Have you ever felt like people are categorizing you in a way that is not fair or even respectful to you and to others? How can we categorize someone as normal? I find it frustrating when people think that normal is everyone who doesn’t have a physical disability or they don’t show signs of any disability or disorder. 

I have always had disabilities. Not physical, but otherwise. The sad thing is that it’s not true. Because someone looks physically capable of walking, talking without a stutter, or without a chain or support people next to them, helping them walk, or helping them to say what they need to say in the moment.

I hate to come across someone and I’m with a friend who has physical disabilities. And they decide to say to me or to my friend that I am their support worker. I hate it because I’m not. I’m helping my friend because I’m being kind and I’m being a good friend. I have friends who do have physical disabilities and it’s disrespectful to me and them when someone says that I am their support worker. It’s just so frustrating and irritating that people think because I don’t have a physical disability, I’m someone else’s helper. 

The thing is that I don’t mind helping my friends and my family if they need it.  Whether it is helping them around a store or helping them get something from a shelf that they cannot reach. I’ve been taught to show people respect. I do so because I know that’s what’s right. I’ve even helped people I don’t know. Whether I’m in the store in the mall, or out anywhere. I offered to help people with taking their grocery bags from the cart that they used for shopping and get it into the Aroostook regional transportation system vehicles. I know that I don’t have to help them, but I do. I think that it’s common courtesy to show people the respect they deserve. Even when they drive me nuts. I still show respect to those who are like me and have disabilities, they’re elderly, or they may not be so nice to me.

I know that there are a lot of people like me all around the world. And some of them may not understand that they’re being disrespected by people categorizing them in a certain way. I wish that people would stop looking at physical appearances and realize that there’s more to someone than just it, Disability. 

There is a phrase that my parents taught me back when I was little and trying to understand my own disabilities. That phrase is…

“You may have disabilities. But that is not who you are. Your disabilities are a part of you, but not who you can be. You decide who you wanna be. Do not let your disabilities be your crutch. Allow yourself to be whoever you want to. Regardless, of your disabilities.”

The Speaking Up For Us (SUFU) blog contains views and opinions of each individual writer. The views and opinions expressed through these channels are purely the bloggers’ own and does not reflect the opinion of SUFU as an organization or any SUFU staff member.

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