The last few weeks have been the strangest things. I admit, most weeks are strange around here but the first fortnight of December is always a bit more so. It starts off by being too early to legitimately get excited about Christmas but you have to watch the odd film and put the tree up ‘cos them’s the rules.
I can get excited about Christmas between the 23rd and – depending how long the hangover lasts – the 26th or 27th December. After that, it’s time for a few days off before New Year and then it’s over. I don’t get restaurants encouraging us to book our Christmas meals in September or shops putting out their first bits of stock as soon as barbecue season is over. Not everybody wants to watch The Santa Clause or listen to Let it Snow on repeat for six weeks.
The world is full of people who refer to the ‘disabled way of life’ and say I am part of ‘disability culture’ meaning cultural misappropriation is, indeed, at play here. I do get really annoyed when I see a disabled person in a show and then turn over to see the same person prancing around without a care in the world because they are taking aspects of my lifestyle – my culture – and using it to their advantage.
I recently ranted about the ignorance able bodied people often show to the wheeled army. I’m never going to understand how some think that functioning legs makes them automatically better and I’m planning to give up trying.
25th September – today – is International Ataxia Awareness Day. I don’t blame you for not already knowing that if that’s news to you. Until I read about it on social media, I didn’t know either. I knew there was an awareness day but not when. Not a big deal, you may say, you can’t remember all the awareness days. Only… I have ataxia. No excuses, right?
Yesterday, I woke up with a bad feeling. I got up, dressed, washed, all on auto-pilot. Doing things automatically with no real awareness is a horrible feeling for anybody but when you have a physical disability too and have to give extra care to where you are going and how you are moving, being so disconnected from your own body can be quite scary.
Over the summer I have experienced a whole lot of ignorance towards disabled people and disability in general. Some of this was down to people simply not being aware of disability, some to deliberate ignorance and the misguided belief still held by many that a disability somehow makes people less worthy of a decent life, some to the forgetfulness of those not directly affected by disability and the rest down to people who think they have the right to decide what is best for anyone with a disability.