You keep telling me to accept my limitations, so why don’t we talk about yours?

Why can you only think of disabled people as substandard, tragic, less than whole? Why can’t you see us as parts of your life, community, family, lovers, friends, world? Why must we be super crips, stoic heroes, silently suffering? Why must we be a burden on our families, better never born, better have died in the accident that made us so? Why must we be inspirations overcoming the odds? Why must we be not trying hard enough, making a fuss, getting unfair advantages?

You need to approach me as limited because you need someone to be less than you. It is a relief to have someone to compare yourself with and think that you’re doing better than me, at least.

I don’t experience my world as limited, though others may find that a useful construction for their experiences. I have my things I cannot do, I have things an ableist world prevents me from doing, and I understand them better than you ever could, so your focus on them is strange to me. Do you think I don’t know, I need to be told, I am not constantly reminded as I go through the world? Don’t you have things you cannot do? You just want to set aside mine to surround with your pleasure-pity, your ‘so glad it isn’t me,’ and the world allows you to.

Those are your limits: you cannot understand people like us outside of your framework. You are trying to limit us with your ideas of who we can be.

I will not fit your limited narrative. I tell my own story, giving shape to my own experience.

[Cross-posted at FWD/Forward]

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