Having wheels doesn’t and shouldn’t define who you are. It really gets on my nerves when people try to make a joke about people with disabilities. I mean sometimes it can be funny but there is a point where it can get insulting too. Know your limits people.
“Oh, I got a date tonight.”
“With who? Stephen Hawking?”
I’m sorry but was that meant to be funny? Another one that we often get is “Oh, is your boyfriend/girlfriend in a wheelchair as well?” Now why on earth do you think that people in wheelchairs can only date each other? Are we not allowed to date an able bodied person? It really grinds my gears (pardon the pun). We are not inbred, we are humans, we have feelings just as much as any other person. It’s almost as if we’re not allowed to speak or interact with anyone that’s not in a wheelchair. Living with a disability is one of the most difficult thing to do. It’s not like a broken bone that will get fixed in a couple of weeks and will be forgotten about. It’s waking up knowing that you will constantly need assistance, going to sleep knowing the next day will be the same. You are dependent on someone 24/7. There are a lot of people who live with disabilities that don’t need assistance and live independently. Those people I salute. However, there are people who need care all the time, they are unable to do anything for themselves.
Over the years, personally, I’ve got used to the staring. I know that people are just curious as to why I have wheels. To be honest, I don’t necessarily stare but I glance at other people in wheelchairs too. I am curious as to why they are in a wheelchair. It’s human nature to be curious when you see something that’s ‘abnormal’. Not that being in a wheelchair should be in this day and age. Another thing that annoys me is when people assume that you were in an accident. “Oh what happened to you?” I just sit and stare at them with a blank face. What? Now I’m not allowed to have had this condition since birth? Is that banned now too? There are a lot of people who are born with disabilities. Not everything is caused by an accident. Mine? Mine was after I was 6 years old. No body actually knows why my bones break. The doctors have diagnosed me with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones) but they have no clue which stage it is. They did tests on both my parents and they aren’t even carriers that they could have passed the gene down to me. They’ve done multiple tests on me and it always show that my bones are normal. It’s a mystery.
There is nothing wrong with being in a wheelchair but what is wrong is when people look at you and say “can I have a go on there?” Do you want us to stand up and wait for you to have a go on our chairs and return it? What kind of stupidity is this? There are a lot of people who have asked me and since I am able to stand and walk assisted by crutches I let people have a go. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay to ask to have a go on someone’s wheelchair. It’s stupid. That’s like us asking an able bodies person if we can try their legs. Being in a wheelchair wasn’t a choice. We didn’t choose the wheel life, the wheel life chose us. There is never a day where I hate or pity myself for being in a wheelchair. I am in a chair because I was meant to be, it wasn’t like I chose to be.
There are a lot of people out there who are very narrow minded; thinking that when we voice out our opinions regarding what we find offensive or not, we are the boring closed -minded people. Like I mentioned previously, there are jokes and then there is offence. One of my good friends, who is also in a wheelchair, voiced out his opinion on a FaceBook post and got a lot of hate for it. He has every right to have his own opinion. It’s almost as if we can’t even speak out about what we think is offensive or not. We just have to sit silently in the corner and just take everything that is thrown at us. We have mouths, we have voices, we have opinions and by all means are allowed to share them as well. Speaking about sitting silently in the corner, I hate when people assume that we can’t speak. We may be in a wheelchair but that doesn’t mean we don’t understand what you’re saying and respond back. I admit there are disabilities that stop people from speaking but that doesn’t give anyone the right not to talk directly to us. Not everyone we hang out with is our carer. Believe it or not, we actually have friends who are able bodied. We have friends in wheelchairs too. We have friends in all shapes, sizes, genders, races, sexualities. We are not the narrow minded people.
I am not trying to look for sympathy here. What I am looking for is for people to treat us as if the chair were invisible. Treat us like a human.
We didn’t choose the wheel life, the wheel life chose us.
All the love x