Ableism and Covered Up Curb Cuts

Been feeling low level depression since the election, and it hasn’t let up much upon reflection and 3 and a half weeks past Inauguration, #WomensMarch and new administration took helm and held our rapt attention. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a pen move so fast across paper akin to a mad dash to sign the most Executive Orders in as many days as Leader of the “Free” World. These EO’s could negatively impact many from marginalized populations.

My dad, born and raised in Greenwood, Mississippi and who lived through “Jim Crow” says “you ain’t seen nothing yet, get ready.” I cringe and knots form in my stomach.

I woke the other morning and recalled a time many years ago of being stuck seeking access to the sidewalk because of a snow-covered curb cut. I remembered searching frantically while simultaneously trying to not call too much attention to myself. It was a cold typical New England winter weather day and I’d just finished class at a local college, drove home and parked only to begin walking and panic because the grounds crew in the condo complex where I lived plowed without thinking someone with a disability might need a clear path onto the sidewalk.

This is what ableism is, and policies that exclude and malign marginalized folks, multiply-marginalized feel like..stuck at a covered up curb cut in a state of panic while trying to keep it together. This is what trying to keep yourself gathered while trying to not fall apart feels like..searching for a way in and some semblance of peace of mind.

So I stood there, one leg perched on the sidewalk and the other slightly behind me and I pushed off hoping not to slide and fall. These were days prior to using mobility aids and I desperately wanted a grab bar/railing to manifest out of thin air or snap my fingers and be instantly teleported to destination without any undue stress.

I made it safely onto the sidewalk that day and walked gingerly down to my door and once inside sank deep into the couch- where it was safe to fall apart. There I could plop down and plot how to move with some assurance while navigating tough terrain. But first, I cried and I couldn’t spend too long doing that either since I had a child that needed tending. The first of many times I would be re-centered by the reminder of being a parent and little eyes internalizing every move.

Resigned, I’m reminded presently to practice staying centered and measure risk-taking while muttering to self swears, prayers, and affirmations…through this season and through out this administration. Hoping that bracing for days of chaos and calls for calm are few and far-between and become a figment of the imagination. Less anxiety and shallow breaths that ride shotgun with headaches agreeing to indefinite breaks. The kind that siphons the energy supply, sabotages self-esteem, and demean your sense of well-being.

Lighter note, I’m awaiting my GS cookies and finding comfort through self-care and fellowship with sisterfriends! Joy still exists.



4 thoughts on “Ableism and Covered Up Curb Cuts

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