ADVOCACY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

I am just trying to find work opportunities that clearly define what accommodations can be used, but it is rather difficult. I don’t want to rush into anything. So I’m changing my plans. I don’t want to work, I want to advocate. My life is very fluid so change is welcomed.

I want to advocate for individuals who have disabilities. I am disabled myself and I am finding it so hard to find productive activities to pass the time. I don’t have hobbies, nor do I have many friends, and I want to live on my own some day.

Rent is more expensive in the long term than buying a house, so I don’t plan to rent. Even if I inherited the wealth of a rich, late uncle (I don’t have a rich uncle and I wouldn’t be inheriting anything, this is just to make a point) money doesn’t last forever and house payments don’t wait. I would be evicted and back at square one.

So how does one avoid this? They make money! I’m a disabled person, which is very evident to see. The seeing part is how most of you sighted people judge people superficially unfortunately. Discrimination is a hard thing to deal with for anyone. It’s a true shame.

So… now that we’ve established that life as an adult—with or without disabilities—living in the United States of America is not free, how does someone get a job?

My first attempt at finding something to do was in October of 2020. It was recommended by my Nana that I try to get a job at her church working in the preschool. I thought that was a great idea, and I arranged an interview with the person who hires people. I don’t know if this person is a teacher. Either way, we have an in person meeting in her tiny office. I hand over my resume (I should have looked at it first because it wasn’t updated) and talk about teaching/coming up with lesson plans. I even showed a sample lesson plan I had made in college for preschoolers. Everything was looking good. Once I get back home I realized I gave an outdated resume and decided to email it. Once I get an email back, I read it and unfortunately didn’t get the job. But the reason I wasn’t hired, in her words, was,

“I fear that it may be very difficult for you to lift the children for diaper changes and sometimes our children, all ages, will run from us in the hallways or on the playground when it’s time to go inside. If that happens, it may be very difficult for you to chase after them…”

In the same email, it is noted that my resume definitely shows I’m a good candidate for the job. The reason I wasn’t hired was because the interviewer assumed I could not preform daily work tasks that I hadn’t even demonstrated in the interview. I was denied a job because I didn’t look like I could lift or chase a child. And unfortunately for the interviewer, her discrimination was through email, so I still have it.

I was discouraged from getting a job after realizing that some people hire based on looks alone. So I’ve been stuck ever since. I want to advocate for individuals with disabilities for many reasons, one definitely being so they don’t have to apply for jobs and be turned away because of their disabilities. First of all, it’s illegal to discriminate based on disabilities. I have no clue what gave the interviewer the idea that what she said was acceptable. The interview seemed fine, I wasn’t given the ability to demonstrate what I was being judged on. I want to teach people about how to talk to people with disabilities. My disabled ex boyfriend didn’t know how to talk to me right, and I think if the curricula becomes more inclusive, to disabled people, LGBTQIA+ people, to all the minorities… I think after a few generations people can be fearless of unjust judgement and discrimination.

Dare I reference Bill Nye? If the general curriculum in schools can adapt and become more inclusive, we can … dare I say it … change the world.

Thank you, stranger at Chili’s!

Thank you, stranger at Chili’s for pointing out the red flag I’ve been ignoring in my relationship. I now know that the man I was with had been rude throughout the majority of the relationship and have ended it. I was excusing his behavior because I thought it was a part of his disability, but now I strongly believe disabilities do not give people the right to be rude with zero consequences. I will be referring to my ex as the man mostly through the post.

The stranger had asked me while the man was in the bathroom if I was okay. He didn’t work there, he was being a Good Samaritan and had overheard the man speaking very loudly and continuously interrupting me. I told the stranger that I was used to that treatment because I believed that behavior was a result of his disability. I told the stranger everything was okay and he walked away hesitantly.

When the man returned from the bathroom I must have had a strange look on my face, as he asked, “what’s wrong?” I told him I would tell him in the car (I didn’t tell him the reason until we left the restaurant because I didn’t know how he would react, and in hindsight I’m glad I waited) He asked if he had done something wrong and I nodded. He changed his tone of voice to the higher pitch he characteristically uses when in disbelief of the situation he’s in and questioned me some more, but I kept saying that I would tell him in the car.

