It also has to do with a basic misunderstanding and/or disrespect of me and my ability to understand my body as a disabled person. Folks who want to question me on my use of assistive devices, and on the changing of using this or that device over time, and that is based on assumptions about the capacity of disabled folks to make decisions for ourselves, to assess our situations and act accordingly. It is an attempt to get disabled folks to fit into a very particular idea of what it is to be disabled. And if i wasn’t clear already, that is also busted.
So, i know it can be shocking and confusing, but really, me using crutches outside and sometimes not using them inside is not rocket science. If it were rocket science, at least i’d get a better income.
i need my crutches when i need to go more than say 15 feet or so, or on uneven ground, or down stair/s or any incline, or if i’m not sure where i’m going to be. Basically, if i’m out of my apartment, i’m using them. Sometimes i use them around my pad too, if i need to get up and am having a hard time, or am just extra stiff or unbalanced that day or whatever. Sometimes if i’m at a friends’ place and know i’m gonna be there awhile, and know the lay of the land, i won’t be using them, but not always. i’ll still have them with me, but may or may not use them in the house. One reason is that i have a small studio apartment, i’m only going a handful of feet at most at a time, there are things to hang onto if need be, if i stumble, i’ll deal; but if i’m outside? Whole different story. And sometimes (clearly just to keep you on your proverbial toes) i only use one! Clear as mud? Cool.
Well, after all these years, it still really freaks people out! They think they’ve stumbled onto some cure, some salve they didn’t know they’d slipped onto my back. Or they think i’m a faker and don’t really need crutches at all a-HA gotcha!!! It’s usually the latter. And that, my friends, is incredibly annoying to witness and be the target of.
If i’m at your house and i put my crutches down while i go for a pee, or if i’m at a workshop or play party or potluck or somesuch and put down my crutches for a moment, please, do not grill me about it, ok? Because A) its none of your fucking business and b) if you don’t believe A, it’s still none of your fucking business. No really, it isn’t. i know it seems like anytime someone uses a mobility device it’s fair game, but it’s not. And if you use one yourself? Yeah, still don’t grill me. We don’t have a magical connection because we both may be gimps, and i especially don’t want to be grilled in front of a bunch of other people who i wouldn’t really be having that conversation with. That just sucks.
It has to do with not living up to people’s expectations of what a “real” disabled person is all about, about the assumptions being made about who needs to use this or that kind of assistive device, and regardless of who it’s coming from, it is always based in ableist ways of perceiving disability, and (so i can continue this run on sentence to its fullest) just so you’re clear? That is seriously busted.
The reality is that gimps come in all varieties. We use all kinds of assistive devices, some of us don’t use any (gasp!), some on and off (gaspgasp!). Whatever the sitch is, it’s not cool to grill people on their use or lack of them. Unless you’re paying me those aforementioned rocket scientist wages, in which case, have at it!