Society sees having a disability as an enigma. There is nothing complex or misfiring when it comes to a person with a disability. Yes, we are constantly dismissed, looked over, and ignored. And by some far-fetched chance, we have heard it is simply just a stopgap to appease us. As one of the most populated communities in society today, we are continually told what we can not do; what we can or can’t have. Ableism at its best.
Society and the limited resources adults with various disabilities are constantly fed sugar-coated bullshit about what they can’t do for us, and their “reasons” usually start and end with money. Yes, the buck literally stops with us. All the while they see as our lives as a privilege based on circumstances that are out of our control. No one chooses to have a disability. As a 36-year-old woman who has her disability since birth, having Spastic Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy is NOT a luxury.
Simply existing is not nor should it ever be acceptable for anyone, whether that person has a disability or not. Every life deserves an equal opportunity to thrive, grow, and excel in this world. As anyone ever thought that; that’s why life is all about overcoming unspeakable odds time and time again. And yet because a person with a disability is seen as a nuisance, a liability to their community. And we are constantly being told what can be done for us, and if we attempt to do it ourselves we are then asked well, why do you need it if you do it on your own?
It’s a constant battle for survival. It’s almost like we’re pushed to the back in hopes we will just evaporate altogether. With each, “you’re not disabled enough, there is a three-year waiting list, you don’t qualify for that.” I truly believe society sees the disability community as an inconvenience, a waste of resources, money, and what little energy they do put forth just to appease us. How can anyone not see that line of action as dangerous? When did a disabled person like become acceptable to look at and treat it as a soon-to-be the extinct species?
My life does not belong on a waiting list; my deserves to be seen as deserving just like the next person would without question. Have we become a society blinded by rules, regulations, and policies that we have forgotten how to act with humility? I understand there are rules to follow, but no person should be shamed or punished simply because they don’t meet society’s standards for what or who is acceptable based on some unrealistic quota. Nor should anyone ever feel less than based on circumstances that were clearly out of their control.
I didn’t choose to have Spastic Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, but I know for a fact that I do deserve the opportunity to live the best life that I possibly can. Why do you care if I have to use outside resources to do that? Is the all mighty dollar that precious to you, that you would rather dismiss or deny me vital resources that will no doubt better my life? Would you rather I scrounge, scrap, and claw forever just because you find that more suitable than to simply listen to me, and those in my community with sincerity and earnest?
If you’re willing to take that first step, you may be surprised to know that we are people who are more than our disabilities. We are people who simply want a decent chance at making this world a better place for everyone and not just ourselves.
They say beautiful things happen when you believe. Why not start believing us when we say we’re all on the same mission here? So why not start working together instead of against one another? For the simple fact that no one’s life deserves to be put on a waiting list.
Can you imagine the great things we could accomplish with more distance from state resources if we were simply listened to and not looked down upon, or quickly put to the side to get to later? They say to consider the source but instead, we get sourced out and not even give the time of day to state our side. All you’re doing is dismissing prime opportunities for you to use our unique skill set to work for you.
Think about this. The employment world says it is currently looking for “out of the box innovators”, game changers so to speak. Well, people with disabilities are innovators. They are the definition of out of the box innovators because they know how to overcome challenges and adapt to fit into situations. They make a place for themselves at the table with or without the need for a reserved sign.
People talk about missed opportunity all the time and talking about opportunity does not change the fact that people continue to miss and or ignore opportunities due to the many excuses they throw out to make themselves feel better about caving under the social pressure to follow rather than lead. A change will only happen if we take the overdue leap into action. The many disability communities will not be silenced or dismissed any longer.
A waiting list is a simple act by those with the ability to include us in the conversation to simply appease us. Hoping we toss them into the lost and forgotten they will soon be lost and forget where they are as well. I know that’s the thought process of those in power, because I have seen it happen with my own eyes, and I am here to tell you we will not go away.
We will always show up and fight, no matter how many excuses or lists you have. I know my worth is worth more than a spot on a waiting list.
Together we can have our voices heard. What are you doing in your area to have your voice heard? Place it in the comments!
Jessica is the founder and writer of the blog, The Abler. She is also an accomplished writer, and poet. Jessica is the host of the podcast, The Many Faces Of The Abled. Found on Apple & Spotify.) Jessica loves writing to music and with a cup of iced coffee by her side.
Dominick wrote about marriage and its penalty if you’re a person with a disability. It’s HERE!
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