Listen to My Plea
Believe me when I say to you
This is what I need
The lives of people matter more
Than change in policy
No matter if you’re old or sick
Or like me just another crip
Listen to my plea
Because some day it could well be you
And, then where will you be?
Did you ever try to tell someone how important something is to you only to be dismissed? This happened to me a few days ago. Admittedly, I didn’t react well.
I had my first experience with a changeover to paper straws from plastic.
I know this is controversial, but straws are not a luxury for me. I can’t tip my neck back to drink. Plastic straws, in particular, are useful for both sanitary and flexibility reasons. This matters to people with disabilities like me.
Further, unlike paper straws, they don’t disintegrate. If you want to read more, I had a post sometime back called Ramps, Straws, Access, and the General Isolation of Disabled People.
Anyway, I literally watched the straw disintegrate into my drink. Because I didn’t want to aspirate paper into my lungs, which is a real problem for disabled people like me, I couldn’t drink. The kicker is that the cup, complete with cap, was disposable plastic. I ask you, which uses more?
Again, I know this is controversial. Please don’t get stuck there. Just hear me say, I need this. Mostly, I just want to be heard and believed.
Even if you disagree can we begin there? Because if we can talk, maybe we can come up with better solutions. Ones that, you know, won’t kill me or, if I’m really lucky, add great burden to my life. I already have to take a ramp and other things with me many places.
Instead, I encounter people who want to tell me what I need and why. I can say with certainty, if it mattered to nondisabled people things would be different. I’m left to conclude, I don’t matter, or matter enough.
Be careful, though, because you could be me in an instant. Any one of us could end up disabled. If you live long enough you probably will. Trust me. You’ll want things to function differently.
It’s not just straws. It’s access, it’s healthcare, it’s lots of things.
All this to say, please hear me. That’s all I’m asking.
Maybe you’ve been where I am; unheard. It’s not much fun especially when it’s someone you thought was a friend. That was my experience this time. I guess that’s my point.
Let’s listen more to each other instead of waiting to talk. It matters.
And, if you’re feeling unheard today, I’m listening.
Wherever you are this day, I hope you’ll join me in reflection as we share this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love,
“Love accepts you, no exceptions.” …Love listens too.