Greatful for what I have

This post was written in response to a comment that I should be grateful for what I have and not whine about having different abilities.

I am lucky and blessed in so many ways. Compared to most people I know I am relatively unaffected by the CP. Sure, I use a wheelchair to get around and have difficulty with fine motor tasks and there are times when I cannot transfer by myself but there is so much that I can do and this has given me opportunities that many people with CP don’t have. I can communicate and function without a lot of physical support (I can feed myself and take myself to the toilet as long as it is set up with rails etc). I understand that I am lucky in these ways and I think I show that by not complaining about the things that I cant do yet society seems to be set on reminding me of this fact at every chance it can.

Take the other day for example. I had travelled into a nearby city. I had some shopping to do so we hit the shops for a couple of hours and in that time I had no less than 11 people tell me I was lucky because of something in relation to my different abilities (I don’t like the word disability). Your so lucky to have that wheelchair was a common comment. I wish I had one was another. I’m not quite sure why people think it is so great to have a wheelchair, mostly I think they were tired of walking around the shops, but I just wish they would be careful what they wish for: it might just happen to them one day. I guess if this happened to some of the more influential people (a politician for example) that have made similar comments to me then it could be a good thing because I bet that services for people with different abilities would be greatly improved if those people who control such services needed them. Am I being selfish to think this way? I hope not for I am truly grateful that I have had the opportunities I have had- I just want to ensure that I have more in the future and that future generations do as well.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Greatful for what I have

  1. Well said. Not whiny at all. And everyone whines. Whining is normal behavior – appropriate in its place.

    Sometimes I defend the people who have not yet learned how to comfortably interact with someone who uses a w/c full-time. I think their remarks – if awkward – are an attempt to interact and connect. How shall we call them? Socially-impaired? Communication-delayed for certain groups? I don’t think there is one perfect answer to the kind of remarks you get, but I’m sure you’ve come with a few you use regularly. I hope your responses encourage and educate the people who may be reaching-out with good intentions and perhaps poor skill. People keep telling me you can be effective with humor in these kinds of situations. But I’m not very funny or quick with humor myself.

    On politicians, consider looking-up Greg Abbott, Attorney General for Texas.

  2. Fiona

    When people comment on my son and his wheelchair, my response depends on the tone of the comment. Kids who tell him how lucky he is to have that wheelchair “because it’s so cool” – they get a big smile from both of us and an offer of a ride. Same with older people, who look a little envious of his wheely speed when they are using walking frames. But the people who ask “What’s wrong with him, he’s lucky to have that chair – I could do with that when I’m tired” … well I have been known to reply that there’s nothing wrong with him and offer to back over their legs a few times in my van to enable them to experience the joy of always using a wheelchair, not just when they’re tired. Of course it is the “what’s wrong with him?” that makes me mad. What a question to ask in public of anyone, especially a child.

  3. Some great points here, especially the one about politicians. (Do we REALLY need them? – I here Belgium hasn’t had a government for a while now because no-one can gain a majority and when they were asked, the Belgians said things were running better without them!). As for the public, I once got so mad at one of them staring at my little boy (He had really bad CP), I slapped her!
    Love the blog. Visit mine

  4. Glee

    Never never stop complaining Karen. Oh, well you can when you have true equity. I won’ hold my breath for that!!

    In relation to my activist work abloid “friends” of mine are wont to say “why do you keep doing it if it makes you angry and frustrated?”. I say that if I stop doing it I will suffer and My People will suffer. There will not be equal access or adequate services if I and my colleagues don’t do the work. The DDA and home services only happened because we have been fighting, writing submissions, being on committees and working on legislation for nigh on thirty years (and before).

    It’s all very well for others to criticise but I bet they don’t suffer discrimination like you do. Grateful, Pah!! Ignore them and keep on keeping on. Go girl!

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