Look, I will admit, I exaggerate my limp when I go to places and park with the handicapped sign. It’s a habit I’ve gotten into, because particularly in large stores, I have to use the “mart carts” because I can’t walk for the full hour it requires to do all of my grocery shopping. I don’t have my own, because there really isn’t a need for 3 signs in the car (my parents have one, and both my sister and I qualify for one).
But, I exaggerate my limp because people are assholes.
I can walk with a less visible limp, but the reality is – when I do, I get judged just like this woman did.
And, as an overweight person, I don’t get notes – I get confronted by assholes. I get some jackass walking up to me and telling me if I wasn’t such a lazy fat bitch, I wouldn’t need a mart cart or a handicapped sign. I work very hard to build my endurance, but the shooting pains in my ankles when I over-do, and the impossibility of being able to sleep when I over-do means I have to be aware of exactly how much I’m doing. And it’s hard when the cashier over-fills my bags, because the arthritis in my back means I’m limited to a total of 20 lbs as the upper limit of what I can carry. Think about that. 20 pounds of weight is a ream of paper (500 sheets of paper to 1 ream). It’s also equivalent to 2 gallons of milk, and 2.4 pounds of butter. And a 24 pack of soda is actually just slightly OVER 20 pounds.
Without the exaggerated limp, I get complete strangers lecturing me about handicapped areas (and not just handicapped people). Because I’m less handicapped than others, I do my best to choose to park in the spots that are further away, so that people who are MORE handicapped than I am are ensured a better spot.
Not that that stops idiots from parking there with the motor running because “their wife just ran in quick for something.” You know, when I have a stop like that, I park up by the doors, but out of the way of traffic (both walking traffic and vehicle traffic) – NOT in handicapped zones.
And I’m not the only person who gets judged. How about that woman in her 20s who has a heart problem, and can’t walk more than 20 feet. Or the man who can’t drive because his mental illness means he has random hallucinations? Or the teenager who was born with fragile bones, and can break an ankle just stumbling over their own two feet?
Handicaps are not just a limited list. It’s not just about paralysis, and blindness and deafness. And just because someone is different than you are doesn’t mean that they are better or worse than you.