These are in no specific order of importance. They are all important because they affect me and I am important.
Please don’t label me disabled. Have you ever looked up the word in the dictionary?
The following is taken from the Thesaurus:
“disabled bedridden, crippled, handicapped, incapacitated, lame, maimed, mangled, mutilated, paralysed, weak, wrecked, damaged, unfit, debilitated, impaired…
Antonyms healthy, whole, wholesome, strong, robust, fit, able-bodied.”
Strangely enough, I am able to relate to the antonyms far better. Ironically, society views me as disabled now – but, I have never felt more whole in my entire life. I try to focus on what I can do – which is a lot more than some (so called) able-bodied people out there.
Words have the most incredible power. They have the power to heal. But, they also have the power to hurt. More importantly, they have the power to change perceptions, attitudes, ideas, thoughts and mindsets which, in turn, changes actions and how we treat the world and its living.
Please don’t “Dis” my “Ability”. Don’t tease, mock or make fun of me. That’s bullying! I can do everything that you can do. I just do it a little differently – that’s all.
I use a wheelchair to get around. But, it is most certainly not what defines me as a woman. Most of you see a wheelchair as a source of confinement. But, to me, it is my source of independence and freedom.
Although I appreciate your kindness and willingness to be of assistance, please don’t push my wheelchair without asking me first if I need help. Besides, how would you like it if somebody just started pushing you around? I may be blonde and female but I can drive. Yes, it is possible to have boobs and a brain. Promise.
Please respect my personal space. Don’t lean against my wheelchair. I know that your legs get tired of walking. But, my butt is tired of sitting. Wanna swap?
Please do not rest your foot on any part of my wheelchair. Do you like it when people put their feet up on the back of your chair at the movies? It’s bloody irritating!
Please don’t hang your handbags or shopping bags anywhere on my wheelchair because you are too darn lazy to carry them yourself. Next time you do that I may just thank you for the donation and tear off at great speed. You will never catch me!
I don’t mind coming in at the back entrance but, if you know I’m coming to visit, please pick up dog shit on your lawn. It’s difficult trying to keep my balance on the uneven ground as well as dodging the bogeys. And it bloody stinks!
I love animals but please don’t allow your dogs to lift their legs on my wheels. Hey, after all, those are my shoes!
I know that you are curious – and extremely impressed by my incredible ability to maneuver my wheelchair but please don’t gush too much. It’s not that big a deal! It’s like learning to walk in stiletto heels for the first time. Besides, you don’t want me getting an ego too big that I won’t fit through the doorway. And I’m not going to return the compliment by praising you on how well you walk or stand.
Disability is not contagious. You may touch me. I know that I can’t shake your hand (even though, you know, I want to) but, please don’t pat me on the head. Save that for your dog.
Rather touch my hand or squeeze my shoulder. If you are a single, drop-dead-gorgeous male then kiss me. Quick! And most especially, if you have the sexiest legs on the planet. Hmmm… What can I say? I’m a legs girl!
I love affection but a hug will do. Please don’t ruffle my hair. If you are not a trained hairdresser, I would stick to your day job if I were you. It has taken hours of instructions to get my hair styled the way I like it.
Please do not stand behind me when you talk to me – or even worse – about me. Don’t ask others how I am. Ask me!
You can make eye contact. I promise not to be too scary! I also promise to put a smile on my face and to be sincere and friendly.
You do not need to speak louder or slower. I can hear and understand you, perfectly well. I promise.
You will ask me silly questions. You are human, after all, and that’s how we learn.
Hey Trace, nice shoes! Are they comfortable? Hmmm…
Please don’t die of embarrassment. Rather just laugh with me – I do have the ability to laugh at myself and with others – believe it or not. And don’t call me later apologizing for your stupidity. I already know that!
My wheelchair does not affect my ability to read – or to decide (for myself) what I would like to eat. Hey, waiter! C’mon give me a menu! I promise not to drool all over it – or you – unless, of course, you are a real dish!
I know it sounds romantic but, please don’t just assume that you can just pick me up and carry me. I am not your baby! If I can’t get in by myself in my wheelchair then I don’t wanna go in – thank you!
Please don’t stare. Didn’t your mother ever teach you that it’s a rude to stare? Besides, I can assure you that no miracle is going to happen – even if you stare long enough. Believe me, I’m not going to get up and walk anytime soon – no matter how badly we both want that to happen.
Please allow your children to talk to me. I promise not to give them nightmares and I would love to answer their questions. Hey, you may also learn a thing or two.
And finally, to all you lazy bloody bastards… find your own bloody parking!