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You’re in a party of six who walks in to a restaurant.
Everyone else is directly addressed,
But when it’s time to place your order, your companion is asked what you would like.
Is this OK with you?

You go to a big sporting or concert event;
There are only a handful of seats available to you, even if the rest of the venue has plenty of tickets for sale.
If you’re really unlucky, the only seats you can get are ones where you can’t see clearly or hear well.
You’re told that these are the only seats specially designed for people like you.
Is this OK with you?

You sign up for a course in an activity you enjoy,
And you are told it’s just “too hard” or “too complicated” to accommodate your participation.
But no one asked what, if any, accommodations are necessary.
Is this OK with you?

You apply for a job with a perfect resume, and get called for an interview.
Your qualifications, skills, and education are briefly discussed, and the rest of the interview feels like you’re having to defend yourself.
You have done nothing wrong, but you walk out the door feeling like you’ve been judged and found guilty.
You get a rejection email or phone call, if you’re lucky; you hear nothing if you’re not.
And sometimes, you’re told it’s because you’re just too much of a hassle.
They don’t put it that way, but that’s what the silences say between their words.
Is this OK with you?

You’re told that you’re not working/able to work because you’re just not trying hard enough.
You don’t have the heart to reply that you’ve had three interviews this month that went badly.
Or that you “wasted your time” by taking care of yourself and your family, volunteering in your community, attending school…
But you should just “keep on trucking” and “keep your chin up,” because that perfect job will come along.
And if it doesn’t, it must be something you’re doing, and you’re “a drain on the system.”
Is this OK with you?

You’re told that your symptoms are all in your head,
That you should just think positively, or do more yoga, or eat better,
And then you’ll be ALL right.
Is this OK with you?

You walk in to a grocery store to buy a quart of milk,
And are loudly demanded to show your ID, leave your medical equipment outside, or get out of the store.
You’re the only person being singled out like this.
Is this OK with you?

Someone stops you on the street and asks if they can pray for you.
They don’t ask what you need or want prayer for; they just pray for the most immediately obvious things.
Then they go on their merry way, asking you to be blessed, and you go your way and feel empty inside.
Is this OK with you?

You’re on your way to run an errand and are stopped by a stranger.
You’re told how inspirational you are for getting out of bed in the morning,
That they would kill themselves if they lived your life.
Is this OK with you?

You’re told that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Except this, and that, and that other thing.
Those would be too hard for you.
No one asked what you thought.
Is this OK with you?

At family gatherings, you’re told that it’s a good thing you are single.
If you have a child, it might “turn out like you.”
If you don’t want children, it’s “completely understandable.”
But when are your siblings/cousins marrying and having babies?
Is this OK with you?

You’re told to accept any attention you get,
Even if it’s negative, detrimental, or not desired.

Even if it’s against all social propriety, against your own wishes… people just “want to help” and you need to suck it up and let them feel good about themselves.
You should be grateful people want to connect with you at all.
Is this OK with you?

You’re told not to let the “little things” get to you,
To give people the benefit of the doubt because they just don’t know how to talk to you.
Is this OK with you?

I – and people I know and love – have lived all of these scenarios and more.
Some of us call ourselves “disabled people.”
Others prefer to be called “people with disabilities.”
even in this small way, we are frequently told how we should refer to ourselves.
And – in all these ways big and small – it’s not OK with us.
It’s not OK with me.

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