For today, I am basically writing a letter to the disability community. This post is going to a very strong, opinionated piece. I have been keeping a lot of these thoughts locked up for a long time and I think it’s time to unleash them on here. So you’ve been warned!
I feel like the disability and feminist communities are fairly similar with the way people within it can be quick to judge you if you don’t agree with a certain subject. Everybody thinks we all should have the same feelings about the main topic that both groups discuss, like equality and you role as a human being. I’ve been thinking about the role and where I stand on the various topics that both groups fight for on a daily basis, but I’m mainly targeting disabled people.
I think I’m an army of one. I’ve always thought that, because I was kind of taught that over the years. The only back-up I have is my family and maybe some close family friends, but hardly any of them share the same feelings as me, especially about disability in general, because they’re not in my shoes, or maybe in this case we’ll say “wheels?” It’s not their fault by any means, and I’ve kind of learned to live with it. I’ve become more of a silent advocate for the community. I don’t join a lot of the discussions of bigger topics, like politics. When I was in high school, we were taught how to register to vote and if you already 18, you were allowed to go ahead and do it in class. When I was asked to do it, I said no. There was a lot of backlash for it, one person even told me that I wasn’t allowed to complain if a person you’re rooting for doesn’t win because I didn’t vote. Fast forward to 2016, after seeing the chaos, I don’t think my vote would have mattered because Trump had bewitched the public into letting him into the White House anyways.
The second reason why was because I was afraid of basically breaking rank in my household. My parents are strong Republicans and being somebody, who supports the opposite committee or person, is literally the worse thing you could possibly do. So, I try my best to stay far away from politics at home and even online within my own community. Despite the fact that the majority of the disabled people out there, hate our President as much as I do, there are some very extreme people who will do anything to “stand up” for their rights.
At the start of 2017 I think, I saw a video of a news channel filming people with various disabilities, some of them removing themselves out of their wheelchairs, lying on the ground, and being carried away by security and police officers to jail. I’ve never been in a position to feel like that was my only option, but I was conflicted at the thought of seeing how far people in different circumstances doing anything and everything to plead to people, even making a spectacle of themselves. However, whenever a bill that contains something about disabled people, I am concerned but all I feel like I can do physically is pray.
The next topic I’d like to discuss is about the death of Stephan Hawking. There was a cartoon drawing of Stephan ascending to Heaven, free of his wheelchair, computer, and tubes, and he’s shown walking up the golden stairs to the sky. I thought it was a beautiful drawing, but a lot of wheelchair users were really angry about it. Immediately, there were arguments being made about being in a wheelchair is a form of being “free” and that the drawing just added to the myth that once we die, we’re free of all of our flaws: disabilities included.
Again, this was another thing that I chose to stay out of, because I did not agree with the disabled community on two things. Throughout my childhood, I was told by various family members that when we die, our bodies will be transformed if you will. As I got older, I began to believe this more and have always looked forward to that possibility. And the other was, I don’t believe my wheelchair gives me my freedom. Am I mobile? Yes, but I am not free to move around for a long distance by myself. I feel like I have the most freedom when I’m on the floor. Why? Because there’s more space to spread things out, I don’t need everything right beside me at all times. There are issues with reaching for things that are higher than me, but I always find my way around it.
I know I’m going to be attacked in some form by the words I’ve said in this post, but I still stand by what I believe and that is, we’re not all supposed to have the same feelings and nobody is going to make me convert to their way of thinking, trust me, people have tried their hardest to do this for years! I’ve heard many different sides of these two subjects online, mostly on Twitter and so far, nobody’s said anything to divert me in another direction, the only thing I’ve learned to do is hold my tongue and I’m perfectly fine with doing that for the rest of my life.
How do you stay out of the drama with your family, friends and/or online? Are there topics you do not discuss at all?