We live in a society where it has become customary to applaud or praise someone for reaching out to do something for citizens that are “disabled.”
My friend Mia invited me to her prom this past weekend. Mia was born with a brain tumor and has gone through surgery that has resulted in the removal of half of her brain, she underwent radiation and proton therapy. A few years ago Mia suffered a stroke due to the radiation that left her with weakness on one side of her body. I didn’t know Mia before her stroke, I’ve always known Mia with her hot pink wheelchair and her spunky drive and I love her just the way she is and wouldn’t change anything were i given the chance.
Mia invited me to go to her prom this past weekend and I was absolutely honored that she chose ME to take with on her special night. I noticed little things throughout the night though, when I helped Mia to the bathroom and I went into the stall with her to help lift her from her chair others watched. When I helped Mia cut her food they watched. When I lifted her up out of her chair so that we could dance together they watched. All of these things, the “helping” for Mia I am used to, it is not a chore to me it is an honor. Helping Mia is a privilege, making it possible for us to do exciting things together is tremendously worth every second of it. I’m so thankful my sweet friend chose ME to enjoy the evening with her.
The thing about all of this that really “shook me up” though was what followed. How I was praised for being such a “genuine soul” or such a “wonderful young lady” for assisting MY friend. I am not a superhero, I did not break walls and slash barriers, I didn’t eliminate the stigma this society has for people with “disabilities” I simply went to prom with my friend and we did what we would do anywhere else we go together we just simply did it looking like two BAD B!+€he$ (sorry mom, sorry momma Keri) because let’s be honest we slayed that dance floor.
I hope that someday I will live in a society where it is customary and normal for everyone to make the extra effort to assist those with “disabilities” so that they too may enjoy everything everyone else gets to. Maybe someday it won’t even be an extra effort to hold a door so a wheelchair may fit through, maybe it will be customary to hold a door for everyone regardless of wether they are in a chair or not.
I want to live in a world where we stop altering our approaches to people because of their abilities.
I want to live in a world where my best friend can be different than me and it not be viewed as an act of charity or an attention seeking deed.
I want to live in a world where people compliment my friend and I and look beyond our differences to see our commonalities because we have far more of those than things that seperate us.
I hope you start to make the extra effort with me in an attempt to make it no longer “extra.” I hope you join me and welcome our friends with special abilities so that they can feel included and capable of doing anything they wish.
Limitations and Pre-Perceived judgements only exist because we as a society have created them.
I am not a superhero, I am just a girl with a best friend making it possible for us to do best friend things.