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To the Lady Who Asked if I Was in a Wheelchair Because I 'Ate Too Much'

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To the lady in the Macy’s store,

It’s been two days and I bet you have forgotten about me. I, however, remember you, your ignorance and your hurtful comment quite well. I’m sure you were surprised to see me in a wheelchair. From the outside, I look like a healthy, happy teenager. However, due to living in a body that has multiple chronic illnesses, I find the use of a wheelchair quite necessary.


How dare you ask me if “I had eaten too much and needed to use the wheelchair.” You have no idea the struggles I face on a day-to-day basis. You have no idea how much my wheelchair reminds me of all I have lost. You don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager who wants to hang out with her friend at the mall but has to have her friend wheel her around. You don’t know how it feels to have the whole world staring at you when you sitting in that chair and how many people judge you because you don’t look “disabled” enough.

You haven’t a clue how lucky you are to be able to work at that store and stand on your own two feet without experiencing excruciating pain or having your blood pressure and heart rate drop due to a condition almost no one has heard of called neurally mediated hypotension. You don’t know what it is like to overheat and feel like you will pass out if you stand too long.

So no, I didn’t eat too much, I just have an illness that has happened to land me in a wheelchair for the near future. And I will not let you or anyone else make me feel ashamed for using one, because until you have walked a day in my shoes (or chair), you have no right to judge me.


A chronic illness warrior

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Thinkstock photo via Halfpoint.

Originally published: August 18, 2017
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