Warning: this post is not full of the sunshine and rainbows you may be used to on Safe Space. That being said, it is not meant to depress, or weigh down, or upset anyone into feelings of woe. It is merely a reality check, an uncomfortable compilation of the things we all see, but no one talks about. Are you ready? I’m not sure I am. Everyone grab a mug of tea and let’s spill.
When you have a disability, rejection is part of your everyday. There’s a bus driver who won’t let you on because, while there is room for an able-bodied person to squeeze behind that line, there most certainly is not room for you and your guide dog, or you in your wheelchair. You wait out in the rain until the next bus comes along, and you hope there is more room on that one.
There’s a job you really want, are competent in carrying out, and are fully qualified for. You apply for it, along with ten, five, or just one other able-bodied individual. 99% of the time, it’s the able-bodied person, not you, who gets the job. You wait for a call back and wonder, were you rejected because your skill set wasn’t good enough? Or was it because of your disability? You’re always told it had nothing to do with your disability, because if anyone ever did come out and tell you the truth, they’re opening themselves up to a lawsuit. So everyone lies or never gives you a reason, and you doubt your ability.
There’s a girl or guy you like and you start talking online or over social media and things are going well. You let them know you’re differently-abled to clear the air. They unfollow/unfriend/vanish off the face of the earth. Was it because you told them the truth? Was your disability the last straw needed to break ties? Were you rejected because you weren’t cool enough, hot enough, or just because you were disabled? It can be hard to tell, and even when it isn’t, you still wonder.
All this rejection, or perceived possible rejection, over your disability sparks anxiety. This is in addition to the standard boatload of anxieties that go hand in hand with having a disability. You find yourself worrying constantly, wondering constantly, when will the next rejection happen? What will trigger it this time? What did I, do/say/exist incorrectly to deserve that reaction? Now, on top of your original disability, you have compromised mental health. Thank you, society.
When you’re plagued with constant anxieties and self doubts, it’s not long before you begin doubting others. You start losing faith in the wonderful members of society who are nothing more than well-intentioned friends, family, and strangers. Patience runs thin, and nerves are frayed. You wonder if your friends really want you around. You fear you are a burden to them and everyone else in your life. You can easily slip into a pit of crumbling sorrow and be too afraid to grasp the hands who want to pull you out. Because, what if they don’t really want to save you? What if you really are a burden to them? Letting them save you would be proving them right.
This, my friends, is the stark reality many disabled individuals live with, especially those without supportive family and friends to lean on. Let’s make a promise to spread the love this holiday season. Let’s chat in the rain with the person stranded at the bus stop. Let’s go on that date if you’re interested, no matter your fear or reservations. Let’s be a society we are proud to be a part of.
Much love from Safe Space
Be kind, and be aware.
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