Ok, I’ll say it once again: “I’m Really Not a Wheelchair-Type of Person.”
You see, I’ve found this totally ludicrous statement to work like a charm nearly everytime I spew it from my mouth. When I meet amiable, yet (unfortunately) ignorant, able-bodied folks, it’s the only way I can get it through their thick “sterotypical layered skulls” that I’m just as “normal” as they are. And of course, after I say this statement, I go into my injury story: “Yadda, yadda, I dove into shallow water, broke my neck, yadda, yadda, drowned, yadda.”
And then, after this bizarre conversation (if you can even call it that. It feels more like being grilled by the Spanish Inquizition), they begin (at least from what I can observe) to treat me un-alien like; a complete 360 degree turnaround from what they were doing just a few minutes ago.
It makes my soul cry everytime I feel the need to say this statement; especially when I see that it works. I have to be honest here; it simply lowers my faith in humanity. Just when you think society as a whole is beginning to see the “person” and not the disability, your hopes get shot down like a fake rabbit in a carnival shooting range.
But desperate times call for desperate measures; and I’ve found that this desperation, the feeling of wanting to prove I’m just like everyone else, really hits me hardcore when I meet my boyfriend’s family or friends. If I truly care about someone, i.e., my boyfriend, I really want the other people who are important in his life to see me as a positive addition, not some “cripple” who’s dragging him down. This is without a doubt my worst fear, my worst my anxiety.
I’ll go out dancing and clubbing (with my versatile elevator-seat – great for bars – power chair), I’ll throw out the f-bomb just for shock value, I’ll subtely mention I can still drive, still have sex, still have babies, etc, all to cue them into the fact they, “Hey! I’m really not a wheelchair-type of person!”
Now, between you and me, we both know that no one is really a “wheelchair-type” of person. We’re all humans; plain and simple. There are just a lot of idiots out there who need the dumbest statement thrown down at them, so maybe, just maybe, they’ll finally get it.