black woman in a wheelchair?
Listen folks, if you want me to pay taxes then do something that affects me with it, if you want us to be quiet little gimps you got it wrong. Until we can get off and on a train at every stop, until I can shop at every stop eat at a restaurant when I want I won’t go away I won’t be quiet none of us ever should silence only ever serves the oppressor.
The dis and otherwise abled community of this world are equally as capable of achieving as anyone else, and in many ways better. Because like the black community, like the women of this world we have had to find new better more efficient ways to do the same things everyone else does, but do them better just to be considered anywhere near equal.
When were in a spinal unit with someone catheterizing us, wiping our ass,feeding us and sponge bathing us we have our dignity on hold We don’t ask we steal it back.From that day forward we take everything back and accept no limitations, because just like the woman in the bar the woman with the dress shop the people putting the limitations on us have no idea they never will because if they did they would have wheels under their ass and until they do they are not on our radar and are of no consequence to us because they are not one of us.
Well-meaning people work as social workers for us, advocates for us, lawyers for us and doctors for us, they can tell us what the texts books say we feel what we suffer how our bodies should react but only we, the people with the disabilities actually know what all those things really feel like.
So next time you see some in the chair block out the chair and see the person, if you’re in a climbing gym don’t count out that they may be a climber,if they’re in your dress shop don’t assume they’re with someone else ask what size they are and give them equal service because we have hopes dreams and aspirations people who loves and we love people we shop we holiday we compete and were probably better at it than you.
We are humans, all we want is to be treated as such and not like so much damaged goods.