A while ago, I posted about the power this condition apparently gives me to read clinical reports by telepathy (you know, the way doctors assume that you have no need ever to see the report of your latest test or assessment). Today, I have discovered a new superpower. It isn't just my illness that is "invisible", it's *me*!
Being an awkward cuss, I have always been partial to a demonstration or protest. This illness has made it difficult to get to any direct actions and this has been a great disappointment. Today, though, the action came to me, with a march on my local high street. Exciting!
Turns out that marches are not mobility scooter-friendly. Within seconds of joining the column, I found myself overtaken by literally everyone, so I ended up trailing at the back, behind everyone else. When we stopped for speeches I hoped to catch up and chat with some friendly faces. But no luck. Everyone stood to face the speakers, and again I found myself staring at a wall of backs.
As we broke up, I hoped for a couple of informal chats. But of course, in a mobility scooter, it's impossible to weave one's way through a crowd and join the little knot of people one recognises. You have to hope they will come to you - and that requires you to be visible!
So I sat there, evidently invisible, for half an hour and then scooted home.
There's nothing in this experience that other disabled people aren't entirely familiar with, of course. But until things change, it's a point worth repeating. It's all very well saying that you are inclusive and anti-discriminatory and all that. But for it to mean anything, you have to make a deliberate effort and DO something to include the invisible amongst us.
Can I hear an "AMEN"?