I do have a facebook. And today, I watched movies on television practically all day. I can’t remember the last time I did such a thing. It’s very draining for me to watch movies, but commercials help as I can mute and rest every 10-15 minutes to avoid overstimulating my nervous system. So today, that’s what I did!
I mentioned this on facebook.
Someone replied with, “I wish I could have a lazy Saturday.”
I deleted the comment immediately.
It strongly struck a nerve with me, for this and every other time someone has said anything to the effect of, “I wish I could just do [insert something that people usually find relaxing] instead of [whatever hard “real life” thing they’re doing].”
Now, I know this person, and I know they didn’t intend anything offensive or upsetting by it, but I highly doubt they thought it through, making a comment like that to someone who is chronically ill and disabled. And I do understand it’s a normal, knee-jerk reaction from someone who is very busy and exhausted. But you just don’t say that to a group who struggle daily with finding enjoyment in part because their primary stigma is of being “lazy welfare moochers.”
It brings up every bit of elitist ableism we’ve suffered over the years that constantly tries to strenghten the divide between the sick “us” and the healthy “them”, in order to affirm the following:
You can only do “sick people” things, because real sick people don’t have any fun;
You have to prove to us that you are actually ill by acting ill;
You’re not allowed to be anything other than miserable because if you really felt so bad then you’d show it every second of the day;
I’d smile too if I “didn’t have to” work;
You are different, we are not the same, so be what I expect you to be.
It alludes to all the judgmental remarks and accusatory looks we’ve gotten when we’re seen buying a movie instead of a bottle of medicine, a chocolate bar instead of a salad, a CD instead of something “medically necessary,” or spending any small amount on something for us instead of putting it into savings; a savings which, I assure you, is only dollars a month, at best.
It alludes to all the doctors giving us strange looks when we still manage to laugh in their office; people in parking lots giving us dirty stares because we park in the handicapped spaces (with a tag!) but still don’t “look disabled enough” to be there; and the fact that the government literally spies on some during “good days” and uses that to argue a legal case that our payments need to be stopped.
So, no. Don’t say things like, “I wish your relaxation was all I had to worry about,” unless you really think being unable to function due to disabling illness 95% of your waking hours that is every so often intervened by very short moments of reprieve where you’re actually able to enjoy yourself, sounds like your idea of a vacation.
♥ a rainbow at night