d i s a b i l i t y : differently abled, not disabled.
Can we stop with this?
Disability is not a dirty word. Let me repeat that. Disability. Is. Not. A. Dirty. Word.
It’s not a slur. It’s not an insult.
I firmly believe that we can not get rid of the ‘dis’ in ‘disability’. As a disabled person, my life is full of things I can do, things I can’t do, things I might be able to learn to do, and things that I might lose on the way. I’m a wheelchair user. I CAN’T walk for more than two steps unassisted. I CAN wheel my chair. See? Two parts of the same word. DIS and ABLED.
I want people to stop hiding from their fear of DISability. I want people to know that there’s nothing wrong with needing help, that you will have to ask for help, that you’ll have to accept help sometimes, that you’ll have to relearn things you learned as a child. And I want people to know that that’s okay.
I think people who take the ‘dis’ out of ‘disability’ are trying to take my identity away. And yes I do identify as a disabled person. It’s a huge part of my life whether I want it to be or not. The last thing I need is someone making my life seem like sunshine daisies just because they think I can do ANYTHING if I ‘JUST TRY HARD ENOUGH’.
Take away the DIS and you take attention away from the drama. You take away notice of prejudice, mockery, and injustice. You let discrimination roll of your back because it doesn’t bother you because you know that everyone’s ‘abled’ just sometimes ‘differently’ so.
I can’t reach things off the top shelf. I can’t go up and down stairs. I can’t work full-time. I can’t live without pain. I can’t wear certain clothing or eat certain foods. I can’t run miles or park in regular parking spots. I can’t jump or kick or stand for long periods of time.
And that’s okay.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m disabled. That’s all. That’s okay. It’s okay.
Don’t take away my DIS. I need it. It reminds me of what I can and can’t do. It reminds me that it’s okay to live how I need to live.