ince I read a similar article recently I thought I would post some of my biggest disability related pet peeves.. These are in no particular order and will probably number more than 10.
- I am not five years old anymore and even when I was my vocabulary was far more developed than one your using right now.
- If you see me with someone and have a question about my disability ask me rather than my companion. Being spoken about in third person is very rude. You wouldn’t like it if a stranger started asking your friend questions about you with you standing right next to them and able to speak for yourself would you?
- If you aren’t a very close friend or significant other do not lean or prop your feet up on any part of my wheelchair. You have your personal space bubble, I have mine, the wheelchair exists within it. Hands and feet off police.
- To fast food restaurants with takeout service, telemarketers and over the phone customer service representatives: I am aware of what my voice sounds like over the phone, I’m not a very tall person to start with and I’m pretty sure my disability has influenced the pitch of my voice at times, I assure you I am an adult, of legal age to both vote and drink in the United States. Calling me a liar or worse simply hanging up on me because of my voice happens to be pitched is a good way to ensure that you don’t get anymore of my business.
- To all sit down restaurants regardless of whether most of your staff speaks English as a second language or a first: I do not care that some of your waitstaff may be allergic to or afraid of dogs that is not my problem. My golden retriever is federally recognized as a piece of medical equipment which means with very few exceptions but I have the right to take him anywhere I please. You CAN refuse me and my dog access and service. Know that I CAN and WELL file a discrimination lawsuit against you within the week.
- I was not in a car accident nor did my mother use illegal substances before my birth. I do not mind discussing my disability but if you are a random stranger you asked that question with no preamble my answer will probably be something like this “I’m in the chair because of brain damage sustained during my premature birth, do you have brain damage to or are you naturally this route?”
- This kind of goes with the above statement but please stop asking how sex works for me., go back to the I was not in a car accident and even if I was that would still work okay. I am a “real girl” and neither one of my partners has complained yet.
- If you see my dog and my out shopping or at the library etc. ask to pick him before doing so. Do not sneak pet him by learning your fingers through his coat as we by, he is friendly and loves meeting new people so chances are if you ask and I’m not in a huge hurry I will let him visit with you. Like the wheelchair the dog is an extension of my personal space. You do not touch him without express permission
- I do not need to be healed. I know you mean well and you might honestly believe that you can help me by laying hands on me and praying over me. I thank you for your concern. The problem with something like sad is that in order to have any chance of success at all both the person trying to create the healing and the person being healed have to believe it will be effective. I don’t. I mean no disrespect to your religious beliefs but they aren’t mine, never have been and never will be I have spent years working on my acceptance of self. I struggle daily to see myself as simply me rather than a defective version of myself it would be better off without any trace of disability. It’s not easy and your intentions although well-meaning only serve to undermine my somewhat fragile sense of self.
- I am not a saint. Growing up I had fights with my sister. I pulled her hair. I waited three days to bite her after she made fun of me. When I was eight I had to get my teeth wired straight because of a fall I made a big deal because I got to eat milkshakes and smoothies and ice cream for two weeks solid and she still had to eat mostly regular food. I got punched in the mouth for that and I deserved it to. She and I thought as teenagers every chance we had, I fought with my parents… A lot. My legs may not work right but I still have feet of clay. I am an ordinary person just trying to make it through life. I have challenges that you don’t and probably some coping mechanisms that you never thought of but then again I’m sure the same could be said of anyone. Do not pity me. Help me if I ask for it. Be glad when I succeed. Commiserate with me when I fail and encourage me to try again. That’s all anybody really wants from life isn’t it?