Living with disability blogs
Disabled body? Abled mind. Roll up! Roll up! Get your mooky and creative DIY grassroots disability blogs here! We also hand out a few handy hints and tips from a lovely mook who’s been there.
As I step on the crowded bus, the giant siren on my head turns red and the loudspeaker blares out ‘Warning: Cripple on Board! Please vacate your seats and rearrange your pushchairs! Awoogah! Awoogah!
Actually, this doesn’t happen, but I think it should. See, I have a chronic illness that limits my mobility, and public transport for the disabled is like leaping (or shuffling) into a minefield. Yelling crazily as you wobble towards the bus, hoping that the driver can hear you and doesn’t leave you to crash into the closed doors as they roll off. The accusatory stares, as though asking some able-bod to get off the priority seating is tantamount to nicking their Jelly Babies and hobbling away, and the impromptu dance class as you retain your fragile balance in a vehicle bouncing and lurching like Boris Yeltsin.
Train stations are also a labyrinth of obstacles, it usually takes longer to walk to the lift (assuming there is one) than it does to brave the stairs, and both systems are designed to stop disabled people ever actually boarding anything on time. I have not negotiated an airport with this yet but I’m sure a bag of fun surprises will be waiting at the terminal. Travelling anywhere with wheelchairs and other mobility aids is a nightmare, and more than once has led me to actual tears of frustration. However, it’s not all soul-taintingly bad:
Most people are actually okay. I have lost count of how many helpful strangers have come forward to lift me on to things, carry bags, clear seating, and hold up buses and trains for me. Yes, you do get some ignorant bubbies, but the majority of fellow travellers are happy to help out. If they’re not, freely venting at them and asking how they would feel in your position is perfectly acceptable and even quite cathartic – just don’t hit them over the head with your stick, as there may be legal repercussions.
Even though you may need help to get further than the front door, big up your accomplishments whenever you are mobile. I count a very short walk to the end of the road and back as a mega achievement at the moment, and catching the bus, standing up long enough to cook a full meal, staircases and getting in and out of the bath are gold-star worthy. Whatever your limitations, celebrating the small victories is always a good idea to put a more positive spin on the day.
Pimp your ride. Wheelchair looking dull? Boring walking stick? Crack out the glitter glue and paintbox. Just because you have to use a walking aid doesn’t mean it has to be drab – slap on some stars, flowers, occult symbols – anything you like. Stick some pink fluffy angel wings on the back of your wheels – ribbons, feathers, Tibetan prayer flags – anything goes. Why put up with soulless mobility aids when you can make them fantastic-looking?
Lastly – don’t beat yourself up over it. I find myself going down the angry/guilty road sometimes because I need help to get around, and to hell with that kind of thinking; just because I’m mobility challenged doesn’t mean I don’t have just as much to give as someone able, and so do you. Just think, life’s thrown you one of its hardest lessons…and you’re Still. Freaking. Awesome.
Links to awesome disability blogs
http://tor-pastthepointofnoreturn.blogspot.com/ – Victoria Tremlett – CF sufferer. Doesn’t update much but a really inspiring read.
http://lungs-for-life.blogspot.com/ – Rachy’s blog. Lung disease, amazing and she’s recovering from double lung transplant.
http://www.diaryofadyingmom.blogspot.com – autoimmune sufferer – sadly passed away now. Blog is an incredible read.
http://elizabethmcclung.blogspot.com/ – Married academic LGBT with goth style leanings who writes about being an ex wheelchair, now power chair user. An unstoppable force. Oh, and she’s a regular boxer.
These next disability blogs deal with chronic systemic illnesses in young people – M.E., Fibro and Lupus.
http://www.audacitymagazine.com/ – Audacity Magazine is a ‘disabled mag for the abled mind’ – not a personal blog, but cool.
Photo by Bloody Mallory
Escalator surfing. We’re impressed.