In light of recent events, I am wanting to share with specific issues I’ve had to deal with. Some of them were worth more serious legal action, and others just blatant ignorance. But often with invisibly ill people, the ableism is a lot more nuanced. It can be very subtle, often passing over my head due to my own internalized ableism. I feel worthy of the negative feedback. I feel worthy of the stares and disgusted looks because disability makes people feel undesirable.
The biggest issue I’ve been dealing with started when I was hit with a car walking on my university campus one day about three years ago. I was hit with a campus car, as well. I was knocked completely to the ground, hips first causing a big flare of pain in my spine ever since I was hit. I had physical therapy right after the accident, but still had the flare of pain. I’ve gone back to physical therapy since then, and my back is as good as it has been in a long time, but the flare of pain has not completely gone, and I don’t think it will be completely gone ever again. Unfortunately, the school didn’t do anything to help or compensate for what happened. The President of the school would not meet with me, and instead I had to talk to the Dean of Students. He wasn’t there to talk about what happened or help the situation, he just was there to say sorry and ask me about my specific health concerns out of his own curiosity and nosiness. The only action ever made by the school was to sit down all the drivers and tell them to drive more carefully through the campus. I’m glad this happened, but it was not enough. Not for me, nor the safety of the school. No one could see I was hurting on the inside, and no one really cared to fix what happened to me.
Another recent run-in with ableism: complete absence of disability parking spaces at my apartment complex. I confronted them with this issue, they said they never had anyone ask them before. The landlord kept insisting that they never had anyone need that, and I could move. I had just moved in already, and didn’t think my complex would have literally no parking for disabled persons, let alone refuse to offer accommodation for it. I have officially requested a spot for myself, especially because the lot fills up all the time, and apparently if you can’t park there, there’s an overflow lot even further away. I have kept insisting it happen, and I’ve just been waiting. It still has not been put in for me yet. I needed it before school starts, and school is starting in two days. Still. Not. Ready. I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to put a stake in the ground with a sign, that should have been there in the first place. It’s not supposed to be an option. It’s a law. They should probably have had four spaces already for the size of the place.
Other blatant comments and acts toward me:
1. “What did you do to yourself?”
2. “How did you hurt yourself?”
3. “No wonder you haven’t gotten up…” After I didn’t stand up when they walked in.
4. Many stares, almost every person I pass.
5. Dramatically backing up in a bar when finally sees my cane.