I decided to take one of my own ideas from the September Writing Challenges. To write about ways to make disabilities invisible. When I wrote the idea it wasn't to make people with disabilities go away or hide their disabilities. In case you don't know, I have several disabilities. Some disabilities you can tell right off. Others are obvious without me telling you.
I have noticed a few things with my disabilities and others who have disabilities. I struggle to be like everyone else. I struggle to make my disabilities go unnoticed. I know if someone is a true friend they will not notice my disabilities. That doesn't matter much when it comes to first impressions. Some people's first impression is to make fun of those with a noticeable disability.
Let me tell you about a journey. I have had with one of my disabilities and why I choose to hide it.
When I use to work up at the Job Center, a customer who came in often gave me an awful nickname. She would not call me by my name. She referred to me as gimpy because of my limp and needing to use a cane.
Everyone would laugh when she used that nickname. Only I wasn't laughing. That name hurt. I wanted to cry every time the customer said it and someone laughed. One day I was directed on to work with the lady. I refused to. I explained why I had a problem with the customer. There were other employees who were not busy that could take care of the customer.
The management said I had to buck up and work with the customer. As I could not allow my emotions get to me in the work force. I stuck up for myself and told the management I know my rights under the disability acts. I can't remember the exact wording I used. I did explain management could not force me to work with someone who is bullying me. Once the management was aware of the situation going on. It was management's place to take care of the situation, not brush it under the rug. Like it wasn't happening.
I went home and cried that day. That was one of many days where I cried because of my disability. I couldn't walk like a normal person. I couldn't understand this was happening to me. I blamed myself for not not trying harder.
A sister of my mine found out about what happen at work. That customer worked at the same place my sister did. As she started talking bad about me. My sister stopped the customer from talking. She explained to her that girl she was making fun of was me, her sister. That I was walking funny because my estranged husband had shot me. That domestic violence fo any kind was no laughing matter.
The next day that customer came up to where I worked at and apologized to me. It took my sister stepping up to make the person see what she were doing in fun was hurting me. I am lucky to have a sister speak up for me when management failed too.
I no longer use a cane every day to walk. I use a cane on long walks, when I know I will be over exerting my bad leg, or when the weather effects my leg. As the cold or a strong cool wind will cause my leg to stiffen up. When my leg stiffens in mid walk. It causes me to fall.
I walk in high heels to hide my limp when I walk.
I have improved my posture. That way I am not leaning to the side when I walk. As I walk on the ball of my right foot. Try walking on the ball of your foot on one foot. As you walk normal on the other. Trust me, it is a weird feeling. I will wear long skirts or long dresses that hang to the floor. That way others can not see how I walk.
I don't try to make my disability disappear for others. As haters are going to hate no matter how I try to fit in. I do it to feel good about myself. To feel normal. I do it for me.
Photo taken by and © belongs to Sandy KS aka rusty2rusty. The photo is of my walking stick and canes. I store them in a vase by my front door.