I dont’ want you to be Greatful.

author’s note: I know, probably a crappy title, but it’s all I’ve got, and it fits the below 700 plus word piece of writing, so enjoy!

I don’t want you to be grateful that you don’t have my life. I want you to ask yourself why it’s so hard, why it’s so unfair, and what you can do about it. I want you to see the barriers—the inaccessible environments and the crushing weight of low expectations—and realize that, without these roadblocks, it wouldn’t be quite so hard and unfair. I want you to know that I wasn’t put on this earth to encourage you to appreciate what you have. I want you to understand that, in a more inclusive world, there would be little need to look at a disabled person and think, “Thank God that’s not me.” I want you to know that through the smallest acts, you can help make that happen.
I don’t want to inspire you. I want my ordinary actions to be just that: ordinary. I want to be more than a motivational meme or symbol of struggle. I want you to see me, not just the white cane, the dog, the wheelchair, the diagnosis, the brain or the body that doesn’t work exactly like yours does. I want you to admire my strong points without erasing my weak ones. I want you to stop attaching “for a disabled person” to every compliment you pay me. I want you to see my talents and charms, my flaws and my quirks—the things that make me every bit as human as you.
I don’t want you to tell me you’re my ally. I want you to show me. I want you to model that care with your actions, your values and your votes. I want you to describe your photos and call out that friend who’s always complaining about the “handicaps” on welfare. I want you to ask why that new restaurant doesn’t have an accessible entrance. I want you to recognize that a thousand social media posts can never equal an in-the-moment act of kindness. I want you to accept that how you make me feel is far more impactful than what you tweet.
I don’t want to be in your diversity poster, your diversity working group, your diversity brochure. I want to be consulted for practical solutions, not publicity stunts—because my time is worth more than that, and so is yours. I want you to seek my feedback not because the optics are favorable, but because my perspective is of value and I have something to offer you. I want two-way streets. I want to help move things forward, but I can’t do that while I’m sitting at the token table.
I don’t want to make you a better person. I want to increase your awareness and deepen your understanding. I want to point you toward opportunities for growth and education. I want you to be part of the solution. I want you to stand beside me as my equal and my ally, not because it makes you a good person but because better treatment of disabled people makes good sense for everyone.
I don’t want your charity. I want you to hire me. I want you to rent to me. I want you to let me take your class. I want you to be the patient or the client or the customer who doesn’t flinch when a disabled person walks into the room. I want you to trust that I am suitably qualified and that I will meet your standards. I want you to be comfortable with the concept of working, productive disabled people. I want you to wonder why there aren’t more of us.
I don’t want you to be my voice. I want you to acknowledge that I have my own voice. I want you to amplify it, bring it to the ears of those who wouldn’t otherwise listen. I want you to help the world understand that I am not, and have never been, voiceless. I want you to refuse when you are asked to represent me. I want you to point in my direction when someone asks, “What does he think? What does he need?” I want you to step back, because I am my own best advocate. And when the world asks you to speak for me, I want you to pass the mic, because my story is mine to tell.

2 thoughts on “I dont’ want you to be Greatful.”

  1. I don’t wanna be your inspiration porn. Pick my 4ft11 inch tall ass up, stick me on top of something, and let me yell for myself, and get the hell outa the way. As I’m really, really fond of saying, “Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And if you can’t be part of that solution, again. Get the hell out of the way, or MEEPMEEP, MOVE!!!!!!!!” And for god’s, and whoever else’s sake happens to be on duty, stop that monthly subscription to the stupid pills! We’re disabled, that doesn’t mean we can’t wipe our own behinds without a babysitter. That doesn’t mean we don’t know how to climb the stairs in our own house. For the love of all things unholy, that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to leave the house for anything other than doctor’s appointments. Oh, and to the members of the organization that told me all I did was take up space? I do more than that, so a virtual double bird unto thee.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: