This post has been circling through my mind for months, and I figured it was about time it got actually written. I’ve read some amazing pieces about disability, disability politics and the like, and I really don’t think I can add to that. So instead, this is a personal stream of consciousness about some of my disability experiences.
I have an ‘invisible’ disability. Around the start of this year I finally gave in, and started using a walking stick, which physically helps out amazingly, allowing me to walk about four times as far as I can without it. Using a stick was a super big change for me, first because it required inner acknowledgement of my disability, which, quite frankly, I’m generally terrible at, preferring to ignore it, second because it was effectively a shift from being invisibly disabled to being visibly so. I was very worried about what this would mean – specifically how it would change others treatment of me. This worry had been part of what made me hesitate for years before I started using a stick.
There’s a heap to say on this topic, so today is just about interactions with strangers – I’ll address changes with friends, family and all in a separate post later sometime.