Proving people wrong
One of the things that comes along with having a physical disability is people's assumptions. People often assume that anyone with a disability has no social life, no way of being independent, and is incapable of working or going to school. These are only a few of the many insane assumptions that I have personally experienced as a disabled person.
People should never assume anything about disabled people. But they do. Unfortunately. Side note: nine out of ten times, the assumption is incorrect. As a disclaimer, this blog post is about my own personal experience with assumptions. Not all disabled people feel the exact same way I do. We all have a right to our own opinions and feelings.
Other people's assumptions add a lot of stress and frustration to my life. I already feel a lot of pressure from society to fit in. Adding another layer of stress from people's assumptions only adds more pressure to conform myself into something I'm not and don't really want to be.
It took me a long time to realize that people's assumptions are one of the main reasons that I feel so emotionally exhausted all the time. I let their assumptions get in my head and dictate how I live my life. Rather than listen to my own body and what I want to do, I get lost in people's assumptions and end up doing everything those people assume I can't.
I know I'm doing a lot of rambling here so let me go through some examples.
Assumption #1 - Disabled people don't have a social life.
Okay then, I am going to go to every party and social event I can. Forget that sometimes I don't want to go and would rather do something else.
Assumption #2 - Disabled people have no way of being independent.
Alright, I'm going to make an effort to be as independent as possible WITH EVERYTHING and never ask for help doing something that "normal" people would do without help. Never mind that sometimes I am tired and it is easier to ask for help than trying to do something I'm too tired to do.
Assumption #3 - Disabled people are incapable of working or going to school.
Well then I'm going to work to the point of exhaustion to make excellent grades and take a full load every single semester. It doesn't matter that it would be smarter to take it slow and not expect perfection in every class.
I hope those examples made it a little easier to understand.
I spend so much energy worrying about proving people wrong that I end up doing things I don't want to do and forgetting to prioritize my own physical and mental health. This took me a LONG time to realize. Sure, I struggled with the normal middle/high school comparison that everyone does, but this is a different kind of comparison that I never noticed until it got to be too much to handle. Comparison against assumptions.
I sincerely hope that this resonated with my fellow disabled people reading this. I hope you feel validated and know that you're not alone. Please remember to prioritize yourself and the only judgement that matters is YOURS.