If being alive has taught me anything it’s that having the ability to walk doesn’t mean you have the ability to form logical and intelligent thoughts. So why do so many able bodied people think that my inability to walk is somehow indicative of my inability to think?
I can’t count the number of times that I have been approached by someone who spoke to me with slow, short words – always accompanied by a gentle shoulder touch or clasping my hand. Or worse, the people who come up to me and my friends (you’re probably surprised to learn I have them) and ask my friends my name, or how old I am, or why I can’t walk. This is where able bodied people’s lack of logic comes in – if you saw me talking with said friend a minute before you came to talk to us, why would you assume I’m incapable of answering for myself? Did I somehow lose the ability to form a coherent thought in the last 45 seconds? Unless I have a shot glass of tequila in my hand, that’s probably not what happened.
I have generations of stereotypes to fight, and since I can’t have my Twitter feed on a continuous scroll across my forehead, I find myself overcompensating in person. I’m forever terrified that people will think I’m stupid – or worse, boring – simply because my legs don’t work, and that’s an assumption I’m just not okay with.