While You Complain, Let Me Explain

Photo by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash

It takes a lot to get me fired up. I generally let people say what they want without inserting my thoughts and opinions. I let things roll on by and if I don’t like it, I hit the DELETE button. This week I read a post on social media that annoyed me, but I didn’t react right away. I dug into the story a bit deeper to get more details. I watched the video in question to form my own opinion and thoughts. I progressed from annoyed to angry.

As a mom of an adult daughter that uses a wheelchair, we face challenges getting to and from places often. I plan our trips around where we may be able to find a place to park. There is always some anxiety that I feel when I take Emily places. There may be disappointment that when we arrive at our destination, there may not be a place to park, and we will return home. (Daniel Defabio and I discuss this issue in detail in Episode 2 of Pain Points on The Disorder Channel.) 

The disappointment is that even if you find parking, will the aisles be wide enough? Justin and I are planning a trip to H Mart this week. I wanted to take Emily with us for a spring break field trip, and he informed me the aisles were too cluttered and narrow to accommodate her wheelchair. We will have to go when she is at her adult day program. This makes me sad.

Will there be access to a restroom large enough to fit Emily, her wheelchair, and me? Not even some ADA restrooms are accessible! That is the truth. If they are large enough, often they are occupied by able-bodied individuals who think they are entitled to the “plush stall” to conduct their business.

These are some of the struggles we’ve faced over the years, but I see change is coming. I look at the parents of children younger than Emily that are trailblazers. They are setting the world on fire with advocacy and creating awareness. I believe awareness is step one to creating change and improving accessibility. I am learning to speak up (in my 50s) and say something when I feel like the disabled community is not being seen or heard. 

This leads me to why Candace and I need to have a talk. Author, journalist, and political commentator Candace Owen decided to trash an ad campaign for SKIMS shapewear that depicted a woman in a wheelchair wearing a SKIM bra and underwear set. Before I share my thoughts, let me share her words: “I didn’t know we had to see that in our face. And now we’re going to have to look forward to campaigns where women that are in wheelchairs are now wearing bras and underwear because, we as a society, just cannot get to the bottom of our ridiculousness.” 


The mama bear in me wants to curse her out and rage on her, but the problem-solver and benefit-of-the-doubt-giver think maybe this is a teachable moment. 

  1. I believe there is a good percentage of people that agree with Candace. Before I had Emily, I would have been careless with my words and expectations of society to meet the needs of the disabled population. It is expensive to make changes that only impact part of the population, but I was wrong, and so is Candace. Over 61 million Americans have a disability. 19% of Americans have a physical or mental condition that limits them in some capacity.
  2. “I didn’t know we had to see (insert any adjective) in our face” is NEVER going to be the right thing to say. Shall I give you some examples?: black people, fat people, white men, disabled people, Chinese, Christian, Buddhist….hopefully, you are getting the message. That sentence is never going to land well. Period.
  3. This ad has been around for almost a year, and you are just getting around to blasting it? Some journalist you are.
  4. The ad is for ADAPTIVE undergarments. Do you know what that means, Candace? They are made to help those with physical limitations get in and out of them. Did you research before you went raging? Again, some journalist you are.
  5. The answer is YES. Yes. I want to see this and many more ads where the disabled are included. I wrote about this in a post last year. Candace, let me direct you to another article you can read to get some knowledge. Disability is Diversity.
  6. I do not want you to be canceled, and I do not wish you or anyone you love to end up disabled, but I hope you will learn more and open your mind to the beautiful word of disability. There is a lot of goodness there. Exposure might make you less angry and more open too. You never know. 
  7. You have a right to say whatever you like. We live in a country where you are free to spew whatever you desire. In the words of Ted Lasso, “I want you to know, I value each of your opinions, even when you’re wrong.” Because your opinion, riddled with venom and hate, was the catalyst that provoked me to speak out.

I want to live in a world where I see my daughter and her peers at the movies, football games, and the H Mart, and no one even notices. They are just peeps grabbing some ramen or watching some ball. They are included and able to enjoy the same things as everyone else. A world that includes my daughter is the only one that makes sense. Bring on that ridiculousness all day long.

Zebra Stripe Fashion
Wheelchair Using Beauty
Emily with Jacklyn Smith

Published by bshort1968

I am a self-described caregiver. I love to help and care for others. I have learned the value of caring for myself as well. Now I want to live my life helping others learn to care for others and take care of themselves as well.

4 thoughts on “While You Complain, Let Me Explain

  1. This post really hits the heartstrings for me, and I couldn’t agree with your thoughts more! 🙂 What Owen’s said was so disgusting, it was shocking and completely heartless to anyone with a disability. I’ve been a C4 quadriplegic for just over 6 years and this life has opened my eyes to so many things that I used to take for granted. She has no idea what it means to be disabled or a caregiver to a loved one living in a world meant for able body people, and trying to bring awareness to accessibility issues whenever we can, to somehow rise above stereotypes. I agree, I don’t wish for her or anyone she loves to end up disabled, but she should really spend one day in a wheelchair, and see if it changes her thoughts with the hardships we face daily.
    You gained a new blog follower today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Stacy for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate the follow!!! I did not really understand the limitations and obstacles we would face. As Emily ages (she is 22), the barriers in many areas seem to get taller. I keep hearing a voice in my head that says I must speak up more about the issues and challenges. I am working on listening to it more. With Gratitude, Billie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤️ you continue to open my eyes and heart on the challenges parent of disabled children go through day to day.
    Beautifully expressed as usual Billie.
    I hope you get an audience with Ms Candace… I don’t think she has ever monitored her own tongue or thoughts about the underserved in our communities…
    Keep writing and inspiring my friend

    Liked by 1 person

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