Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Update on Progress, Change and Insult

"Sometimes one must endure the critics, the insults and the muck to enjoy the beauty. In a world where negative attitudes and physical barriers truly handicap, I as an advocate, will endure these negative barriers on a daily basis with the continued hope that others will see the beauty too." Brenda B. Parent

In 2012, I believe in Open, Honest, and Direct Communication. I have no regrets, or remorse over what I've said or how I've said it. It is the truth. If my words are seen as irrational or nonrepresentational of others who live with disabilities or those who share my passion of gardening, maybe just maybe, you should re-evaluate your attitude, your words, and put on my shoes for just one day. I bet my life that you would feel differently! I have lived as a quadriplegic with a neurogenic bladder and bowel for 28 years. Trust me, I have had to deal with a lot worse.

The best part of advocacy is making positive change. Sometimes reactions catch me off guard. I'll never forget my husband saying very loudly to two young boys in a grocery store, "Hey, stop running!" as they nearly ran into me. The father came around the corner with an adversarial tone and told my husband that he didn't need to yell at his kids. My husband simply responded with, "Your kids nearly ran into my wife." No apologies were ever made from the father or children. The kids were old enough to know better.

You can't rationalize human behavior sometimes, especially if it isn't rational. Sometimes lessons are learned, sometimes not. Most are appreciative, and it is for those that I will always speak up when I encounter anything that is simply "just wrong." Everyday within my own life, I can't escape barriers, whether they are attitudinal or physical. They are a part of my life. I am strong because I refuse to be handicapped by these barriers to my independence. Ridiculous, you say? You have no idea....

On my vacation, I chose to go to the beach that promoted access. It wasn't maintained. I cannot not see this stuff, even on vacation. With the right attitudes, equipment, and accessibility, none of this is necessary. My husband who is not getting any younger had to pull me back up this. (It's steeper than it looks.) As people get older, they'll too be very appreciative of the many advocates that do what I do.

1 comment:

  1. You are right-most people have no idea as to the barriers you face on a daily basis. All you can hope for is to open a few eyes and change a few attitudes.The stubborn and ignorant will remain so until they 'wheel a mile in your shoes' as the saying goes.