The other day in class, we did this exercise that was meant to make students understand privilege.It was really revealing and touching and all that jazz, but there were about 29 race/gender/socioeconomic questions and one disability-related question. It was then that I realized most walkies wouldn’t be inclined to think about what it actually means to be disabled. Why would they, their bodies work .
So, in case you’re a walkie who wants the ins and outs of wheelieness beyond “can’t go inside that building,” here ya go. Note that I have spoken exclusively to Cerebral Palsy, because, well, that brain damage confusion is what I understand most. Shout out to my CP ppl who can relate to this stuff.
- Not moving your arms while trying to move your feet.
- Eating soup. So tough to get noodles and broth in the same bite without spilling it everywhere.
- Going to scary movies and having the person you went with look at you the same way after.
- Unforseeable slants in the terrain. Not because your beastly wheelchair can’t handle it, but because it damn well throws your equilibrium for a loop and makes you full-on spaz out. And then explaining that to some able-bodies or MD or para/quad person. Good luck.
- Never knowing where you are in proximity to space, people, and life. Ok, this one only applies to me.
- Eating around people that are pretty much comedians. I’ve ended friendships over this. “I’m sorry, the amount of clothes I’ve ruined from laughing with you just isn’t worth it for me.”
- Telling people you have CP, which is brain damage, and then enduring, “You seem so smart though.”
- Being around technology and liquid simultaneously. I’ve broken up with 3 (four??) Macs and one kobo over this. Don’t worry, I’ve moved on to others #thankssexyAppleNerds.
- Giving blood/needles. I’m too small to give blood anyway (hidden brag), but man, surgery prep is a bitch: Poke, spaz. poke poke, spaz spaz. spaz, poke. “Please hold still.” THATS LIKE TELLING A BABY NOT TO CRY.
- Sex. Dead starfish. Sorry mom. Ok, this one only applies to me too.
- This: Pillow intercepts otherwise perfect pivot transfer, and throws balance entirely off for reasons you don’t even understand.
- Toe curl/spaz thing. This is when your toes curl, which they do even when you talk, so hard that your other toes suffocate/jab the little toes on the inside. The pain then causes you to spaz more and the jabs get deeper, in a cycle until you can somehow force yourself to relax. Totally stupid. Happens at least once a week (to me anyway).
- Multitasking. But I’d struggle with that even if I hadn’t had a bunch of little baby strokes.
- Laughing like you can’t breath 10 minutes after the joke ends. And not knowing why.
- Getting too excited over nothing.
- Having people say, “Pardon?” all the time because you jumble all your words together worse than twitter when you’re excited, sad, crying, angry, feeling anything.
CP kids are super good at the robot though.