For example, on Sunday’s outing, my thoughts became centered on how there must be a better idea to assist people with mobility issues other than a walker. Walker’s are an excellent assistive device. That is, until coming across everyday obstacles such as, stairs, curbs, aisle’s in stores which are just a little too narrow, and cracks in the sidewalk. Said barriers, if not paid careful enough attention, can thrust the person using the walker into a position my father likes to call “ass over tea kettle,” a phrase I still would like to know the origins. Naturally, these thoughts led my mind’s eye to envision a future walker, which has wheels that are more like robotic spider legs, smoothly, and gracefully navigating said obstacles like a lady boss. As a side note, I have envisioned an entire line of products which could better help the person with mobility issues to function in a world designed for the perfectly abled. Yet, wouldn’t it be better to live in an inclusive world designed for all people, including those with disabilities?
As my husband and I walked into our 3rd McMenamins of the day, a jovial, bearded young bartender greeted us, and told us to take a seat wherever we would like. While the bartender was giving my husband a tour of the IPA menu, I decided to use the restroom. The dim-lit establishment was mostly empty except for a few scattered patrons sitting at tables throughout. As I made my way down the ramp towards the restroom, my thoughts were centered on the fun time my husband and myself were having, it was then I glanced up, and my thoughts were interrupted by, “The look.” Unlike days of old where I’d receive a look objectifying the hell out of me, this look is different. This look is typically from someone who does not intend to be rude, yet with their complete lack of awareness, they take rudeness to level undefined. Actually, there is a definition it is called microaggression; however, microaggression does not have the same level of drama as my previously written statement.
There are two types of looks the complete unaware temporarily able bodied person typically gives a person with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). I’ll name them, (1) The Sympathetic Look and, (2) The Look of Disdain. Why the two looks? I am still pondering this question; however, I do like to believe it has much more to do with cultural constructs, versus people being innately rude.
For me, to receive The Sympathetic Look is worse than seeing the Look of Disdain. I guess I’ve always been able to go head-to-head with the asshole (aka the disdain looker). Assholes are simple, straightforward, and not typically very complicated. They believe themselves to be superior but are easy to dismantle when their ego gets carried away. The asshole generally, when confronted with a different truth is willing to see it for what it is and even sometimes will make changes, but the sympathetic looker, these are the folk’s I struggle with the most. It’s this person who is righteous and believes their thoughts and behaviors are kind and loving when in reality It’s them who unknowingly cause the most damage and hurt. It is in their look, I am reminded of how most of society historically and currently view people with disabilities. Weak, less than, and inferior are a few terms that come to mind.
Historically people with disabilities were considered possessed by demons or cursed. Believe it or not, in the present day, I still run into people who ask if they can, “lay their hands on me and pray for me.” In my mind, I think, “Sure, if I can lay my hands on you and pray the ignorant out of you.” Of, course I don’t say this out loud. I don’t say many things out loud, and because of this simple act of filtering my words, the world is a kinder and more loving place. I have never understood how some misguided people can ask God to heal me yet in the same breath tell me God designed me perfectly.
God did design me perfectly. I am not my disability; I am a person with a disability. I am not weak, less than, or cursed. I am a beautiful being on my way to being a Cosmic Tripster, one IPA at a time.
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