Part of life is dealing with disappointment and accepting that sometimes it’s just not your day. When you go out a total of once a week or less when it’s not your day it can cut deeply.
Add in the possibility that you could potentially face a negative reaction be that for using a disabled parking space or being in a wheelchair taking up the entire store and in the way or irritate people it’s easy for a fun trip to unravel.
Once on holiday we were having a day of shopping and exploring the beautiful city of Bath. I was in a small shop that understandably had isles very close together. A gentleman look at my brother who was the ‘pusher’ for the day ( I paid him in gelato don’t worry) and practically yelled “That is taking up all space!!! Move it aside.” I’m used to people being off with me occasionally but that spoilt my day and it was worse all for the referring to myself as ‘that’ and ‘it’ I felt like a subspecies with no hearing or concept of feelings because that was how he treated me. I am lucky that it’s normally off comments I receive rather than a direct confrontation.
To some extent, I understand it because to the casual onlooker I look like a ‘perfectly fine’ individual sat in a wheelchair. The concept of disability is a very narrow idea in society. There is a tendency to look for clues as to why I might be using an aid or using things I look too young and ‘normal’ for. But shouldn’t we open the conversation about how we treat people who are and it pains me to use the phrasing, but we are ‘different. ‘ The same gentleman would never have addressed an elderly individual like he did me or a mother with a pram.
Why is it so different? The other aspect of this I find abhorrent is disabled people turning on one another. I read a very sad article that a woman with fibromyalgia was verbally abused by another person with disabilities for parking in a disabled car parking space she had just as much right to park as the person who yelled at her. She was young and her disabilities weren’t visible. What kind of a world do we live in where we accuse when we don’t know the full picture?
I wish we could telepathically pass on the information that our disability is there and that we didn’t have to worry about the kind of reception you might get every time you head out of your front door.