A few days ago, I spent some one on one time with a coordinator who picked up an extra shift. For that day, we were equals working alongside each other, stuck in the same booth for six hours, which was awesome considering I see her as an aunt, offering guidance in a lot of things besides how to sell tickets.
As we were talking about my recent projects with Legally Blind Bagged and my presentation, a confession came from her that had came to me as a surprise.
“You know, I never saw you as disabled. When you came in, I thought you weren’t going to make it due to what I thought was you being picky, what booth you wanted to be in, the thing that you carry (the magnifier) and your complaints about your migraines. I never knew until one of the other managers told me. And even then, I didn’t believe it. It’s amazing that there is such a thing as a legally blind Vacation Planner. Think about it. You are doing a job most people with perfect vision can’t do because it’s too complicated to learn. Look how far you made it.”
It’s amazing to hear that someone saw me as a normal person, however it baffles me to think people when meeting me don’t know exactly what is wrong with me or what I have, let alone the thought that I would be “faking it” for attention.
I guess you can say I fall into that little line between what is normal and what is not, seeing that view from another person opened my eyes to a lot, about how being legally blind doesn’t always involve a cane and sunglasses, being medically classified as having Albinism doesn’t make my body pale or my hair always white since birth, or the PTSD I have that carries the emotional scars from years of abuse from bullying that I just can’t “get over.”
During our booth time, stories of cast members past came up, many who found ways to fake disabilities in order to stay out of the busy booths, who would cry and complain because they don’t like so and so because they are allergic to them, or they just couldn’t deal in general. A lot of theae people from what I heard were found out and either termed or left. But the fact remains that in this world, people would be sick enough to play like they have a disability to get what they want.
And it’s attitudes like those of the past that made my coordinator friend originally dislike me. The trust in people over the years got to her, as well as others from the company. Which explains why I had to jump through a ton of hoops to get to where I am.
I guess proving to the world that my disabilities are real needs more work, or I learned to “fake it” to the point where I can be as normal as possible. Whatever way one looks at my situation, I can say that I made it. I can defeat the odds against me, no matter what is thrown at me.
I have a lot of people in my corner who know of my disabilities and how they do and don’t define me as, now if only I can get others to see the same.