Everyday Ableism

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

I Just want to Take a Piss and Get Out

Three times just this week, I had the unfortunate need for the public restrooms in Walmart, Michaels, and Ross. Each time I went in, I had to wait to use the disability stall even though all the other stalls were not in use. The issue I had was that in each instance, it was an able-bodied person who was taking their sweet old time using it as a changing room, or a phone booth.

I know that the disability stall is bigger, but there is only one of them, and multiple regular stalls. There are several stalls for the able-bodied to choose from and just one for the disabled. I would much rather not have the need to use the disability stall, but it is what it is. I cannot fit into a regular stall with my walker, so if the big one is in use, I have to wait, which is something that everyone has to do once in a while, but there’s no need to wait that long when it’s able-bodied people using it.

Seriously, all I want to do is pee and get the hell out of the bathroom. I don’t want to use the disability stall because it’s roomier or nicer, I need the disability stall for accessibility. I didn’t choose to be disabled, and I shouldn’t have to wait for able-bodied people to get off the phone so that I can use the bathroom. For the love of God, please leave the disablity stall open for those with disabilities. I don’t think I’m more important than anyone else, I really do just want to take care of business and continue with my errands.

I’m Not Fucking Invisible

I am a fat woman, using a walker. In other words, it’s really hard to miss seeing me. Yesterday I had several skirt people, as I call them (Baptists or Pentecostals whose women only wear skirts or dresses), who descended upon the spot I was in to look at something as if I didn’t even exist. They took over the space I was occupying, but when they backed into me, they got pissy with me. This, too, is an almost everyday occurence when I’m running errands.

Many able-bodied people don’t even give me the dignity of seeing me. They feel entitled to take up the space I’m currently in. Sometimes I end up surrounded by two or three people who block me in to wherever I am, and then proceed to spend ten minutes talking to each other over the top of me. If I point out that I was there first and am too fat for them to have not seen me, apparently I’m the bitch.

One time recently that this happened to me, one of the women turned around and essentially tripped over me. She muttered oh, sorry, and continued talking to the woman she was with. I was in pain and I looked right at her and said I’ve been here the whole time, damn! I’m fat, it’s not like I’m invisible. I stomped off as much as I can with a walker, and the woman started going on about how rude I was. I had given up caring, and honestly I was crying.

I get tired of being invisible. It’s hurtful and it makes me feel all alone. My being disabled doesn’t make me any less of a human being that someone who is able-bodied. I don’t use words like “ableist” very often as I don’t think they are helpful to respectful discourse, but since I am talking about being disrespected, I’m going to use the word.

Believe it or Not, I’m Human and I Have Feelings

These common occurences, and others, such as people speeding up over the pedestrian crossing at Walmart when they see me about to go in, make me feel like I don’t matter to the world. It doesn’t take a lot to have some basic respect and to give me the dignity of being seen.

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MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis

My friends assure me that I am never boring, so hopefully you won’t be bored either.