A short rant on ableism

This is a rant; a righteous rant. If you don’t like it, tough. I’m tired of being silenced, stuffed into a box. I’m tired of trying to live my life constantly surrounded by your ableism.

For two weeks now I’ve felt bookended by ableism. Comments and attitudes directed towards me, mostly by people supposed to be close to me. It’s enough, and I’ve retreated to my safe place. Except, these feelings linger. Ableism clings to me; a muck leaving a film.

Things I’ve been told in the last two weeks:1. So-called non-disabled experts know what is best for disabled people.2. Disabled people have low expectations for fellow disabled people.3. Ignoring a person’s disability/health conditions is necessary at times to achieve functionality.4. Using a shock collar is a viable tool to keep autistic kids from running off.

I’ve tried yoga, meditation, books, movies, time with my kids in an attempt to recalibrate. My body feels a constant vibration buzzing around me regardless what I do. A tuning fork that can’t find its pitch.

Non-disabled people don’t understand how stifling and demoralizing their ableism is. How heavy it is. Oppressive weight dragging us down. It’s at a point for me where I no longer want to leave the house.

I worry what my kids are absorbing. My nine-year-old is proud of his autism and ADHD. He announces it to every person we encounter, heralding it with glee.

But I know this weight will eventually find him. I hate this. I hate that I can’t protect him from ableism.

I want to scream and scream and scream and scream. Rage against it all. But I’m told to calm down, be nice, pleasant. A disabled woman voicing her opinions and thoughts? We can’t have that.

Why can you stifle me with your ableism, but I can’t call you out on it? It’s not my job to make you comfortable with disability. It’s my job to live my life without the constant barricade of your ableism.

By Imperfection

Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter is a mom and writer from Omaha, Nebraska but recently relocated to Urbandale, IA. When she’s not chasing children, picking up messes or reorganizing the house, she enjoys yoga or reading to relax. In her spare time (A.K.A. her dreams) she’s a Broadway star. Kuenning-Pollpeter is a freelance marketer during the day, a creative writer at night. Her work has appeared in the Brevity blog, The Omaha World Herald, 13th Floor, Misbehaving Nebraskans, Hippocampus, Emerging Nebraska Writers and Random Sample Review. She has her BFA and MFA in writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her essay “The Body” was a McKenna Fellowship finalist, and her essay “Imperfection” was a 2020 Best of the Net Nominee. She is blind and writes frequently about disability. She’s working on a memoir about the disabled feminine experience. With the kids though, expect it in stores in about a decade.

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