Look Down: I'm in the Wheelchair

7 years ago

I didn't send out our Holiday cards this year. There were about 400 million reasons, from my hand cramping while trying to write your address to me just being lazy. But I'm sort of mad I didn't, because I need you to see me. See me as I am. As I am, right now, if I need to do anything that would require more than a walk around the block.

I need you to see me in a wheelchair.

Merry Christmas

We haven't purchased one. I don't use it on a daily basis. But more and more often, I'm finding myself using one. And I need you to see me.

I need you to see me, because when I'm in this chair, and my husband is pushing, and my daughter is riding on the back and my son is holding the arm on its side- you don't see me.

You walk right in front of me, causing my husband to quickly slow down so he doesn't run into your legs. You bump into the side of me, while I look at a map. You knock over my kids' very first Butterbeer at Universal Studios Orlando because you didn't seem to notice the woman in a wheelchair sitting in the shade, laughing with her children.

You even fail to say sorry when you cut me off as I am using all my might to wheel myself through a store and you rudely lean against the wheels not noticing there's someone IN THE CHAIR.

I realize many of you are simply looking forward. Walking. Walking in a crowd and looking straight ahead and not looking down.

You don't see me.

I'm shorter than my son sitting in this chair. So I find it funny you don't seem to trip into him, yet can totally slam into me without notice, but maybe it's because I'm not making as much noise as a child. Hmmm.

Then, of course, there are those of you that do see me.

You've given me dirty looks, wondering why this large woman with no visible illness was being pushed to the front of the line. Of course having no idea if she was just being lazy, or if she...say, has had multiple organs removed from a disorder that is ravaging her body and has gained weight from a very, very high dose of steroids to save her life. We know you just assume I'm lazy...but let's just pretend it's the other reason.

You've also kindly held a door for me. And have looked me in the eye as you pass. Some of you have even smiled. For that, I thank you.

Which is why I need you to see me...because too many of you don't.

Social Media Strategist  Erin Kotecki Vest

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