>The Things People Say

>People sometimes ask if I’m “getting better” or if I will get better or what happened to me. At CAB I’ve had several clients ask if I have MS and more than one client has wondered “did you have polio?” One time a client asked “what happened to you?” and I seriously was all confused by what he meant. I’d just been drinking water before I went to see him and I was looking down and checking my top and thinking I’d spilt it all over myself. He then gestured at my walker and I knew what he meant. I don’t think he got why I didn’t realise what I meant.

A lot of the time I get frustrated by comments that people make about my being disabled etc. Because it isn’t their business, it’s nothing to do with them and it’s fine. Until they make it not fine by their pity and their questions and generally making a big deal of it. Yesterday wheeling myself through town someone on a scooter commented that it was hard work for me. I just said it wasn’t, it was good for me. And in many ways that was an innoculous comment and it didn’t bother me. One a lot of people say when they see me wheeling is “you should get a powerchair” or similar. When I was in Glasgow in 2007 a woman stopped me to tell me that a relative of hers ran a pub and they’d fundraised for someone to get a powerchair and could do the same for me. She really didn’t understand why my response was “I’ve already got one, I’m just not using it today.”
Something I don’t think many of those well meaning people who are only trying to be helpful is the fact that a lot of their comments take away from what I’m trying to do (and in some cases achieving) and making it more about the disability and how “terrible” it supposedly is than. Not about me doing my voluntary job, normal everyday things for me or wheeling myself more than I have in months or up a terrible hills I thought I wouldn’t manage or simply living my life and being me. It becomes less about “Emma” who is doing whatever, being whatever, is whatever and all about “the disabled girl” being and doing those things instead.
It’s frustrating. And at times, upsetting.

On my way into town earlier this evening I bumped into a guy who lives near me and stopped to chat for a few minutes. He on more than one occasion (including tonight) has just gestured at my legs and gone “are they bollocksed?” and basically thats been it for our discussions on my disability.
Today he did that and then asked if my legs were getting better. And I told him that they won’t, CP is a life long thing. His response?
“you poor little cow…”
Well I’ve never had that one before! I did have to giggle about it after I left him.

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