Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fly, hawk,fly!

One of my aides has been telling me she saw a hawk outside. This morning I saw it over my bowl of raisin bran, at least it's tail end. The hawk is one of those creatures that's beautiful from any angle.

Not so much always with humans. Take it from me, after seventeen years in a wheelchair I've seen a lot of rear ends. Trust me, those who think people in wheelchairs should feel self conscious would be in for a rude awakening if they spent some time following bipeds around.

Not that I think anyone should feel self conscious. Well maybe the folks who cut me off by doing that stepping to the side maneuver right in front of my my wheelchair. But that should be be because they've shown their ass in a different way.

I get a lot of advice from non disabled people. Most of it is useless when it comes to living with a disability. It used to derail me. Now i pay very little attention. In fact I tune out when people who have never lived with quadriplegia tell me how I should be doing things.

Aides do this a lot. Not all of them, but some of them. They think part of their job is to tell you how to live as if being physically disabled means you're not autonomous. They try to tell you what to eat, decide where to put your things without letting you know where they are and even pick and choose as to whether they'll do what you ask. They show up late or extremely early, assuming you could t possibly be doing anything because when they're not present, they figure, you're probably not able to manage at all. Worst of all they decide what help you need, depending on their viewpoint. Some give more help than you ask for while others decide you need toughening up.

In between visits, I used to scratch my head trying to figure out what I was doing that elicited this behavior. Was i not being clear? Why, when i had supervised large groups of folks without difficulty before, were people suddenly not following my simple and reasonable instructions?

Then I learned the word ableism.

It was like seeing the rear end of that hawk this morning. It was a beautiful thing. I knew what I was looking at. I was free of all the doubt and second guessing.

Fly, hawk, fly!


Greg (Accessible Hunter) said...

What a very true post, as a fellow person with quadriplegia, I have experienced some of the same things.

I think very few people see the world from our view ( butt high ) but always want to speculate on how to make it better.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ruth said...

Happy Valentines Day to you too Greg. Wishing you the best with your new service dog. Your posts are great.