Dear Able-bodied friends,
I see you. You probably assume that is a pun about disabilities because the only way I seem to be able to talk about my disability to you is when I make light of it. I see your discomfort. I see your lack of understanding, your questioning of certain aspects of accessibility. I understand that you don’t know why a disabled person can’t just go to the school where “people like that go.” I understand your frustration when construction is being done to improve accessibility and it inconveniences you. I understand that you don’t want to pay for me to get “free healthcare.” I understand that you believe I get handouts, and I wonder if you could afford a personal care attendant for 24 hours a day. Or would you just die of starvation and pee yourself because you’d rather that than be a “drain on society?” Let’s not waste tax dollars on invalids, right?
I understand that able-bodied entitlement. It must be hard being able to shower yourself. It must be hard to have the ability to drive a car. So you point fingers at us. We’re getting handouts. Why can’t we just be locked up in institutions like the “good ole days?” The days when you could just sweep us under the rug. You didn’t see the abuse and scientific experimentation. You didn’t mourn our deaths because you never heard about us. You didn’t cry when we cried or scream when we screamed. Your life resumed as usual.
How dare we fight for equality like actual human beings? Charities exist to swoop in and save us helpless cripples. You need to feel like our savior, but can you be anything to us if you don’t understand our lives? You don’t know us. You don’t see us, but we see you. We see you questioning everything; every stride we’ve made towards equality, every accommodation we have, every dollar we cost this country. To America, we’re dollar signs, not citizens worthy of care. You’ve put a price on life, America, and somehow able-bodied lives seem more worthy of investment. But we don’t have to prove you wrong to increase our value. We don’t have to prove our lives are worthy. A life, per se, should be enough.