Thursday, August 24, 2017

My F**king Home

I love my new home.

There are a number of reasons I'm happy there but chief amongst them is the fact that, for the first time since becoming disabled, I am in an accessible apartment. The amount of freedom and independence that I've gained is immeasurable. I feel for the first time in 12 years that I can fully relax in my own home. There are no words to tell you what that feels like.

So ...

Understanding that, listen to this ...

A visitor to my home was commenting on the place. This visitor is non-disabled and is typically quite a polite person. In conversation about the rooms and the paint jobs and the artwork on the walls they said something like, "The only thing is that the bathroom is really quite institutional, you know, really medical."

I was thunderstruck.

All I said was that I liked it. No witty comeback, just a defensive, and slightly pathetic, statement.

Later, it angered me.

I'm tired of disabled lives being evaluated by non-disabled standards.

The person who made this remark has a home that I can't even fucking enter. It's completely and totally, and from every perspective, inaccessible. Yet they feel they can make a remark about something that makes my home HOME!

What does a non-disabled person even understand about the word 'institutional'? A word that justifiably sends shivers down the spine of those of us with disabilities. A word that has a history of hurt behind it. A word that has been used to subjugate and separate us. What do they know about what that means?

Why do non-disabled professionals get to tell people with disabilities about how our homes should look, how our lives should look, how our relationships should look?

Why do standards for our housing and our inclusion and our relationships get to be set by people 'understand' our disability when they clearly place rolling under standing?

I don't have an institutional bathroom.

I have a lovely accessible bathroom painted in the coolest shade of light green that you can imagine.

And if you don't like the bars around the toilet and the roll in shower or the stand assist or the cut out under the sink ... then mind your manners and shut the fuck up.

7 comments:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

I'm glad you now have bars around the toilet and the roll in shower or the stand assist or the cut out under the sink. I hope they are functional and sturdy and make it possible for you to relax in your own home.

I'm sorry you can't come into mine - even I'm having trouble now!

I hope you told your friend how secure the bathroom makes you feel - and your friend learned.

Frank_V said...

Yes, the "institute of accessibility", so horrible. WOW, talk about rude and not getting the point. If that person ever injures themselves, invite them back, and ask them what they think of your super accessible bathroom.

Susan said...

As always - thanks for the education, Dave. I have learned so much from you and just when I think I'm "there", there's a new insight, a new sensitivity, a new or re-centred perspective. Thanks yet again for helping me better, more welcoming, more inclusive, more sensitive, more wiser member of my community... <3

Shannon said...

There's a feeling people have that accessible has to mean ugly and institutional. I enjoy my accessible bathroom too. I put too much strain on a regular toilet seat transferring on and off of it, plus it's too low, so I put a commode thing over it that has arms that swing out of the way. Also have a transfer bench in the tub. If that looks medical, too bad. I also have a nice non-medical red shower curtain and red bath rug, lots of drawers and a big mirror low enough to see in and a lot of counter space and room to turn around in. Best bathroom I ever had. I wonder if your friend realized later on that he had said something insensitive.

L said...

I am so angry on your behalf! :(

I can imagine replying to him "I am sorry that you would prefer that I risk getting a concussion or a broken shoulder just to have a magazine-photoshoot bathroom!"

Liz said...

I'm furious on your behalf. It's a crying shame that the only places non-disabled people come into contact with fully accessible bathrooms are in the hospital. They ought to be everywhere.

Sherry-Lynn K said...

I don't understand ANYONE criticising someone else's home, especially when it comes to accessibility! It's rude. I hope your friend thought about it later and will come back to you at some point and apologise for their rudeness and their insensitivity.