Straight from the heart…Sometimes, it just gets you!

I was innocently not wearing my glasses…didn’t see the gates of Holy Cross were shut and there were a load of 12/13/14 year old type kids hanging around. I had my earphones in and they’re at that arsey age where it’s all “lol there’s a girl in a wheelchair” (Yep, this is coming from lil’ miss “i don’t have a chip on my shoulder”, but honestly the early teenage years were a nightmare it’s just because everyone’s embarrassed about themselves and each other so a wheelchair makes it even more embarrassing!) Anyway…so I looked like a tit anyway, looking at a gate and then turning around the way I’d come and I saw them staring and sniggering. I swallowed my “whatever it is” and carried on then all of a sudden this little twat on a bike came whizzing behind me screeching trying to made me jump. Because I had my earphones in, at first I didn’t think he’d meant to do it purposely to make me jump, but he turned around laughing thinking he had done. He came riding back straight at me, I was out of breath to have a go, I was pissed off and if I’d have said anything it wouldn’t have got anywhere. So I just gave him a dirty look that he was surprised at. Why? He was about 12 and I could knock him off his bike, punch his lights out and make him cry with the things I could say to him. I don’t get it sometimes. I went to Albany, and I can remember at first, well my first memory of entering the school hall was just like that scene of Harry Potter, but everyone was whispering “It’s that girl, the girl in a wheelchair.” Thing was, when I started High school, no one knew me. No one knew me there before my accident and no one had known me after. I was a completely new, different person both to them and myself and I spent about 2 years struggling and trying to figure how I could ever even attempt to be me. Well, I got there eventually and people accepted me for my mad, loud, annoying personality and wheelchair that they all forgot about once I could accept it. That’s what confuses me in these instances, I still get insecure around people, especially young teenagers who clearly are innocent and just don’t know how to react to someone who’s not attempting to be within the borders of one extreme to the other that teenagers live in. They’d only not react in this way, if people like me were classed as “normal” but no one’s normal…you just have to be you. And that’s one thing that is so hard about being a young teenager, you struggle to “be you” because you don’t necessarily know who “you” are and you’re not sure how everyone else will react…
So that’s why they reacted to me?
I’m not sure I accept the whole able v. disabled thing.
My friends know that.
I think society has passed that stage, and people (which probably is a majority of people) who still see disabled people like me as misfortunate/funny/weird/pathetic only think that due to lack of openness, honesty and education.
So how can I stop this “sniggering?” Well I can’t do it single handedly, and I’m not going to start a march down the bypass…the only way “we” or “you” or whoever, able bodied or wonky with wheels can actually make people aware and think is by going out into the world and being you. Now, i know it’s bloody hard at times. There’s so many obstacles for everyone and there’s things that need improving. As a person with a spinal cord injury, in order to be independent I need the tools, I need the chair, the ramps, the accessible “low down” things…But I can only get it by going out into the world and asking for it and being me, not by hiding away, sitting in doors and shouting about it. I know how sometimes, that’s all you want to do, but it doesn’t work for anyone. I can vividly remember being about 10 (before I was injured) on my bike, leaning on the handlbars and staring into space, feeling alone and lost watching my Mum and Dad doing the garden and my Mum said to me “Don’t sit around, no one will help you and you won’t help yourself sitting in a corner”. Now, I’m not trying to sound like a Tory, and to prove it I’m gonna write hear and shout in a metaphorical way about how people need the financial support and what is happening to DLA is disgusting and without it, people like me won’t be able to live the independent lives we lead because it’s a tool. Sadly, money is a tool that we all need to buy bricks and build a life with. But we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, without just getting out there and being ourselves, whoever we are, wherever we’re from.
One day, that annoying little arse on a bike will see me again, might even be tomorrow, but no, one day he’ll see me and might just see me as another human being exercising…If I decided not to push that route again, because of it his prejudice and insecurity has won.
So…I know where I’ll be tomorrow night!

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