After I paid for the meal (I told him beforehand that I was treating him to dinner), we left to go back to his parents’ house. In his parent’s car I told him about the kind stranger. He blew it off like it was nothing (because this happened all the time and this stranger was the first person to mention that it seemed odd and impolite). I told him that he was being rude and he still pushed it off. He has apologized for the way he talks to me in the past, but it’s not a true apology unless one makes an effort to change, and this has been a constant struggle.

We finally get to the house and greet his parents and his puppy. He originally didn’t want to go out to eat with me because he didn’t want to leave his dog alone. His dog wasn’t going to be alone, and he knew that. His reasoning is that he has sole responsibility of the dog and doesn’t think that his family members would care to let him outside. He has never owned a pet before, so he is still learning that people aren’t heartless enough to ignore a dog whimpering to go outside. Granted, it takes a little extra energy to put the dog’s leash on as they are not allowed to have a fenced in yard, but seriously. None of his family members said there was any issues with the dog once we got back.

Back to the point, back to the situation. we went to the basement to watch some television and snuggle. He had been having issues with the gas prices being high so we made a deal that if he took me home that night, I would take a ride to his house the next day. He told his parents that I wasn’t able to get a ride as an excuse to be able to spend more time with me because we hadn’t seen each other for more than a week. I’m still upset that I have to compromise on transportation due to gas prices, am I really not worth paying a little extra at the pump? I guess not. We had been arguing about this in the past too.

Before leaving, the man sees vanilla wafers on the countertop in the kitchen. He became very excited about it, and I gathered from the tone of his mother’s voice that he wasn’t supposed to eat them. He got some anyways. His mom brings up a story about how he used to hide food in his mattress as a child. There was laughter and smiles. She said she found a cow rib once and didn’t know how long it had been there, and that caused more chuckling between all of us. The man asked me if I wanted a vanilla wafer, to which I declined and told him his mom didn’t offer so no thank you. Yes that was a little passive aggressive, I take fault there. She chuckled and the man and I left soon after.

The ride back to my parents house was pretty uneventful. We talked about what we were going to do the next day. He seemed happy. He kissed me goodbye and left.

The next day started out fine. I sent him a text in binary code and he replied with a bunch of happy face emojis. Roughly an hour later, he messages me and complained that I was being rude and disrespectful to his mom the day before (yes he was referring to the passive aggressive comment) and said I crossed the line. I don’t feel it necessary to describe the entire conversation. I mentioned he had no issues with me the night before and that I feared someone else was influencing his emotions.

His mother appeared to have some issues with me throughout the relationship. She was kind to my face and talked to the man about me behind my back. I only know this because the man told me about a few instances shortly after they happened. She would make baseless claims about my disabilities and would scoff about what little she knew to be true, such as me having insomnia. After the first few times the man reported it to me, I wanted to get my story straight with his mom so she would be less ignorant about the man’s love. I was over for dinner one night and I explained all of my “ailments” with her. She has a disability herself so I thought she would understand. Unfortunately this didn’t change her predetermined and biased view of me. She would continue to make snide comments about me to the man behind my back. That kind of behavior is childish. She obviously doesn’t want to give me a chance, but that was mostly okay because I wasn’t in a relationship with her. I say mostly because the man has a toxic and codependent relationship with her. She made me cry before because of how callous her behavior towards me was. Please, be polite to everyone. I’m a human, not a punching bag. I broke down one night because of him relaying her comments over the phone. I forgot about it because I wasn’t dating her but her son didn’t seem to ever stick up for me and tell her to stop.

