Pink walking sticks fighting for inclusion
It is cool to walk on crutches with a cast on your leg. People always assume you have a good story about how you ended up in it.
I walked with a cast for a few months on my left leg, from my ankle to just under my groin. This period was followed by a few years of using crutches non-stop. I got colourful cast coverings and pink crutches to make this dark period bearable. I was determined to stay positive.
Occasionally I had to use a wheelchair. A new world appeared. As an immigrant, I always felt that I was on the outside looking in. I realised that the battle for inclusion was not only for people of colour. Living with a disability meant that some people would treat you as stupid. People who talked loudly as if I was deaf, not cripple. Then inevitably, misplaced pity followed as they automatically assumed that life was not so good because of what I could not do.
My walking sticks are not the handicap. Access is!
Whilst there were moments of frustration and sadness as I fought to learn how to walk again, I had lots of fun finding out how fast and agile I could be on my crutches. There was, however, real anger and lots of frustration when the realisation hit that most of my favourite hangouts were not easily accessible on crutches or by wheelchair. I was automatically excluded through no fault of my own, again.
I was lucky as my family and friends made sure I didn't miss out on events, even if they had to carry me (at 5'2" and slim built at the time, they found it easy to do). But not everybody is this lucky. Imagine if it was you on the outside looking in. Would you get bitter? Angry? Would you fight, or would you give up? And now you know how it feels; what are you doing to ensure this exclusion does not happen on your watch?