This is in connection to the BlogHop prompt for this week: What have people said that has gotten under your skin about something that relates to your connection with disability – and what do you want them to say instead?
I was 11 years old in Healdsburg, California. On the swings next to a boy named Blue (who I had a huge crush on). I was waiting for my guardian to pick me up from school, he was also waiting for his ride. My leg was in a long cast, having broken it a month previously. My thick, coke bottle glasses with their classically 80’s frames (clear, swooping, you know the kind I’m talking about) framed my big eyes. My medically-beige hearing aids encapsulated both of my ears. My hair hung limply over my facial scars.
Blue said something. My heart beat faster – he talked to me! he said something to me! – I couldn’t hear him and so I asked “hmm? what did you say?”
He rocked a little on the swing. Hands clasping the chain links. “I said, you can’t hear, you can’t see and you can’t even walk now. What can you do? I mean, everything is so wrong with you.”
My parents had sent me away from Fiji (where they were, along with my brother). That heart hurt along with the liberal lacing of pubescent angst and disability-related insecurities wove a neat little arrow that Blue shot rather deftly into my young heart.
What could I do? I mean really. When everything was so wrong with me?
Something being “wrong” with me haunted me for years. And years. I suppose that is the answer to the question – I wish that people wouldn’t think there is something wrong with disability. That it’s something to fix. That we are broken bits of human flesh or something.
I’d rather instead that disability was viewed as a chance to see the world from a unique perspective. Not “unique” in that horrifically condescending “special” kind of unique, but “unique” in the utterly glorious way that all humans are capable of offering.
Rather than seeing me as a tall, awkward freckle-faced girl who is a hair away from being legally blind, who is deaf with facial scars and brain injury (and a broken leg!), I wish Blue had just kept his hands on the links of his swing, swung in peace, swung in silence and simply remembered that I got that broken leg while beating him at broad-jumping.
Onto the BlogHop:
Please add your link to the post you’d like to share: either for the optional prompt, of the photo-to-riff or of another topic or past post you liked.
It’s all good and welcome, so long as it relates to disability/special needs.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.