👩❤️👩 TY 💖 @sitting_pretty - "Lately I’ve felt like the tube of toothpaste that I keep strangling for one last glob because I never remember to buy a replacement. These past weeks I’ve experienced unchecked, unfiltered ableism prancing happily through news stories, newly released Netflix movies, comments from friends — I’ve felt defeated, powerless to the blaring, pervasive, easy outpour of narratives that disabled people are problems, burdens, unfortunate versions of their better, nondisabled selves, tear-jerker images here to make spectators FEEL something. This is not what I see in the disability community. I see creativity & humour & grit & beauty & singularity & style & flair. But recently, I’ve felt smacked in the face by how little people outside this community understand or see what I see. .
The other night Micah & I went out for cheap chips & salsa. One of our favorite waiters made a joke about how I could get a second margarita, because I wouldn’t be the one driving home. I giggled with the straw still in my mouth, not pausing to unpack his comment. Later, he came back with a nervous, earnest energy. “I’m so sorry, I just realized that I totally made an assumption that you don’t drive. But can I ask -- do you? Drive?” Playing it back, I realized that he’d attached my wheelchair to an inaccurate story, & he’d come back to address it, to apologize for the assumption, to fill in the gaps. He couldn’t have known the planet of fatigue I’d been carrying. And his gesture was so small, but honestly, I could have cried & kissed his sweet forehead. Instead, I told him all about my old-man driving instructor with coffee breath. How I’d learned to use the one handed-controlled lever for both gas & breaks when I was seventeen. How glad I was that he came back to talk with us.
Because of course we’re all subject to ableist assumptions. We’ve been breathing in the fumes as long as we’ve been here. The difference I felt in that moment was an attempt to reach out, to look into another person’s eyes & see, to listen to another person’s voice & hear, to re-imagine, even when it’s hard or awkward, even when we don’t have to. A flash of collaborative revision." 💖