"Making Us *Look* Bad"

I decided to put together a list of phrases/incidents where my friends and myself have said and thought to ourselves, "gee that person just makes us look bad as someone who is disabled.." or "that person just makes us look like we're just a lazy bunch of disabled people.." 

The person we all know who is content to just live on disability checks..for like, ever.

The disabled panhandler that makes it a point to ask us our name, and calls out to us every time we are within five yards so it appears like we are best buddies to everyone on the block. 

The person who fought a little harder for what she wanted whereas we decided we were fine with the status quo. 

The person who is comfortable and totally chill talking about sex in public, to a non-disabled majority. 

The kid who refuses any pain medication after surgery, the same surgery we whimpered about for weeks. 

The person who didn't just brush off a minor offense, but made it a point to get his message across that that was in fact not okay

The person who is a medal-ranking Paralympian, motivational speaker, book writer, triathlon athlete, and then in their spare time they also just happen to be helping their aging parents through claiming their own disability. 

The kid who is standing-up against bullying when at that age we may have just accepted it, or even participated in it as the ones who were bullies. 

The young person who has the guts to tell their family "peace-out yo, I'm moving out on my own." 

The person who bravely reported that their Personal Care Attendant was abusive. 

The individual who worked with their physical therapist for just a little longer so that she could then one day walk without mobility aides. 

The person who told their family members, "no you can't just use my handicap placard whenever you feel like it anymore, especially when I'm not even there."

The person who took their time around the school race track even though they knew it would take three times longer, because we may have preferred to sit in the shade and 'help record times.' 

The person who decided to not use their disability as an excuse, even if that would have been 'easier,' more socially 'expected/accepted,' and even medically condoned. 

The person whose life-style and life-stage most closely resembles the life-styles & stages of their non-disabled counterparts. 

Don't kid yourself, we have all done it I'm sure. We've all compared ourselves to one another. That's the nature of being in a community, and a part of the process of getting to know one another; it's almost necessary I think, to question and think about the impact that others' actions might have on our own perceptions of ourselves, or on the community at large. I think doing this is somewhat healthy because it keeps us in check, it keeps us critical of one another - and most importantly of ourselves.

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