I message him that our relationship isn’t working. I didn’t understand how I was being rude to his mom when declining the wafers. I think she got into his head and finally got him to hate me. He is known for the large number of things he hates, and I’m in that collection now. I couldn’t deal with his mom influencing him so much. He messaged me today, trying to insult me by saying I’m immature. I let him know his insults don’t work on me anymore to which he responds with “It’s not insulting. It’s the truth.” I questioned how long he planned on staying with an immature woman but then gave up hope. He won’t change easily. He didn’t receive any help for his disability as a child and it’s affecting his life very negatively. I told him to congratulate his mom as she finally won her son back and disabilities do not give anyone the right to be a**holes. He needs to grow up and get help.

So once again, thank you, stranger at Chili’s, for helping me realize that my relationship was not working. I have been dating the man for roughly three years, I was still in college and he dropped out of college for maybe the third or fourth time at the end of senior year. He is using his parents money to keep dropping out, and doesn’t understand college isn’t for everyone. If he wants to keep wasting his parents’ money so he doesn’t have to act like an adult and grow up, I have no influence on him or his parents decisions. Goodbye, it was nice knowing you, you probably didn’t tell your mom I said congratulations but that’s just fine. Also you probably won’t read this entire post because you didn’t like reading my long text messages. Buh bye!

Why did I get a college degree? The reason may shock you.

So yes, I’m a college graduate with a BS in education. I am the first person in my family history to graduate college too, which is awesome for future generations. But why did I want to get a degree? The reason may shock you.

My mom always told me and my younger brothers that we were going to go to college. It wasn’t a free ride though as my parents didn’t have oodles of extra money to send us to college. In other words, I had to take out loans and apply for scholarships to pay for it. Yes it was expensive but I think it was worth it.

I went to two different colleges and graduated from the second one. It is called Cabrini University. The education taught there was way less stressful and I decided to get a degree for myself instead of doing it just because my parents wanted me to. Doing it for myself felt more gratifying.

I should back up quite a bit though, my reason started in May of 2009 when I was eleven years old. I was in an almost fatal car accident while trying to show a new friend around town. I wanted her to move to my town so I could see her more often and I guess I wanted to familiarize her with the town in case she moved there. Thank goodness she wasn’t also hit by the distracted driver of a Ford F-150, thank goodness. I don’t talk to her anymore, but she is often in my thoughts.

I was tossed over 50 feet upon impact. We were crossing the street on a crosswalk that is very close to a fire station, so I got help quickly. I was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My parents were notified at some point.

The prognosis I was given was very bleak. I was in a semiconscious vegetative state for a good deal of my stay. I suffered multiple broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, and additional vision loss on top of already being visually impaired at birth. The doctors told my parents that I would never walk, talk, or be able to function independently. At some point I wasn’t vegetative anymore and I insisted on walking out of the hospital to prove the doctors and statistics wrong, which I did.

I apologize for not going too in depth about the accident, but that is only the context for my reasoning. Now that that’s out of the way, I will get to the point. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a child, but I decided against it when thinking realistically (I don’t want to preform a life or death operation wrong on someone’s beloved pet) so I went to college for educational studies. I did it if only to prove the doctors wrong yet again and defy statistics. Is that a good reason to get a college degree? That is up to your interpretation. I graduated from Cabrini University in 2020, and I betrayed the statistical outcome.

What’s the point?

So why do I write? I write for many silly reasons but I also want to create a community of well educated people who are able to look past others’ differences. Cancel culture is becoming too powerful and I feel that some of the issues that still exist are being pushed aside. Disabilities exist— news flash— just in case you forgot. Disability isn’t a bad word, but so many people take it as such.

I am disabled. I’ve got a few disabilities as a matter of fact, and I’m not afraid about them. You shouldn’t be either. Communication is key, if you want to know why my eyes shake or I have a limp, or if you have questions about anyone’s disabilities, just ask! I get it, you may have been told not to stare at people who look a little different, but you most likely weren’t told to ignore them. If you were, I’m sorry that you’ve missed out on a connection.

I’m here to help start a change so that disabled individuals (or individuals with disabilities if you only use person first language) can be fearless of ignorance, let’s educate the general public about disabilities together! It has to start somewhere and I’m going to help fuel change.