Now I am back from Switzerland (definitely go if you haven’t already) I am getting back into a routine and accepting my ‘disabled’ lifestyle.
I hate that label and term disabled. Just because I may be in a wheelchair I am not less able than I was before. I am purely resting and conserving my energy.
Disabled is a catch all description for us, created by those who consider themselves to be ‘able-bodied’. It conveniently lumps everyone else altogether – conveniently, that is, for those that can’t or don’t want to think of us in any other way.
The current ‘Disabled’ logo shows a white stickman apparently welded to a wheelchair on a blue background. It is a clear logo for the able bodied to understand, but it is all-encompassing. It screams you are either ‘Disabled’ or, if not, you must be perfectly ‘Abled’. There is nothing in between.
I now have a disabled badge but can’t help but feel a fraud for using it. As I pull into the spaces I can see people looking at me ready to comment that I should not be in that space. Why do I have to use a wheelchair or crutches to prove my point? Why do complete strangers judge me before they know what is wrong. Being ‘disabled’ is not black and white. Thankfully more publicity is coming about for people who may have an invisible illness.
According to the government I am disabled and yes that has some benefits it is also a label.
The assumption seems to be that either you’ve got a wheelchair, or have some other very obvious impairment, or you’re not disabled at all. There’s no middle ground.
It’s present even in the symbols we use. The universal symbol for disabled facilities is a person in a wheelchair, but that’s not necessarily what a disabled person looks like.
I guess it’s about accepting the label without letting it get me down. It doesn’t change who I am. Even if I am walking or in a wheelchair I am still lauren. I am still the same person but just have an extension of myself in terms of a chair or a crutch to help me.
Being disabled does not mean you are less able!!