I had two very different bus rides this morning.
On one, I accidentally met up with the lovely Hannah from The Modern Girl.
Hannah and I spoke about our mutual experiences as bloggers, Hannah knows me – and I don’t think she’s ever judged me, or thought that I lacked capacity to do a good job, because of my physical circumstance. In fact, I will always remember a comment she made to me at Fashion Week, she said:
I love how your wheelchair is like an accessory, it blends into you. That was the best compliment I have ever received, because Hannah acknowledged and accepted by wheelchair, she didn’t accept me, but ignoring my wheelchair, which is what people sometimes do. People say “your just like everyone else” but I am not, and I don’t want to be.
What I want, is for my whole being to be accepted, considered normal, in fashion and otherwise; I want people to know the disabled part of me, Hannah does, Hannah did.
We had a chat on the bus and it ended by Hannah going off to her office and me to the one where I am currently working.
The other bus ride I had, was different: I was saying goodbye to my mum; after she helped me on the bus that morning and the bus driver said to her
“Don’t worry, I’ve got one like her at home”
Like what? Like, a daughter, like a writer.
He meant ‘like her’ to come across as, “I have a son, who uses a wheelchair”
“I have a son, who uses a wheelchair” is a completely okay thing to say, saying “I’ve got one like her” is not so okay.
It’s derogatory, it’s unkind and frankly, with so many words in the English language you could phrase it another way and get the same point across. Why you’d need to get such a point across is another question.
I have cheese at home, so do you, if you were eating a block of cheese, I wouldn’t tell you – “I’ve got one like that at home”
I have had to learn to infer meaning, quite a lot as a disabled person, but you know, sometimes it’s quite tiring, sometimes I wonder, if people could hear themselves, say what they say, from my perspective, would they understand what they sound like?
Would they understand that they are actually being quite hurtful, when they don’t need to be.
I understand questions need to be asked, but how you ask matters. I will answer your questions, because I want to help educate people, but if you bombard me or say things in a way that’s hurtful, I will not answer – because I deserve more than those two things.
And sometimes no matter how much you want to know something, you don’t actually need to ask me. If you are a stranger, I don’t want to tell you about my uterus, I don’t want to talk to you about how I feel about robotics and if I have ever tried robotic legs.
You could Google brain injury in your own time, you could look at robotics in your own time.
Google has lots of answers, ya know!
I want people to be like Hannah, see my wheelchair as one part of me, accept it, but I don’t want to be reduced down to it, disability, it’s not all encompassing
In all honesty, my disability isn’t something I care that much about, it’s with me day to day, but I care more about getting a flat white in the morning than I do about my wheelchair; my wheelchair does not negatively affect me, or affect my spirit, capacity or actions as a person. It may just mean I need to do things another kind of way.
I don’t understand why some people feel the need to commentate me, or speak negatively about disability without even realising that what they’re saying is negative.
I am like her, if her is the strong human beings that make up this world’s majority.
I am like her, if her is the person who campaigned for their worth, understood their own value and actioned people to understand their own.
I am like her if her is the person who gets up everyday, to do something for the better of the future.
I am like her, if she does not let anything get in her way.
I am not like her, if her is a person that is reduced down to one circumstance, one aspect of herself.
I am not like her, if she is defined by something someone else, social misconception or a lack of education designed.
We’re all worth more than that, walking or not. We are all more than one thing.