WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN BELOW IS NOT THE SORT OF THING I USUALLY WRITE ON THIS SITE BUT IT IS ON MY HEART AND IS IN KEEPING WITH THE WILDERNESS THEME
I speak from a different place than most people. My voice is often not heard, because it is drowned out by the masses. But my voice is just as important and valid as anyone else’s.
It seems to me that the general belief is that we all share the same world – that we all live in the same world. Much of what is said/presented in this world is addressed to a predominant group of people. I have become acutely aware of this in the past couple of years or so, since I became blind and wheelchair bound. More and more I have become aware of the fact that people like me are excluded and pushed onto the sidelines of life. More and more I have become aware of the grief that is engendered by the isolation that so many people like me, feel. Not only do we have the grief of going through losing so much in physical terms, but also we have the grief of being cut out of things by the thoughtless words and actions of others. We become isolated not because we want to be, or because we bring about our own isolation in some way, but because others have no understanding of what they are doing to us. There is a very real need for education concerning disabled people.
In writing this, I am speaking not only for myself, but for thousands of other people too. I am being their voice too. It is possible that my voice may not be listened to or heard. But it does not stop me speaking anyway.
Most of us who find ourselves in the position of suddenly becoming disabled in any way, do not wake up miserable, grumpy, or wanting to find fault with those who are more fortunate than us. We wake up simply wanting to live our luves as best we can. We want to be included. We do not want to be faced with “No Entry” signs wherever we go. And I do not mean just physical “No Entry” signs, but unseen ones as well. Day by day, we meet these signs all the time, until we become exhausted with just trying to live. We become grief stricken because our loss is so much greater than physical loss. We lose our connection with society at large. We lose relationships with people.
So often, the responsibility is put onto us totally for our own wellbeing. And yet the ability to live as normal a life as possible is taken from us by those who are in positions of dominance.
I think I speak for most disabled people in saying, “We just want to LIVE. Allow us to live.”
I and most disabled people have met patronising attitudes. We are patted on the head like little children, by those who are more dominant than we are, as if to say, “There, there now.”
We are not children. We are fully grown adults, who in many cases once had lives like yours. Who once contributed to society in many different ways. I cannot count the number of times that I have been patted on the head and treated like a child.
But that is not all. Often, we are treated cruelly as well. For instance, one time I was trying to make my way through a set if heavy wooden double doors, in my power chair, guiding my chair with one hand and feeling my way with my white blind stick, or cane, and a man came up behind me and said, “Get a move on or I will beat you with my stick.”
I feel that it is time, now, to write about these things. To make our plight known, and to try to redress the balance in some way. It may not work. But I can try.