Constant Vigilance

To quote Harry Potter.

It’s difficult to separate out my life into the disability stuff and what life would be like without it. I don’t remember much of my life beforehand. Something I’ve been aware of for years is how distrustful ableism has made me.

I’ve been primed to be constantly aware of other people’s attitudes. I worry that people I’ve known for years think I’m exaggerating or lying when they ask how I’ve been. The sad thing is that this isn’t an unmerited fear. I have had people turn on me. I’m all too often aware of the need to watch what I say, watch people’s faces, watch my back. Because a rumour might start, or a friend might “forget” my access needs, or someone in a position of power might make life difficult for me. It can go wrong in a split second, and it has.

I’m not the most trusting person in the world in any case, but being disabled in this ableist world has taught me that complacency is something I cannot afford. I can’t expect that people will treat me like a person, and I can’t expect to go outside and not have to worry about accessibility issues all the time. That’s so terribly sad. And this constant vigilance is now so much a part of how I deal with the world, how I go about my day, that I don’t know how I’d go about teasing it out of myself, letting myself relax, even in the event that ableism and inaccessibility suddenly disappeared from society.

[Cross-posted at Zero at the Bone]

1 Comment

  1. Chally,

    Excellent post that I believe a great many people will relate to. It is a crying shame that there are so many “disbelievers” out there who make things even more difficult for persons with various disabilities and/or chronic illnesses.

    Jeanne

    P.S. I love the Harry Potter reference. I read the whole series back to back while recovering from one of my surgeries. Those books have a special place in my heart for many reasons.
    Jeanne´s last blog post ..Sleep Deprivation-Induced Burnout