In which I get Ranty

(subtitle: and lose my shit all over the Internet.)

This is ridiculous. In fact It’s the most stupid thing ever and frankly I probably shouldn’t dignify it with a response but I can’t let it go.

There’s an American company called 3eLove. They sell a range of products with their logo on – the logo is a wheelchair symbol like you see on many different things but with the wheel replaced with a heart. It’s called the wheelchair heart.  I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about it before or not. Their products have a variety of slogans on as well as the wheelchair heart.  In 2012 my parents gave me a sum of money instead of a Christmas present asking I buy myself something special that I wouldn’t usually buy for myself.  I bought myself a wheelchair heart necklace and I really like it (prior to shit that went down yesterday I probably would have said I love it but…). If you look at the pictures of my brother’s wedding you can see I’m wearing it there (I’m not sure how clear it is though). A lot of my friends have quite a few 3elove products but the necklace is the only one I have. I’ve not seen anything else they do that really called to me like that did and made me feel paying postage from the US to here was worth it (seriously, yesterday a friend linked me to one of their tops and told me how much she was paying to get it shipped here and all I could think was “I could buy a second top for the cost of postage if I bought it from a UK place” But obviously that’s not the company’s fault).

So anyway I kept hearing that yesterday (20/01/2014) was going to be Day of Acceptance run by 3elove.  And this apparently was a Big Deal.

I’m not a fan of “awareness raising” and the like and days that do that because I’m not really sure that they achieve anything that can’t be achieved by just being seen and doing and living.  I’ve written about that several times before – here is one example and there is a link to more in that entry. So I was hearing a lot about it and I sent a couple of tweets.

I tweeted:

#dayofacceptance is really poor activism and a thinly veiled way for @3elove to market themselves. Don't Other me this way #Disability

— Emma (@FunkyFairy22) January 20, 2014

and then I sent some unrelated RTs and chatted a bit with a twitter friend about stuff including what I’d just tweeted.

Then I tweeted

I don't want or need a #dayofacceptance. I deserve seven. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. And Sunday. (@3elove)

— Emma (@FunkyFairy22) January 20, 2014

Here’s the thing: I don’t want one day a year where people go out of their way to accept me and my disability and make a big deal of it. I want to be accepted every single damn day there is and I want it to be normal. You know I don’t want people bothering to tell me that my having CP is acceptable to them.  By making a big deal of it it makes me different to those in the majority and Others me. (Othering is the process by which we use an action of similar to class particular people as different and “not one of us” see this link for more detail).

I suspect a big part of this comes from medical model versus social model and cultural differences. But lets just say that those two tweets which were just random thoughts didn’t go down very well.

By my last count I’ve had tweets disagreeing with me and telling me I’m wrong from four different people.  Two of whom decided to troll me and keep telling me I was wrong. The reason I was wrong? Well, basically because I didn’t agree with them and that was just wrong. I was missing the point. I was wrong. I’ve not been able to determine what the point I was missing was because explanations haven’t been forthcoming let alone ones that actually make sense. (I RT’d a few of them and several of my followers went “yeah… makes no sense.”). Never mind I was wrong, I was hurting my followers by being wrong, and bringing loads of people down.  And most importantly I was completely wrong.

I am more than happy to have these sort of discussions if people take the time to say “well to me I see this as XYZ why do you see it differently?”

It’s also been suggested by the trolls that I need to accept myself.  I don’t know how I can do that when I’ve been in a wheelchair my entire life, would hate to be anything but and would turn down a cure if one should magically appear. My wheelchair is a huge part of my identity as well as being a part of my body.

Acceptance. Dude, it’s a journey not a destination but I’m pretty much all ready there and have been my entire life. Just because I don’t like your day doesn’t mean I hate myself.

I am surrounded by people who love me, help me, support me, tell me off if I need it, wind me up, tease me, laugh with me, cry with me, knit with me, sail with me, and do all sorts of things for me and with me.  They accept me too.  I thank them often for what they do for me and I appreciate it and they thank and appreciate me when I do stuff for them.

But I don’t thank them for accepting me. Because I shouldn’t have to. I am a part of their lives and they are a part of my life because it’s what we want.

If people I have to deal with in a professional capacity (either theirs or mine through my unpaid voluntary work) have a problem with my disability then I would hope our interactions would drip into their brains and slowly bring change and I would focus on that. If people I don’t have to deal with have a similar problem I would still hope the same thing but frankly I’d give them a chance then cut them out of my life. I’ve not got time to change lives, I’ve got a life to live.

