20 Ridiculous Things People Have Said to Me About My Disability


The last time I was able to stand on my own was December 12, 2014. Nobody knows why. I’ve heard it all: lupus, multiple sclerosis, spinal inflammation, shock to the nervous system, residual effects of infection, reverse motor effects from my ankle surgery, internal nerve rewiring and my personal favorite, anxiety. I’ve been tested for everything under the sun, examined by everyone under the sun and have come to accept  —  some things just can’t be explained.

Though I was suddenly thrusted into the world of physical disability, I am no stranger to disability itself. And what I have learned is that the world does not accommodate us. Not hardly. Not enough. My boyfriend carried me up flights of stairs to classes, and I’ve crawled up stairs to administrative meetings at Brown University — an Ivy League school.

Though the differences between a mental and physical disability are vast (one is invisible, and one is often visible) the effects of stigma, lack of understanding and inaccessibility damage us all. So ask questions, be kind and in my opinion, never, ever, call us inspiring.

Sh*t People Say (Actual Quotes)

1. The reason we don’t have elevators is because this is a historical building.

2. That must be such a challenge.

3. Your teachers shouldn’t give you a problem. I mean, they can literally see the walker. It’s not like it’s invisible!

4. What happened to you? When will it get better?

5. Jesus will heal you if you just keep praying.

6. Is it hard? Like, what are you going to do if you can never walk again?

7. So, what’s the deal, with uh, that, uh, walker thing?

8. But you’re so pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9. Yeah it’s totally accessible, there’s just like, three stairs.

10. Oh my god my grandma uses a walker. You guys should race!

11. You’re, like, so inspiring.

12. Omg yeah, I feel you. I get so annoyed when the elevator’s broken.

13. At least you can sit whenever you want.

14. Ugh, I wish I didn’t have to stand.

15. I could never do what you do.

16. I literally don’t know how I would get myself up in the morning.

17. Like, how do you motivate yourself?

18. When will it get better?

19. Oh, that sucks.

20. Sometimes I wake up feeling horrible about my life. But then I think of you.

A version of this story originally appeared on Medium.

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