Sometimes things happen and I am reminded all over again that I’m disabled.

I was at a local grocery store. I was getting a few items for our neighborhood party tonight before going to get E from preschool. I wasn’t even really thinking about much other than when I might get feeling back in my jaw from having some dental work done. An older woman approached me. I get this sometimes. Most of the time it’s for them to remark on how I’m an inspiration.

Not today.

“You’re too young to park there.”

Let me remind you that I’m standing outside my car. I’m clearly disabled.

“Well, I’m disabled, I have a car tag. I can park here.”

“You are too young. You should save this for people who are elderly.”

I didn’t say anything. Just sort of looked at her. I wanted to point out that anyone of any age can be disabled.

“You know, when Tr*mp is president he’s going to lock useless people like you up.”

“I voted. I’m with her.” Was all I said. Like I said, my jaw was numb and frankly I was very uncomfortable with life in that moment. I got in my car and waited for her to leave. And I let her words sink in. “Useless people like you.”

No one who ACTUALLY knows me would ever say I was useless. I work hard. I take care of my family. I am a disabled person living in a world with people who see me as less. See me as wasted space. And it’s worse somehow because I’m young(ish). I wonder what they would have thought when I was seventeen or in my mid-twenties. Was I less useful then?

I am not useless.

None of us are.

5 Comments

  1. This is absolutely heartbreaking. And unfortunately, I have to say I’m not at all surprised. This kind of hatred is rampant right now. I am so sorry you experienced this. Just remember, karma is a b*tch.

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  2. I am angry with you. As someone who has heard “That’s a handicapped space, you can’t park there” many times, I empathize. Of course I can park there. I have the permit. Disability doesn’t discriminate and can happen to anyone at any age. I’m with you, and with her.

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  3. I’m catching up on reading your blog and I can’t even see straight now I am so mad. What an ignorant useless person she is. Just running her mouth thinking nothing of her words! I’m so sorry this happened to you and I love you!

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  4. Came across your blog via BuzzFeed, and your experience with that terrible woman is not only stunning and horrifying but exactly my worst fear, as the mom of a disabled daughter. Right now she’s 7, adorable, an inspiration. The most negative comments we get are ones of unrestrained pity or loudly asking what’s wrong with her (which equally piss me off). I fear her adulthood, of times when I’m not there to defend her or boost her up or move her along. I fear when she’s no longer a little girl but an adult who might be treated as you were treated. She will no more be a drain of society than you are. And I know that we can’t control people or be universally liked. But still. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’ll just say, if you ever doubted it, she’s wrong. She’s wrong. She’s wrong.

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