Walmart

I had a strangeness at Walmart today. It was a myriad of experiences with a temporary worker, who challenges my brain function in a negative way. Otherwise she is a good carer. She asks questions we just are not quite compatible as my brain cannot function around her constant babble. First I learned that you can in fact make them go get more gluten free things, and while I waited for someone to do that I noticed the symbol of a purple heart on a hat. I turned to do my habitual thanking and spoke with the man for a moment. He was surprised and then smiled at me and said he had not expected thanks and it has been seventy years just about since he enlisted, to fight Hitler. He was proud of his service and he is in fact proud of what the people of this country have become, over all. Not our politicians but I have yet to meet even a politician who likes politicians. It was a surreal moment as I realized that he fought in a war so long ago that I only know one person who was alive then. His happiness with my gratidude and the smile were well worth my nervousness in pointing out I saw it. The purple-heart meaning he was injured meant it was more important that I thank him.

In my shopping I always cross paths with strange characters or people who just jump out at me visually. A woman in a beautiful sparkling sweater with a Hajib looked over the meats at the same moment. I complimented her sweater, her daughter translated and I thanked her daughter for that. They were surprised by this. I thought that this post would only entail at that moment my little moment of wonder at our aging warriors, as my brain tumbled over my wanting to share that I met a real hero. I was almost finished with my shopping, hunting down an elusive cheese (which I never did find) when the woman and her daughter returned and flagged me and my tempcarer down. They were in a panic because her ride home had vanished, they had only EBT and they were stranded. They needed help and this is where the Government housed them, as refugees from the Iraq war.

I had no expectation of this adventure and my tempcarer was surprised when I stopped to help them. They asked for a ride home which was impossible and a terrifying concept to me not because I am such a quarrelsome creature or my allergies but because this is something they have done before. So we made calls. We tried every option before calling of all places the Mormons that had given them their book. I even had to call the police. I felt terrible doing this. Then the girl mentioned her mother has qualified for a carer. I wrote down resources, and then we had to finish our shopping.

I felt guilt I could not help them and their relief that I helped was amazing. The gratitude. I talked to them both a while and they wanted to hug me, which I could not do for them but in the end they got a ride. Still it made me wonder how they got here, how they will adapt. What resources do people have. I literally just got home and am writing this and I do not know, but I wonder. I find it a horrifying thing they have no transport and I cannot imagine the fear they feel. What it must take to leave your entire culture behind. I found them brave, and yet desperate. It is their desperation that leaves me hoping I meet them again.

Walmart is always an adventure for me, I get overloaded between false alarm fire alarms, the people and shopping and yet this was more an adventure than the norm. I did get a bit of an allergic reaction but it was worth stopping my day to help people. My tempcarer is rushing right now to put all the things I got away. No toys even, I just stocked up on food. I feel a strange sorrow that I cannot do more, that I cannot know them more intimately but it is not an option at this time. So I will wonder and I can hope that we meet again. I gave them resources they did not know, and I see a young girl with many burdens and I wonder who she will become.

Normally I expect to bring home food, not questions about the shape of the universe and the scheme of things. Quite the load of shopping today!

Just Die Already

Tonight while shopping for clothing at the Thrift Store I had two experiences, one uplifting the other utterly depressing. Lets start with the depressing one, that way we can end our time together on a happy note. I was told to just die.

I was struggling to check the size of this really sexy green dress, alas it was too small or I would own said sexy green dress. I asked for help from the employee nearest me and while she was great, the hispanic man sitting on a couch chewing his cud looked up and said, “You can’t do it yourself? Just give up and die.” He said this without blinking and just resumed staring off into space. The poor employee fled, she wasn’t sure how to handle this and likely could tell I was about to go KABOOM. Few things make me want to yell, but being devalued as a person who should just die? I had to ask why.

“Why would you say that?”
“Life ain’t worth living if you can’t walk. You have to be sad, so just give in and die.”
I ranted, in the store, and half expected my significant other to come and ask why I was so pissed. I did not yell, or he would have. I haven’t told him yet either. I want to make sure the man is gone so he doesn’t get beaten down by my man.

