Hi all! I really had no idea what to blog about, so I procrastinated for a while with the help of social media, and that’s when I noticed something strange. I’ve seen a lot of “growing up” hashtags on Twitter (growing up a girl, growing up black, etc.), but there isn’t a hashtag for growing up cripple. Yeah, you can find growing up disabled and growing up in a wheelchair, but they’re few and far between (plus, they’re mostly depressing). Since I’m not all that Twitter adept (140 characters just isn’t enough), I decided to blog about it.
People act like growing up anything but a straight, white, able, cis, male puts you at some kind of disadvantage (cue the “privileged” arguments), but I disagree. Growing up, I never really felt like my crippleness put me at a real disadvantage or made me any less of a person. Don’t get me wrong, back then and to this day I’ve encountered people who seem to think I’m invisible, people who actually cross the street when they see me (I’m not contagious, I swear! Though, I do bite.), people who say or ask less than intelligent things, and the like, but I learned quickly that that was their problem, not mine. Just because some people are idiots doesn’t mean their behavior is in any way my fault.
Were things ever more difficult than they should’ve been? Yeah, of course! I mean, when stairs and curbs are your mortal enemies, you’re going to run into problems. Luckily, I was raised in a family where finding ways around obstacles was a challenge readily accepted. Can’t reach your mouth with that fork? Let’s tape a plastic one to a skewer! Can’t reach the keyboard with your right hand? Try this backscratcher! Keep getting stuck in the mud out back? Let’s build a deck! And the list goes on and on.
Granted, the whole stuck in a chair thing also makes outings much more annoying (no, it’s not just something that affects home life), but it doesn’t stop me. That’s one thing Dallas has going for it, most places are accessible at least to a point (SMU, I’m looking at you when I say “to a point”), so I go to clubs and concerts and out to eat and to cons and renfests and all of that delightful stuff. You want to talk about privilege? Try being a cripple at clubs and cons and such. I was raised never to expect special treatment, but you’d be surprised how often places offer front of the line privileges among other stuff (and who am I to turn such thoughtfulness down?). Let’s see the straight, white, able, cis dude get that kind of treatment on a regular basis… I think not.
Anyway, I guess my point is that life is what you make of it. Yes, my crippleness makes life a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s the hand I was dealt. I’m not inspirational (though I kindly thank those who think I am, because they’re being nice when they say that kind of stuff). I’m simply living my life. Life is hard, but do you want to know a secret? Everyone has problems (even that privileged white guy). You can either deal with your own issues and try to live happily for the most part, or you can focus on all the bad and be miserable forever. It’s your battle. No one can fight it for you.