Firstly apologies, I haven’t written for a while mostly due to medication but also I couldn’t think of a subject. Then I had a think about all the times I’ve come into conflict with other disabled people. My reaction mostly was to tell them they should…*hastily depart..
The very first time I can remember was a school councillor sent me to a self help group of disabled people to talk about what problems I had. So I’m 16 years old everyone is older then me and all of them have different disabilities. One guy is sitting in a wheelchair he’s old and angry. I can’t remember what I said. It had something to do with an assistant dog something like that (helping hand dogs rather then guide dogs). I threw an idea to solve a problem into the group. It was met with laughter and derision. I never went back.
Later I gained some notoriety for playing indoor cricket. I had met with the Auckland cricket team and told one of their coaches about an idea I had. An indoor cricket tournament for able bodied and disabled kids. 4 AB’s 4 disabled per team. There was a softer ball used in indoor cricket. The Auckland team would supply some players to coach. The idea was to promote integration and team work. Well I had one conversation with the CCS. “What if they get hit with the ball?” “It’ll hurt.” “Ok bye”.
So my ideas for problem solving issues in the wider disabled community have not been taken to well. At that point I pretty much gave up there seemed little that I had to offer. There have been other things I’ve done that have pissed people off. Mostly unintentional which results in me being pissed off and a little depressed at times.
I once got lectured by a guy at a party for telling disabled jokes. He fell into the it’s a defence mechanism camp. It’s a popular theory. No one is ever just funny it’s all a defence mechanism these days. My own thoughts are that it allows people to relax and later ask questions about the disability. I find it better then having them stare at me paying a small amount of attention to what I’m saying because their just waiting to ask me some question they’ve had in the back of their mind the whole time.
So when did I get depressed? It was a hot day and I was walking on my cane up the road. A car pulls over and offers me a lift. I don’t know the guy and I don’t have a good vibe about it so I say no thanks. That should have been the end of it. But nooooooooooooooooo he then tells me he’s seen me around and watched me (creepy right…this is actually something I hear a lot) I shouldn’t be to proud. I should get a mobility scooter or wheelchair. I should stop trying to pretend I’m able bodied and accept my disability and make my life easier.
When I get home I am depressed as fuck. This arsehole has gotten to me at a low moment. I vented on facebook about it I was very grateful to the friends that responded. I was in a wheelchair for a very brief time it was not great and it didn’t make my life easier. It became a bit of a turning point. I have had people tell me before that I should consider a scooter or wheelchair. They don’t realise what you lose when you’re in a wheelchair.
Two things I remember from when I was on a cane. It was the first time I held a girls hand while walking. I was 23 and my friend wanted to go into a shop, she grabbed my hand and I screamed. The other thing was showering. Sorry tried showering while sitting on a stool or bench. It’s really cold and uncomfortable. I’m not giving it up.
These days I guess I can help the disabled community through my films. I can present my ideas and people can take away what they will. Disabilities are always different and present different problems. Maybe I can’t help other disabled people maybe I can just be a voice…sometimes.