Why Is The World So Hostile Now I am Visibly Disabled?

As soon as I got a stick, and became more wobbly on my feet thanks to this terrible autoimmune disease, I immediately noticed a difference in how people treated me and reacted around me. I became visible in a bad way – people who would usually make an effort not to bump into me now insisted I navigate around them, others made a bee line for me. I became a target for people with a terrible attitude who seem to take my disability as a sign to be mean, and force me to walk around them and the obstacles they create. Either I swerve, walk backwards or dodge them and their vast bags or else they will send me flying.

I am not stable on my feet, and visibly disabled now. I thought that people would see the stick and just give me a bit of space. It is the opposite, they take it as a challenge to see how obnoxious they can be. I don’t understand it. When I was able bodied I always made space for those with physical disabilities, but failed to notice how others would mistreat and generally be aggressive and unhelpful to the disabled.

I was out doing my usual ‘oh I forgot to restock the milk’ run, and bumped into aggressively by what is commonly known as a rich bitch. Huge leather bag, foul attitude, and simply barged her way past me while I had no where to go. “Hey! You almost knocked me over!” I exclaimed, reasonably politely. “It was not me, it was my bag.” Now that birkin is expensive but the thing does not have a mind of its own…not yet. It was attached to her rich thin arm, which I presumed was attached in some way to a thinking brain and a conscience. “I AM TRYING TO APOLOGISE!” She screamed at me, getting right in my face. Of course, it was perfectly safe for her to attack a softly spoken cripple like me. I gave her a smile, which she failed to recognize as sarcastic and said, “yeah sure…” and made my shaky way off.

I am used to condescending men. I have been a small slightly built female my entire life. Such encounters are my day to day reality. I am used to men presuming I don’t have a brain in my head, or an ability to do DIY. In fact I don’t need to explain why I want matt, not eggshell paint, and am perfectly capable of making my own choices. The only male I need in my life is the Boy, and he has been well trained in the fact that women are capable individuals. I am used to being othered – I was homeless for long enough to understand the realities of ‘us and them’. I know that the world and her sister insist on labelling me a ‘bad mother’, when I have given my everything on that score, and have the most lovely son a mother could wish for. I get it. I understand I am shit, but to now insist on the right to make me walk backwards, to knock me over and for me to hobble my way around their able bodied asses is a step too far.

I might have the beginnings of a tiny little attitude problem. I need not to feel totally overwhelmed, and man has this last year overwhelmed me! Doctors have been appallingly horrible to me, I have been denied pain killers and left hurting, I have had to struggle to stay housed. It has been absolutely horrendous, but bearable because I have my Boy, and I have a home, and I have enough food and heat and running water. Not only that, despite it all, I remain infinitely grateful for my life and my time here in California. I am grateful to be alive, and here and this is by far one of the best most difficult years I have ever had. Total contradiction. Being housed does not make problems go away…but it does make them tolerable, and there is always some light I can find in the darkest days.

I have never been the type to not find light in the darkness. Even on the worst of days I have held onto what is precious. When I lost almost everything, I held on to what I had. When I was sleeping outside in the cold and rain, and soaked to the bone, I managed to turn my head into a warm spot and find some space in the world of dreams. Sometimes you just have to let go and let what will be to be – there is not the energy to do anything other.

As much as the world and some of the mindless drones within it want to knock me flying, bang into me, hurt me and make life impossible, I have to resist and not let it make me too sad, or mad…let alone bad….I wish I could persuade people reading this to take note of those around you who are disabled, and to get the fuck out of their way when they are trying to navigate a world that is already painful and difficult. Seriously, just give people some space, and try and care about others around you who are not quite so lucky. There are so many who see someone vulnerable and seem to want to take their frustrations at their shitty lives out on that person. It really is graceless.


  1. Adelheid

    I’m sorry for that experience, but I get your point. I’m a person with a disability. Been in a wheelchair for 6 years now. Some people just don’t care at all but there are still those who do, and I try to think about the good people to avoid getting mad at those who are not.

      1. Adelheid

        Well, I was hit by an 18-wheeler truck. It was tough, and it still is. I’ve experienced not being able to get inside the elevator because no one wants to let me in first so I’m left behind. I struggled hitting the button while in a wheelchair and trying to make it inside, hoping it will not close on me. And while struggling made me depressed, it also made realize that I need to be strong for myself first and foremost before my daughter becomes strong for me. It has to start with me.

      2. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

        That is so very upsetting to hear, but absolutely as I would expect considering how I have been treated. I am so very sorry to hear you got hit by a truck but so very glad to hear you survived such a terrible accident. How awesome are you! Sometimes I think that we mothers can move mountains if we have to. I keep on going for my son. Sending you healing vibes and the very best of wishes!

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