There’s no question that the stigma towards disabled people is very prevalent within society. Whether it’s someone seeing you as inspirational porn or giving you unwarranted pity – and honestly, when is pity ever warranted.
We have all had that one moment when you can feel that burning stare from someone you don’t know or a child has stopped in their tracks and points at the wheelchair asking why quickly push down and shushed by the parent whilst saying sorry.
How do you deal with someone staring or that parent apologising for their child, the sarcastic me would wink, smile and say ‘I know it’s my beauty, it can’t be helped I blame my mum’. Or just striking up a conversation with the parents letting them know that it’s ok to have that natural curiosity it’s human nature – It’s sad that society still has these stereotypes/stigmas about disabled people so by using the stares as an opportunity to make the world a little less ignorant towards disabled people. Surely is a good thing?
Your story is the most powerful tool you will ever own.
Sharing your own unique experiences gives non-disabled and disabled people that little more insight into a world they wouldn’t ordinarily see. Showing them we aren’t so different on the inside as we appear on the outside. What’s that saying!?
Will It require patience, yes absolutely unfortunately not everyone will be forthcoming in wanting to hear any of your struggles or wins in life. But I have found that sharing my story in person and on social media has been very beneficial. Sharing your life with others, especially strangers, isn’t something everyone wants to do. And rightfully so, you shouldn’t have to. But, it is a great way to spread awareness.
Don’t judge a book by its cover!
Don’t get to offended. I know this is easier said than done, especially if the stigma is in the way of comments that are meant to be rude and isn’t just an ignorant comment due to the person being uneducated. But, getting offended really doesn’t do either party any good because it doesn’t accomplish anything productive. By not getting offended, you automatically have the upper power, use that to your own advantage. In most cases, the person doesn’t mean to offend you — they’re genuinely ignorant towards disabled people because of the way Society see us. If you can hold your sh*t together long enough and I know how hard that can be, use your witty charismatic personality to shut then down. Witty banter is always a great tool because it’s show off that you’re a powerful, smart individual that’s separate from your imperfections or wheelchair.
Let’s be loud and proud. We can’t control our genetic makeup, but we can love it. Stop the stigma towards all disabled people. By showing the next generation it’s ok we got you!
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