Random statements and funny situations come with the territory of having a disability, at least that’s been my experience. My disability has gotten me into some unique, for lack of a better term, situations. After talking to a few friends about some of the things I’ve experienced, I thought it would be fun to share a post on a few of the more common situations that I’ve found myself in as a wheelchair user in honor of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. How many of these instances have happened to you?
Wheelchair User Truths
1. You’ve accepted that for the rest of your life you’ll be hearing “please don’t run me over” or “do you have a license for that thing?”
2. You haven’t quite figured out how to respond to: “you’re so beautiful for someone in a wheelchair.”
3. You know if you received a dollar for every time someone told you that would give you a ticket, you’d be a millionaire.
4. When the elevator is your escape from an awkward situation and you’re pushing the button like you’re playing a video game.
5. You’ve accepted that you will get stuck in an elevator or on other automatic vertical transportation devices, at this point you consider it a rite of passage.
6. You wonder why people feel the need to move your wheelchair or your legs for you without permission.
7. You wonder if there’s a right way to answer “what’s wrong with you?” every time you hear it.
8. You know you’ll never get used to people talking to your assistants (PCAs) instead of you when they have a question about you or your disability.
9. You’ve dropped things on the floor and just left them there because there was no one around to help you pick them up.
10. You wish people would understand how important/personal your wheelchair is and not randomly lean on it/ or use it as a footrest.
11. You wish people who aren’t familiar with your disability would stop trying to explain certain aspects of it to you.
12. Those times when you accidentally bump into a door or wall with your wheelchair then quickly examine it for marks or dents.
13. When the handicap button doesn’t exist or doesn’t work and you use your wheelchair to help you open the door.
14. When your headphones are plugged into your phone and you drop your phone then use your headphones like a fishing line to pick it up.
15. You wonder if people will ever truly understand that there’s more than one reason for using a wheelchair.
16. You’ll never get used to the surprise looks you get when someone sees you somewhere other than your wheelchair.
17. You realize you’ll forever have to deal with people making assumptions about your capabilities/limitations.
18. You wonder where the idea that everyone in a wheelchair within a certain distance knows each other came from every single time you get asked: “oh do you know….”
19. You can’t help questioning why it is that people are so shocked that you’re dating, married or have a family
20. You’ll never get used to that feeling when you have to change or cancel plans at the last minute.
21. That awkward moment when someone is carrying you or helping you do something in a crowded area and you end up accidentally bumping into people
22. You know that you’ll somehow always find yourself in situations where someone means well and wants to help but doesn’t ask how so they end up helping in a way that’s not all that helpful.
23. You wonder why people keep using the zone next to a parking spot for wheelchair users as its own separate parking spot or don’t park properly in their spot so their car ends up taking away some of the space you need to get into the car.
24. You can’t help but wonder how people who have their cars idling next to a curb always manage to block the entire thing.
25. You can’t help but ask what accessible means to others when you ask if a location is accessible, they say yes, then tell you there’s only one step, maybe two.
26. You’ll never get used to those situations where people come up to you and ask you random questions while you’re out going about your day.
Some of these aspects of being a wheelchair user are annoying, but at times I find myself laughing at some of the situations I happen to be because I’m a wheelchair user. How about you? Think I forgot a few things that need to be added to this wheelchair user truths list? Leave a comment and let me know.