Donald Trump says a lot of extreme, ridiculous and offensive things. When I heard he was running for President of the United States, I laughed. And then I started hearing snippets of campaign speeches and while I continued to marvel at the ludicrousness of Trump in office, I also started to get nervous.
I routinely joke with my friends, “I’m female, disabled and of Lebanese heritage; it’s like a reverse triple threat. There’s almost nothing I haven’t heard. I’m an open target.” I have indeed been on the receiving end of some truly perplexing sentiments and statements from strangers and I’ve been in countless odd and ridiculous situations.
Having a disability and being in a wheelchair presents a unique set of daily challenges that are hard enough on their own. Sometimes, able-bodied people add to the frustration. Here’s a short list of things that the able-bodied world does – mostly unintentionally – that makes having a disability harder than it needs to be.
As I write this, I’m sitting in an accordion-style hospital wheelchair, my seat cushion haphazardly forced into the frame. I have no back support. My power wheelchair has been taken in for service for the sixth time in barely three months. I’m sitting in a room at my service provider’s headquarters, an hour and a half away from where I live.
Back in June, I started having battery issues – they were dying much quicker than they should.
One of my first blogs was about inspiration porn. That blog hinges around one of my favourite stories to tell; it illustrates the absurd things people say and shows how normal human behaviour (like dancing at a wedding reception) is blown out of proportion.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired from 1997-2003. The show is known and praised for many things: its seamless blending of every genre imaginable (its sci-fi, it has action, drama, horror, romance and comedy) and its portrayal of strong females and its inventive use of language. The show's dialogue still sounds fresh today, twelve years after the final season aired.
I don’t know when exactly it started happening, but people have been fixated on healing or curing me since I was a very young child. In a previous piece about Eddie Redmayne, I referenced a blog that accused Hollywood of perpetuating the idea that disability was something to be conquered rather than lived with. While I believe that “conquering” disability is an extremely prevalent notion, I do not think that Hollywood is the only element at the epicenter of this trend.
This is the tale of living life within the confines of Ontario Disability Support Pension (ODSP)... the social assistance that giveth and taketh away. I want to be clear that I am not pointing fingers; ODSP is a flawed system, doing the best it can –a system that is underfunded and understaffed. As flawed as it is, it is one of the better social assistance programs within Canada.
Honestly, I've never actually thought about a list of things I would specifically do if I wasn't in a wheelchair. Having a disability is the only reality I have ever known, and I am fortunate to have grown up surrounded by family and friends who've encouraged and allowed me the opportunity to experience great adventures. The wheelchair thing doesn't get in my way much.
In my recent blog, “Wheelchair for a Day”, I talked about the idea that some companies are using for “sensitivity training” of employees who work with people with disabilities... able-bodied people using wheelchairs for a day as their only means of mobility to gain a perspective of what life is like for a wheelchair user. I received an overwhelming amount of responses from my readers. One comment in particular brought up a really great idea about how this type of training might be very useful.
I read an article recently about a company in the wheelchair industry that asked their employees, who were able-bodied, to use a wheelchair for a day to better understand what their customers go through on a day-to-day basis. They were not able to use their legs for the whole day. While I definitely see the idea behind this and think it’s a great idea, as a person who uses a chair I wonder if this exercise really gives a good, or even the right, perspective of what real life for a wheelchair user is really like?
After my recent blog, “I Was Born This Way…Or Not”, I was very enlightened by all of the responses that I got. It is very intriguing how two people who live the same circumstance, living life with a disability, can have such opposite perspectives. The majority of responses I received were from those of you that were born differently-abled.
As someone who lives with a disability that was acquired, I often think about my life before wheels. I remember what it feels like to get up and walk, run, dance, jump, feel my feet, and unfortunately stub my toe. I feel like, despite my current abilities, I am tremendously blessed because I have lived the best of both worlds: able-bodied and disabled.
In my daily readings, I recently came across this quote from Scott Hamilton: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” As a person with a disability, I reposted it, thinking to myself, “Wow. How true is that?” My outlook on life is that “attitude is everything.” I know many people who are perfectly able-bodied, but have a bad attitude, causing them to miss out on all of life’s positive opportunities and thus, “disabling” them in life.
June 29, 2012 - The automotive experts here at Bussani Mobility Team are now offering an option for your wheelchair accessible vehicle that could save your life!
Disregarding the last man I had in my life for those whole two seconds, this is the longest I've been single. It was extremely hard for me at first and with this new rule for 2012 I've made for myself (to stay open-minded) but I've found things to be a lot easier. For the first time in my life I KNOW I DON'T need a man in my life to be happy. I love where my life is at and my mentality about dating. I wish I was this way before all the yearly heartbreaks.
I'm just gonna go right into this blog! We started dating as boyfriend and girlfriend after a few dates. Sudden, I know. I even had doubts about it... just thought I was being close minded. (I gotta trust myself more.) Anyways, we both agreed we weren't going to see anyone else and just took a leap. Well, shortly after, we noticed the space that we were trying to leap over, was much too big.