1) We know when you’re staring.
A lot of able-bodied people like to think we’re a bit slow mentally, often thinking our intellectual abilities aren’t up to par. people with Disability that like to stare at us thinking we’re some creature on display and too dense to realize we’re being stared at.
2) We’re not depressed because we’re disabled.
A lot of people like to imagine we’re deeply depressed because of our disability. The limitations, the social stigma, the missed opportunities. Yes all that is bad and we know that most people can’t imagine living in the bodies that we live in, but don’t think we’re living in a deep darkness of despair. We are strong individuals and relish life. We’re not looking jealously at people walking by, we’re busy living our lives.
3) Where do we get our strength? Same place as you.
So many able-bodied people wonder in disbelief how we are as strong as we are, putting us on a pedestal and looking at us like we’re aliens. “Where does it come from,” they wonder. “They must’ve been blessed by God to be so strong.” But I’ll let you in on a little secret — we get our strength from the same place that’s in all of us. We can all be peerlessly strong in the face of permanent disability, even you.
4) Our disabilities can suck our energy.
While we fervently want to be treated like everybody else, for many of us, our disabilities make us move a bit slower. It’s something that can’t be avoided. We need to get smart about rationing our energy and getting better at asking people for help.
5) We zoom because it’s cathartic.
“Slow down speed demon” or something to that effect is a phrase I get often. What can I say, it’s fun to go fast in my power wheelchair. When I do I feel more free and less disabled. But don’t get me wrong, I know it can freak able-bodied people as I zoom by (especially when I catch them off guard).
6) We deal because we have no other choice.
Another thing people often wonder is how we’re able to accept our disability. “I could never do it,” they think and admire us like we’re some untouchable saint. The only reason we’re able to accept our disability is because we have no other choice, kind of like how you had to accept that grandma or grandpa died.
7) We’re stronger than we look.
I often get remarks from new caregivers who are surprised by how strong my arms are, thinking that they must be very weak. A lot of able-bodied people like to assume people with disabilities are physically less strong, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.