How do you respond when someone devalues you to the point of declaring that you should be dead? I get angry. I told him this. My legs may fail, but, I have the energy to shop, sing, and actually contribute to society because of my wheelchair. I am happy, I have great sex, and every reason to live that he does, maybe more. I managed to not cuss, trying to remind myself I have to set an example.

I also asked this man if he had forgotten about Hitler or just wanted to sound like his best friend. I am not stupid, I am not weak. I am full of fire and the spice of life. I am a person. I have every right to live, just as the young man who followed me around that store with Downs Syndrome does. I asked the man too, why he was sitting on the couch wasting aisle space, since I might need to roll past him eventually. “My feet are tired.” That was when I smiled coldly, and snapped out, “Mine aren’t. I think I am going to go and look at shoes, since mine won’t get worn out. Sorry your feet are tired and you want to die, but I can go eight miles per hour on this thing, I can go back to the future.” I went then and found my caregiver.

Could I have handled that better? Probably. I have issues with being told to just die. My father spent my entire childhood making sure I thought death was the easy way out. I am also feeling a bit depressed due to the acceptance stages of new disability and a side effect of wanting to confront my mother, but not being able to do so. I am aware eventually she will read my blog, but I plan to talk to her before I give her the URL.

Some of you may comment that the disabled having nothing to do with Hitler. Sorry, but it wasn’t just the Jews who were killed. Disabled people, persons who were not just white but of mixed race. Disabled people, persons with even manic depression, and sometimes someone who pissed the Reich off were all labelled. One of the many labels I would’ve worn in the concentration camp was Blod or German for stupid. A black square with white letters. I never will forget, neither should you. Yes, genocide is horrible, but, trying to eradicate disability or assuming that all disabled people are second class citizens? This is just as horrid. I am afraid of the future, I am afraid that assisted suicide will become legal, and that more pressure will be put on the disabled.

This happened after my uplifting moment, but I am excited about that. I was in another store, hanging on tightly to this high fashion top that was going to run me four dollars. It’s in style right now, my size, four dollars, and not puce! I had to have it. My rental scooter started bucking like a Bronco. I lost total control over it and almost ran through a window. A man in a wheelchair blocked my exit point with his body, thankfully neither of us was hurt. I looked up and I recognized him from the Veteran’s Shelter I used to volunteer at. This shelter is just for the disabled veteran. He has grown in health and was looking so happy. He did not recognize me. I thanked him for his service to our country and for saving me.

He expressed gratitude at my understanding the sacrifice. He became a para when he took a bullet in his spine for this country. He expressed his frustration at seeing any other person, especially a young person in a chair. We talked, and I told him I sacrificed my spine for children. We communed in the honor of life itself. He told me it was good to see someone who wasn’t down about their chair. He’s in a nursing home because he cannot care for himself and although home health care would likely be enough, Medicare denied him this. We exchanged information, and I hope to help him go home again. He fought so hard before for his home. I think he recognized my name, but, that does not matter. What matters is that he exuded strength, saftey, and honor.

He honored me by risking pain to protect me. I am grateful for that, how can I begrudge someone a sacrifice? I focused on this man when I wanted to lose my temper with the second fellow. I know better than to yell, but, it would have felt good. There are so many times when I am told I am a second class citizen. I am first class. My significant other tells me he loves me because I am a Lady, not just a woman, but a Lady of the highest degree. He reminds me why I must maintain my dignity, and he does not see it as shameful for me to cry.

I am going to live a long time. I must, because I have so much to offer this world. Bicycles are much like wheelchairs too. They have two wheels, they ambulate for you, leading you towards a destination. The only difference is wheelchairs come inside and are differently shaped. You say our tires are dirty, I say so are your shoes. You say we make the aisles wide, an inconvenience for you who wants to over stuff your shop. I say, aesthetics. You say I am a burden to society because I am currently not working. I say society and it’s bigotry is a burden to me. I should not be assaulted when I go out because of my wheelchair.

Today is also the first time in a long time I looked at clothing that will show off my magnificent bosom. I have more than ample cleavage, and, I am done hiding every bit of it just to comfort people who expect every woman to be shaped like a hanger.

I am done with self slut shaming, and I am done with conforming to stereotypical fatty clothing. I am fat, but, I am also gorgeous. How can a person who is happy be anything else?

Do you deserve to live? I agree, you definitely do. Lets live on together in our high fashion and accessible world.

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