I am not here to inspire you.

The darker side to calling disabled people 'inspiring'. Why it's insulting, exploitative, and ultimately harmful.

@sophia Yeah I don't show my disabilities because it becomes a 'despite' situation.

@FimbulFlower You're never just allowed to live with it as part of you, eh

@sophia I can't express my feelings on it completely as my thoughts about this are just too toxic when not handled with care. Not so much offensive or such but it's just, stuff that people in the dumps would latch on to and feel bad and I'm not going to be responsible for people spiraling out of control once again.

Just feels like I can't be honest about my emotions, thoughts and issues with anyone without saying things that end up being harmful. I know this is a tangent but whatever.

@sophia "I am a disabled person and I have accepted it with no expectation or desire to ‘overcome’ it, and it took a very long time to get there."

this reminded me of how, some family i've recently reconnected with.. keep apologising for "how exhausted" i got, even though i keep going "i only had to stay in bed until the evening! i wasn't even out of action for the whole day!" and it really has thrown in stark contrast to me like. how much i've self-accepted and also how different abled expectations are...

@sophia the bit about "inspiring" always bothered me. Thank you for writing about that.

@sophia I apologize if my use of the word “inspire” in my other post was offensive. I was just in awe of your photos and wanted to push a skill I never really felt that I had mastered. It was because of seeing your photos. Not because you could do it despite your disability. But because your skill at something I couldn’t grasp well was so great. I’m disabled myself so I understand not wanting to be looked at in that way. Please understand that it wasn’t meant so. Sorry...

@alric No not at all. You were actually inspired by something I did, it made you do something and I love that, it was absolutely an honour!
It's when people say it and all they mean is it's impressive 'for a disabled person', or made them feel nice because/in spite of my disabilities. It's rarely because of things standing on their own merit or in line with our peers

This is really well written, and has me reflecting on my hesitance to start using a wheelchair (I already own a cheap manual one, but never used it, slightly long story).

There's all that harassment you can face just for being visibly disabled, or from using a mobility aid you sit on and being fat, and then there's still being able to stand up out of it... It's a lot.

@saffron Thank you. And yeah, it's extremely fucked up, I just hope things get better

@saffron Sorry I was trying to write something longer and accidentally hit toot. I wish I knew an answer but I'm actually at a point where I have no idea what could possibly reduce any of this to make it easier for people. No one should have to question their right to freedom and independence for fear of all this. For what it's worth though, starting to use a wheelchair was one of my greatest decisions. Despite all this bullshit, it gave me my life back.

I've seen the difference a wheelchair can can make for friends, so as my legs get more painful and my joints more damaged it does look like a shining beacon of freedom.

Maybe 30% of my hesitating is due to physical things (e.g. I don't know if my hands and shoulders could handle it), and the rest is stuff like "but if I use public transport do I have to pretend to be unable to stand, or do I get up so it's faster and I take less space but risk being screamed at?"

I hate that ableism has to be such a huge concern in the lives of disabled people. Honestly my chronic pain affects my mental health way less than ableist doctors and ableist systems etc.

@saffron I hope it turns out to have a similarly positive impact for you as you don't find it's too hampered by physical constraints.
You could try starting out with what makes you feel most comfortable with or avoids potential conflict you'd dread most and go from there.
I don't know what it's like where you are but hopefully it's not quite so tense

@sophia I had never really thought of it like that. Your text made me challenge my own perceptions, thank you.

@eldelacajita Thank you for reading and being open to understanding!

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@sophia thanks for these thoughts and explanations

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