45 Things I’d Do If I Were Able Bodied

Someone is going to have a bone to pick with this post. Because it is taboo for disabled people to resent being disabled. And hey, I don’t resent being disabled on the whole. But I have thought more than once about what it might be like to be abled for, like, a week. Because who hasn’t? It sounds so easy. Abled people seem to understand in a vague way that disability can be hard. But they seldom make the effort to understand why. Disability isn’t some hyperbolized mountain to climb, but a series of weirdly shaped rocks that sometimes stab the bottom of your feet. A lot of the things listed here are things I *can* do, but not without excessive planning, assistance, and energy expenditure, and have more to do with widespread inaccess than my body itself. And even after all the planning and with the best assistance, the experience is often still limited. In a world that teaches that modification is key to the success of disabled people, it’s worth pointing out the labor inherent in the expectation to modify and automatically know what a given solution is. And sometimes I don’t want to modify or compromise or wait. I just want to do the thing, like every other 21 y.o out there. For example, I have studied ballet, but it’d be nice to participate more fully or take classes more consistently. I shouldn’t have to defend why I love being disabled for you to understand that part of being acclimated to abled society is being constantly reminded of all the things I can’t do. Because make no mistake, there are things that I- and all disabled people- can’t do. Hard stop. The sooner abled folks come to terms with that, the sooner real ability justice and access will be achieved, because there will be a widespread reaction to that fact that is based in realism and pragmatism rather than a reaction that comes from a place of idealism or erasure. To those who have the urge to respond to this with “It could be worse”: You’re right, it could. But you’re missing my point- it could be a whole lot easier, too. To be more specific, here’s 45 ways* in no particular order. Because a girl can dream. And complain.

*tried to come up with 50 ways…but was grasping for 45! Guess I’ve gotten used to the way things are.

  1. Go to the beach (and swim)
  2. Provide physical care for a sick person
  3. Have casual sex
  4. Make meals with more than one dish
  5. Drive
  6. Finish an acting program
  7. Clean my own bathroom
  8. Hit on a stranger
  9. Wear Rompers
  10. Live in New York City
  11. Eat spaghetti or tacos or chicken wings on a first date
  12. Go on more first dates
  13. Babysit
  14. Run for charity
  15. Hang lights/run spot
  16. Go to more concerts
  17. Study Ballet
  18. Make my bed
  19. Get CPR certified
  20. Hike a trail
  21. Get angry about minor inconveniences
  22. Watch fireworks
  23. Let my grades slip
  24. Wear cute shoes (heels!)
  25. Get everywhere really quickly
  26. Puddle jump
  27. Drink spontaneously
  28. Kiss them first
  29. Waitress
  30. Rollerskate
  31. Use tampons
  32. Try shrooms
  33. Pull an all-nighter
  34. Change my outfit midday
  35. Give birth
  36. Sit on the floor
  37. Shave regularly
  38. Wash my floors
  39. Sit at a bar/high top
  40. Try vegetarianism
  41. Speak with no filter
  42. Light candles
  43. Sing in front of people
  44. Woo someone
  45. Keep a low profile

 

Today, this is where she stands.

Sonya

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