Over the last couple of weeks i have had people say to me “Colleen i don’t see you as having a disability.” I have to say of all the ridiculous things people say to me this is right there at the top of the list. One explanation given was “it’s because i don’t like the word disability.” Another could not justify them saying this, they simply said that’s the way i see it. While i accept that people entitled to their own opinions, i have to admit i find this to be a very ignorant statement. “I don’t see you as having a disability” what come on mate, are you blind or something? I truly hate this way of thinking because……
- It puts pressure on me to be somebody i am not.
- It means i cannot engage in dialogue about disability issues with someone who sees me as not having a disability.
- It assumes that i should not see myself as having a disability.
- It shows that society is yet to fully accept and embrace people with disabilities.
- It implies that those without disabilities are to a large extent insensitive towards people with disabilities.
- It denies me my right to exist with a disability.
These people in their minds probably think they mean well by saying that but in actual fact they make the wrong assumption that i have issues with my disability. This way of thinking gives me the impression that as long as someone denies the existence of my disability then they do not have to create a conducive environment for me. It implies that such a person does not want to understand the world from my point of view because when someone makes such a statement, they are in more words than one saying i don’t care what it is that you go through with your disability, here’s what i think and i am sticking to it. It also implies that i am judged according to their rules yet in fact i am judged according to the disability rules eg what i can and cannot do. Furthermore, this way of thinking implies that such people think that by denying the existence of my disability it will go away but it’s not going away, it’s here to stay.
So what’s the way forward you may ask? It’s really simple, ACCEPT MY DISABILITY. Don’t be ignorant and so insensitive to deny the existence of my disability. It is who i am. No matter how many times you deny its existence, it’s not going to go away so the sooner you open up your mind, embrace it, the sooner we can all move on.