How to be disabled

[Disclaimer: the following article includes remarks that some may find offensive. However, this article has been written by an individual with Erb’s Palsy and all comments are intended to be humorous.]

Have you ever wondered whether you’re actually disabled? I have. Multiple times. In fact, every time I park my fully-adapted Nissan in a designated area that only V.I.P’s (Very Impaired Persons) may park, I wonder this. Why? Because as I shift my gear stick into park and place my blue badge on the display cabinet, that is known as my dashboard, I am being watched. By whom? Everyone.

Everyone who walks past me as I climb out of my seat and stand tall with the legs that aren’t missing; everyone who stops dead in their tracks to contemplate why a leather-skinned pensioner is not tumbling out of the backseat; everyone who is plucking up the courage to say something, stand up for the community that can’t stand up; everyone who is unable to see that my left arm is, and always has been, paralysed.

Yes, that’s what I said, paralysed. You may prefer floppy, or sleepy, or lacking neurological-motivation, or, if you’re like me, you’ll just call it Dave. See Dave’s a bit of loser. As soon as he was born, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the art of living statues. Like normal parents do, we took him to a lot of doctors that advised if he continued in his occupation there could be serious complications. But Dave didn’t care what the others thought of him and moved on to imitating the fighting-fists of the world-famous boxer Muhammed Ali. Long story short, the wind changed and now he’s stuck in the position forever, merely getting drunk on nerve damage and regret.

As you’ve gotten this far into my article, I’ll assume you have no idea what is going on, which is totally fine considering I don’t know what I’m talking about either. We’re on this crazy roller coaster together! However, it may be the case that you too have been in a similar position. This may have included, standing at the handicap space/getting out of your car and:

  • Fighting off some old lady, two cigarettes away from meeting God.
  • Fighting off another old lady that parked in the children only bays even though her only offspring is a crinkled sack of reusable carrier bags.
  • Being eagle-eyed by a ticket officer who needs to get back on with his job before I splice him with a razor-sharp carers card.
  • Pretending that you’re more disabled than you actually are by having your passenger carry you to the shop so that the menopausal mother opposite doesn’t slash your tyres with her “I love Malaga” keychain.
  • Etc…

Whatever your situation may be, it doesn’t matter, because although we laugh about these things now, they aren’t fun to experience. In a society that rants on and on about making equality a reality it seems to forget that the word “disabled” does not translate to “wheel-chair users only”. Thus, if you’re impairment is a hidden one, then the battle between being seen as equal and being seen as different, is one you may recognise all too well.

So, what do we do to stop this? Start an army. We take down all the able-bodied bozos and put them in disabled bays. Yeah! Screw, disability access, we’ll throw ourselves through their doorways if we have to, spit on their tyres as the reverse into a normal bay, see how they like it. Yeah!

No. Instead, we make posts like these, start conversations like these, share stories like these, hoping one day people will begin to listen. Because they will listen. If we care enough to make change then they will care enough to hear the change that needs to be made. And if not, then we’ll put our middle fingers up to them – or middle toes if you haven’t got fingers – and say,

“Hey! This is my god damn bay and I’m going to park here!”

We are what makes change happen.

Rhi x