You know, I can recall the first time someone ever called me a cripple. It was back in junior year of high school when I first started to use my crutches, and my limp became more prominent. We were all joking, and I really didn’t know what was going on with my joints and so I laughed it off and continued on with my day, not paying too much attention to the light insult. As the junior year progressed, I later moved into a wheelchair which was a lot easier on my joints and made getting around and doing things much easier and comfortable.
I, of course, found the root cause of my joint pain, and chronic pain. (EDS and joint damage to the long ends of my joints) I continued to use my wheelchair for the remainder of my senior year of high school, at the same time I had a few kids at school who weren’t very fond of me. I learned that people were calling me a “cripple” among other things. I was sitting at lunch one day, with a few friends and we were sitting next to another group of people that intermingled with my group of friends. I had gotten up out of my chair to go and get another item from the lunch line, I came back and this blond girl was snickering and pointing at me. It was pretty hurtful, I asked a good friend of mine who I will just call Lexi for privacy reasons. She told me the blond had said that the way I walked was penguin like and really hilarious and that she’s glad she didn’t walk the way I did.
I’m in college now, and I still use the black manual wheelchair that pulls to the left a few days a week. It’s not the worst thing in the world, it gets me through the day, and allows me to be mostly pain free. I’ve had a few surgeries since junior year, including a double hip replacement, (which news-flash hurts like the dickens for a good six weeks after surgery). I’ve moved passed high school for the most part, occasionally I’ll hear the crippled insult roll off someone’s cell phone, or catch it from a friend. The comments still hurt, to be told that I’m a crippled, or that the way I walk is ‘just hilarious’ or ‘gosh, I’d about die if I had to be in a wheelchair’. I’ve even been called a ‘crippled slut’, that personally, hit hard and I really did cry. I’ll admit, I cried like a baby when I heard that one. I got over it though, I got over myself because there’s not a damn thing I can do, I could wallow in my room and decide write red x’s through her photos in the year book, curse her name till the cows come home. But that wouldn’t change that she said it, it wouldn’t change that she was so insecure that she felt the need to slam me in such a way that is lower than low.
So she gets to walk normal, so what. I’ve grown mentally from the experience, and lets be honest, penguins are super cute. The girl and her group of friends are left in high school, and I’m rolling somewhere better, hopefully a place that’s warm and has a beach.