Friday, 13 May 2011

Invisibility of disability

I am often told how well I look. Occasionally I am told how much better I look. I am never told how disabled I look.

None of these comments or lack of them is insulting or a problem. Except perhaps being told how much better I look. The implication is that I didn’t look well before. I didn’t but nobody likes being reminded.

I know most of the time my disability is invisible. That’s fine by me. On Wednesday night it was highly visible. In my own home. I was stuck on the settee. I knew my legs and arms worked. I was not in pain. My eyesight was okay. I just couldn’t move. This fatigue was worse than the other night when I was wearing the ECG monitor. However, it was entirely my own fault. I’d totally overdone things that day but I didn’t do one of the things I might have liked to do.

On 11 May, The Hardest Hit campaign took to the streets of central London. I wasn’t there.

Recognising that travelling to the capital city, let alone marching in it, was not necessarily a viable option for many people wishing to protest about cuts that badly affect people with disabilities, the campaign provided other ways to protest. See the website here: The Hardest Hit. And here is an article in a national newspaper: The Guardian article

There was some television coverage. It didn’t feel like there was a huge amount. Perhaps 5,000 people in attendance on a march is not so very many. Perhaps the issue was not deemed so very important. Perhaps the march was too well behaved. It appeared to me stuck at home that the invisibility of disability was being maintained.

Yesterday, no longer stuck on the settee, I wondered what other a- and i-bility words there are:- desirability, manageability, indivisibility, capability, sustainability…. Now, have I got the ability to put these words together with others to make a positive statement about living a life with disability?

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