Let’s talk about the myths that abled-bodied people ignorantly believe about disabled or chronically ill/ chronic pain suffering people. To make it easier to follow I’ll make it in list form.
1. “Because we are are disabled our minds don’t work correctly therefore we can’t be smart or defend ourselves and if we can, we aren’t disabled.” Okay first, there are mentally disabled people but that also doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart or that they can’t understand when you speak to them. Second, someone can be only physically disabled. That means that when you talk about that person whether they are mentally or physically disabled they can hear you and they are human just like you. Depending on the person, if they can say something, they will do something about your ignorance. And just because we can tell you to stop being an asshole doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we can walk or suddenly we are healed from our conditions. Think my friends, think.
2. “Disabled/ chronically ill people can’t travel.” Travel is possible for us. It might be harder and we need accommodations but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t! Our lives have been restricted enough so when you have a chance to live outside of your routine, you would take it. Especially if most of your life is going to be full of pain, sleeping, pills, doctors, needles, and surgery. Disabled people deserve a vacation too.
3. “They like being sick because they like the attention.” I’m not saying that there might be some person out there like this, but I have never met someone who hasn’t been praying and crying because they can’t take this life anymore. People have committed suicide so that the pain would finally end. I don’t care if you think they are being over dramatic, they are fighting off their own body every second of everyday. Do not insult anyone going through chronic illness or disability by telling them that they enjoy feeling like they are being ripped to pieces every day because people to glance at them. Most of the time our attention is our caregivers dressing us or cleaning us or it’s people starring at us and judging us because we are parked in a disabled spot and we don’t have a wheelchair or because we have medical equipment sticking out of us and they think starring with a sick look on their face helps us with the fact that we have no choice in the matter.
4. “You are laughing and smiling so you must be fine.” Here’s something for ableists to remember, WE ARE NEVER FINE. We show you smiles and laughs because you don’t have the capacity to handle a mere description of how we feel. We never have a pain free minute. And sometime being distracted and laughing at something else helps us not focus on the fact that we are going to live like we just got hit by a train for the rest of our lives. If we lived 24/7 showing our emotions and truly feeling them, I think we would kill ourselves.
5. “People with disabilities don’t work as well as able-bodied workers.” I’m just going to put this quote right here… “In several studies, including those previously mentioned, it was found that 91% of the workers with disabilities scored average or better when compared with the general workforce. Their attendance is also better.”
6. “We have to talk for the disabled and chronically ill because they are just incapable.” Can I just say that when you speak for another person, you are telling them that they are not needed there and that they are useless. They know more about their lives than you do, so shut it and let them be a social being. When people start speaking for me, I make sure that they know that everything that they just said was not correct and/ or I tell them that my nervous system is broken not my mouth. We will stand up for ourselves.
7. “Disabled people are ugly and lazy.” Okay just like everyone else, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone who is disabled looks the same. Not everyone who is disabled IS the same. We have faces just like everyone else and being disabled doesn’t effect our sexiness. We wear the same clothes, we wear makeup just like you, and we come in all different shapes and sizes JUST LIKE YOU. We just want to be treated normally and also have our disabilities and illnesses respected. Just because I feel too physically sick to wash the dishes doesn’t mean that I’m choosing to lay down and pass out. Laziness is a choice of not doing your responsibilities, when it’s not a choice you can’t label me as lazy. You can label me as not able, aka disabled… See how that works?
I know that there is so so much more I could mention and rant about. If you have some that I didn’t mention or you want to rant off of one of these rants, comment your hearts out below. I love hearing about your opinions and stories. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either! I just got really tired of ignorant people this week and wanted to make some things very clear.