I've been disabled, handicapped, crippled, inconvenienced (pick one you like) for 47 years with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It falls under the hierchy of Muscular Dystrophy.
The other day I was thinking about being disabled. I usually don't think about it. Frankly I doubt able bodied people think about being able bodied either because it's our normal part of life. But when you have a blog you need to come up with things to write about.
I was thinking what is the hardest part of being disabled. Using a wheelchair saves on shoes being worn down, gets you on theme park rides quicker by avoiding the waiting lines, and gets you good parking spots in front which is great on cold days. So that's not bad.
Then I thought about all the stares you get from people as they look at you because many people are clueless. I'll stare back at them because their staring at me has them heading right for a light pole, SPLAT! So that's not bad either because people walking into poles is hilarious.
Kids staring is ok too because they're curious. Many children will even ask why I'm in a wheelchair and why I look like I do. Answering them actually gives them this feeling of, "Oh ok," and they go happily on their way. Unless their mom suddenly is in horror and yanks the kid's arm and yells, "Don't stare," before crashing into the light pole.
Obviously there are physical barriers to going places. You have to call ahead to make sure you can get in a place or arrange to have five skinny armed bus boys to pick your wheelchair up the steps. Once you're in you are usually treated nicely so that's a plus.
As the years go by your physical abilities diminish and you need more help. I miss the days of being able to eat a hotdog at the ballpark with no help, throwing back five too many beers without the use of a straw, and just being able to go anywhere at a moment's notice. You make your adjustments and your friends and family help you out. Enjoying life is the goal so one can't sulk.
The hardest part of being disabled is remaining the person you molded yourself into from childhood to adult life. All of the above can destroy your will and dignity, if you let it. Going with the flow of life and making the adjustments needed is the key to being disabled.