Labels and How They Negatively Affect People with Disabilities

Ugh, I hate labels. 

First, you are seeing the world for the very first time labeled as a girl or a boy, you are labeled if you are born to a married family or a single mother. Statistics show that those with single mothers will become single mothers and those who with married parents will become something so much greater. 

I am a woman, therefore I am labeled as emotional, crazy, sometimes irrational. I am labeled as, “oh you MUST be PMSing because that attitude gurl” not because of some heinous comment that has just been made about my body. 

I am labeled as a “broken child” because “Aw, poor thing doesn’t have a father,” though I’m 100% certain I became a better person and more successful than I would have ever turned out to be if I would have had my father in my life, yikes. 

I am labeled as disabled. 

People who are disabled have this weird label slapped on their foreheads that cause “abled-body” people to think that even the most mundane actions that a person like me (bilateral amputee) need to be praised. You will never understand just how many times someone approaches me and says, “Wow, you really know what you’re doing, great job!” As I am bagging up my groceries in the self-checkout line. Unless of course, you are like me, and then I am sure you get that all the time as well. 

I understand that the persona that I give off with writing my blogs and posting on social media might show that amputees are able to do an infinity of things, but that is for amputees who don’t believe that they can. Not for ableism… This isn’t inspiration porn for the average joe. It’s for the new amputees who don’t think they would ever be able to do the things that they used to, before amputation. 

When in reality, they can do all of that plus things that they never even thought about doing prior to amputation. I mean rock-climbing REALLY with no legs?!? I know I can do it, and perhaps, if you want to, you can do it too. 

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the good intentions behind the comments and compliments. It’s that I have to acknowledge that I am an amputee every single day as soon as I wake up in the morning right up until I close my eyes at night. I don’t need my disability to be the very thing that defines me or who I am always. Some people may be having a rough time, Lord knows I do sometimes, and the last thing that they need is to be defined by their disability, or their gender, or their social status. 

At the end of the day, none of that matters anyway.