Yes I know attitude to disabilty aren’t what they could be.  But in my life time alone  I’ve seen huge changes for the better (and maybe one or two for the worse). That’s continuing.  It’s just more effective if we live our lives and celebrate who we are and our contributions. One day isn’t going to change it.  In fact I worry it’ll make people think “well they wanted me to do it on 20th Jan and I did so they can’t expect me to do it everyday.”

People might remember the old TV ads that used to be on in December time “A dog’s for life, not just for Christmas.”  Well, my disability is for life not just one day and I’d prefer people remember that.

(I’d also prefer people to remember that a post of twitter is just a tweet. It’s not an attack on their views, just a differing opinion and there is absolutely no need for shit like the trolling I had yesterday. But I think that’s probably wishful thinking.)

(first time comment moderation is enabled on my blog – if you haven’t commented before your comment will be held. This is standard to prevent spam).

8 thoughts on “In which I get Ranty”

  1. I’d not heard about this and I’m not following twitter as well as I often do, but “Day of Acceptance” is very bad wording. What about disability pride? Sorry you’ve taken some flack over this.

    1. I suspect a lot of the people who were getting het up would see disability pride and acceptance as the same thing. And I totally here you about keeping up with twitter… I’ve given up.

  2. Not sure I have the experience to appreciate this blog. All I know is just as you say I am a mate and I appreciate what you do for me and some of that stuff is because you have CP and some of it is because we share a common interest in housing but when you get to know someone it becomes harder and harder to know why that friendship works because it is lost in the intrinsic pleasure and value of the relationship. People who make money out of the ‘purple pound’ ought to be very careful that they keep in touch with the grass roots of their market and there is a thin line that must not be crossed. I hope you will never, never stop speaking out. I got your message about ‘Awareness Days’ long ago and it has made me think a lot deeper about the issues around them so thank you

    1. Exactly… we met because of housing stuff, then you found out I had CP and asked me about that because of Trinity having it so sometimes we talk about it and that’s how we got to know each other better but now we’re just friends and I come to you for many things that can’t be defined. You’re my friend not “my friend whose Granddaughter has CP” (although sometimes if my mum or someone says “remind me which one of your friends Angela is” when I mention you I say that because my friend through Soha covers too many people now) I think you do have the experience to comment on this… just maybe not the confidence which you should have.

  3. “…because I’m not really sure that they achieve anything that can’t be achieved by just being seen and doing and living.”

    “But I don’t thank them for accepting me. Because I shouldn’t have to. I am a part of their lives and they are a part of my life because it’s what we want.”

    I love what you said here.

    1. Thank you for commenting lovely 🙂 It made me smile to get the email saying you commented. I’m so glad we’re back in touch.

  4. Emma: In response to your blog, I’d just like to that that I completely get what you are saying. I am one of the 4 you spoke with yesterday and you kept saying that I was saying you were wrong. That was not what I was saying at all, what I was trying to explain is that 3E Love does not mean we should accept one day a year, it is an idea a loving family came up with to honor their beloved daughter. The day of acceptance is the idea that it highlights and reminds people that times are different and ideas that culture had in the passed are out dated. Day of acceptance is a day to spread the message so others will live each day with a different mind set. This group of people would like to see the world view those with disabilities in a different light. Rather than see their disability, we would like people to recognize the person and the wonderful qualities they have to offer. What it aims to do is educate communities and to help form friendships that some would never expect to form in the first place. We only wanted you to see the positive message that is being spread. It was not a personal attack, sorry if you felt that way. We will continue to use this day here on our side of the pond and I hope one day you will see what our work aims to achieve. “3E Love is more than living disabled but is simply about living. Everyone has the freedom to live their life. We challenge you to do what you love, because you’ll meet some amazing people along the way, and that, our friends, is how you’ll enjoy this ride that 3E Love calls, life.

    Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life.”
    – 3E Love Founder, Annie Hopkins (1984-2009)

    I think you are stuck on the DAY part, it’s not about the day, its about what the day represents. What it aims to achieve, change and improve. It’s just another message of love and peace.

    In addition to this thought, I’d just like to say that although I don’t know you, I believe that you are a beautiful person and have a right to living a happy, worry free life. We are all human beings and it’s a hard world out there… so peace and love from the good ol’ USA

    PS I’m not a great writer like you,sorry if its a bit choppy, but i tried. 🙂

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