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If you are disabled you have probably had the experience of an abled person seeing your disability and saying that your disability does not define you and you can do whatever you put your mind to. It is true that your disability is something that you live with and is not your identity but it is wrong to tell disabled people that they can do whatever they put their minds to because I can’t do whatever my heart desires and some things are quite literally impossible. Abled people can do whatever they want but when you are disabled that statement is not necessarily true because your disability does limit your ability to do certain things and it can be harmful to tell disabled people that if you are ina the right mindset you can do anything. I see the world in a very different way than abled-bodied people but because of my disability there are some things that come easily for abled-bodied people that are very difficult for me and I don’t understand it because I have either done it or don’t experience it in the same way . In this post I am going to talk about six things that I do not understand because of my disability.
How people can run for miles and like it– Abled people often like to do a lot of cardio when they workouts but when you have a physical disability often cardio is very difficult and you may prefer strength training. My dad and a few of my sisters run as their chosen form of exercise but as a disabled person, I struggle with understanding how anyone can choose to run as their preferred form of exercise because to me it seems like the worst exercise you could possibly choose . My sister once told me that running was therapeutic and is her escape from life but I don’t get how high-intensity cardio workouts would be an escape from my life because for me running would be more like a skip and I’d be running towards my problems not away from them. In my disabled mind, I cannot grasp how running would escape life’s problems because when I used to walk I hated it and cannot understand how people do it everyday and enjoy it. I think it’s great that abled-bodied people can find a workout that they love but I don’t get people’s obsession with cardio because as a disabled person, I have never found joy in even a five minute walk. People always say that you get a runners high which is why people like to run but what is that exactly because I don’t see how a long run would make you feel more energized and for me it just seems like it would take all the energy out of you.
People’s obsession with growing their glutes– When I was born both of my hips were completely dislocated and because of that my glutes have always been very weak and there aren’t any exercises I can do that will strengthen them in any significant way. Some people into fitness have a serious obsession with growing their glutes but I don’t get it because I don’t know what it feels like to do a glute workout nor do I understand why people care so much that they put themselves through horrible workouts to grow their glutes. I can understand people want to strengthen their glute muscles because I like to do that with my arms but sometimes people take it to the extreme by lifting extremely heavy weights and out of all the body parts you could improve on I don’t get why having huge glute muscles is your only priority.
Why it’s so difficult to stop eating sugar- Sugar is like a drug because it’s very addictive and I can understand how people can occasionally eat too many cookies but some people have a serious addiction and can’t stop eating. As a disabled person who lives with a stoma, I am not able to eat five donuts without major consequences and you will only see me doing that on very rare occasions because my stoma reacts to sugar and I don’t like to have to deal with these issues unnecessarily. My stoma is a blessing and a curse because it forces me to eat healthy but at the same time, it doesn’t allow me to enjoy sugary treats like an abled person can. I can understand how people sometimes go very a second bowl of ice cream because ice cream is delicious but I don’t get how people can eat so much and still keep eating. Don’t you ever start to feel sick and think to yourself that maybe you should stop? I have never been able to eat a bowl of ice cream without stressing about it and that probably plays a huge role in my struggles to understand how people can eat three bowls of ice cream because I have never had any desire to overdo it on sweets.
How you can stand for long periods of time– As a disabled person I have never had the ability to stand for long periods of time because my disability limits my ability to stand for long periods of time and be comfortable. If I am exercising a lot I can improve my endurance and train myself to be able to stand for about twenty minutes or so but I am not going to be able to train myself much longer than that. Most abled people can stand for hours and not need a chair and I don’t understand how anyone can stand for long periods of time without being in pain because I have never had that ability. My family sometimes forgets that I can’t stand for more than twenty minutes because they are all abled and sometimes I have to give them little hints to remind them that I can’t stand for hours but I still don’t get how anyone would want to stand for hours. Don’t you get back pain after standing for a whilea and need a chair because I know I do ! It is even more mind-blowing to me when doctors stand and do surgeries for hours because I don’t see how anyone would not get distracted from back pai and start making all these mistakes.
What it feels like to go to the bathroom and it work every single time- I have never had the ability to go to the bathroom and I have always had to rely on laxatives and catheters to help me go because those muscles have never worked properly. I am not confused with how abled people go to the bathroom because that’s pretty self-explanatory but I do wonder what it feels like to be able to sit on a toilet and not stress about whether or not you will be able to go to the bathroom or if you will have cramps the rest of of day from not being able to go. My equipment helps me go to the bathroom and I am grateful for all the medical advancements we have that helps people with Spina Bifida live more independent lives but there is still so much to learn. On a good day, I can have a bowel movement in an hour which isn’t bad but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that and there are far too many days when it doesn’t matter how many laxatives I took my body just doesn’t want to have a bowel movement. It must be lovely to sit on a toilet and be able to go to the bathroom in under five minutes and it work every single time because my whole life I have been battling bowel issues and figuring out what I can do to make them easier. My bowel regimen would not be bad if it worked every single time but unfornately that is not always the case and I don’t have full control over that because sometimes you will have issues for reasons that even your doctor can’t figure out.
How people wear perfume and not get a headache– My whole life I have never experienced daily chronic pain until about three or four years ago and I started getting weekly migraine attacks that. Since living with migraine I have been hyper-sensitive to smells and you won’t generally see me use a lot of scented products with the exception of a few lotions and the natural perfume that I use that thankfully I am not triggered by. I used to be that girl who would love a good scented lotion but now I can’t understand how people can coat themselves in very strong scented products because if I smell one candle it can leave me with a migraine for days.
Disabled people see the world in different way and although I am not defined by my disability, I am limited because of it. I can’t enjoy the same things as abled people because sometimes the limitations of my disability make things harder or impossible and we need to stop telling disabled people that they can do the same things as abled people if they want to. It’s not a bad thing that I have to do things in a different way and disabled people tend to feel that way because abled-bodied people do not want to accept our disabilities but instead want to fix them. I cannot do a majority of the things that abled people can and sometimes I struggle with understanding how people do it and that is okay because I don’t need to understand everything about life that does not apply to me. Stop telling disabled people that they can do whatever they put their minds to because it’s not always true and when you say that it tells me you are not comfortable with my disability. What do you struggle to understand because of your disability?
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