If you like people with disabilities, boy howdy you’ll love the heck out of me… all kidding aside, I have a lot of disabilities and I am infinitely thankful for people putting up with them when they do. I am legally blind to start off, my left eye is completely blind and my right eye has 15% vision in it, while I am also hard of hearing with a 70% hearing loss. I have a spinal injury from a car wreck, alongside Ankylosing Spondylitis as well. I have multiple TBIs from various eras in my life, along with a small steel plate in the back of my skull, I tend to be forgetful at times, even forgetting birthdays and special occasions.
Sometimes I see the frustration when talking with someone and me saying “what,” more than the rapper Lil’ Jon. I see the eye rolls, the huff in their breath, and trust me, it’s difficult and frustrating for me as well. I see the frustration on the face of some pointing and saying “right there,” over and over, but I can’t see what they’re pointing at, it’s frustrating for me too. I see the angered looks I get when I sit in the front of the bus so I don’t have to walk far to the door, even when a woman with kids or someone older steps onto the bus. Trust me, walking too much in a day, especially on a moving bus shifting back and forth, will leave me unable to walk sometimes for days, it pisses me off too.
Then, there are true angels among us, such as at our synagogue Rodeph Shalom, who have large print prayer books (Siddur) and headphones for services to help the hearing impaired. No one there treats me like a burden or gets frustrated at me because of things out of my control, and I honestly love them for that (and because they help so much in my learning and growing). I don’t look handicapped, I don’t look like I have any disabilities to the naked eye, and I function pretty well for all that’s wrong with me, this is due to years of figuring out constructive workarounds to get through life.
I wish I could see, hear, and walk like I once did; I wish I didn’t have the issues I have, but if wishes were fishes we’d all be fat and full!
My disabilities frustrate people sometimes, but they frustrate me all of the time lol I have to live with them and struggle to do the most normal and basic of things people do in life or find creative workarounds to do them. When I hear new music, I have to consciously isolate each sound, then hear them together, this sometimes requires a few listens of the same song to make out all of the pieces, plus I’ll need lyrics to go with it. When I paint, I have the entire piece worked out in my mind, then have to see each brushstroke I make in my head, as I lay the brush down, hoping it’s as I see it in my head. Even in my home, I have to memorize where things are so that I don’t have to step so cautiously around taking forever to get from one end of the house to the other.
So to those who deal with me regularly, those whom I meet and who treat me with kindness and don’t allow my disabilities to frustrate them… I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depth of my soul.