Being jealous of the ‘perks’ I get as a disabled person is ridiculous

It’s not easy being disabled. There are many challenges that come with it, and in some cases, the obstacles seem insurmountable. This is a privilege I have been afforded because of my disability, but it’s also something that makes me feel guilty sometimes.

The how to get over jealousy is a blog post that discusses how it’s ridiculous for people to be jealous of the perks they get as a disabled person.

‘He’s faking it,’ says the narrator… ‘He’s simply inebriated…’ ‘You don’t have anything wrong with you!’

On evenings out, when a nightclub bouncer asks whether I’d want to skip the line, I’ve heard it all. I usually accept, particularly on chilly winter nights when my muscles stiffen fast due to cerebral palsy. My energy levels quickly deplete when I have to hold myself up straight. I need to sit down and relax my legs as frequently as possible in order to survive a few hours. 

Despite my obvious handicap, individuals continue in yelling, “Get to the back of the line!” I’m quite aware that these remarks are ‘banter’ or inebriated gibberish. These days, I just laugh them off. I’m not going to let them ruin my evenings out because I, like everyone else, deserve to have a good time. I may not be able to dance as well as others or move about with as much confidence, but I still love the environment.

I’d want to be able to stand in a nightclub line and feel the anticipation for the event that lies ahead. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to. I would queue if I had ‘normal’ legs, but I don’t, therefore I will always take advantage of what others may term a ‘perk.’

Cerebral palsy is a movement-limiting disease that causes poor coordination and tight muscles, which I’ve had from birth. I also have a significant speech impairment and was born with a cleft palate and harelip, which were repaired over time via numerous surgeries. My words don’t come out clearly, despite the fact that they sound like they’re coming from my brain.

Things that are simple for non-disabled individuals are tough for me. Cooking, drinking, and buttoning up, for example, are all difficult tasks. But I find various methods to accomplish my goals. I try to avoid wearing shirts too frequently since the tiny buttons are difficult to work with. If my mother is able to cook for me (I still live with my parents), I generally make myself pre-prepared microwave meals, which is a quick and convenient method to feed myself – though I prefer my mother’s cooking. 

But the point is that I’ve had to adjust and do daily tasks differently than everyone else. It isn’t all terrible, however. As a handicapped person, you are entitled to certain ‘benefits.’ I can take advantage of these advantages by skipping lines at venues like nightclubs, theaters, and airport security, as well as having access to handicapped parking and complimentary bus and train tickets. 

But shouldn’t these items be considered ‘necessities’ rather than ‘bonuses’ in society? I’ve always had to make the most of the ‘extras,’ but it’s not because I’m a slacker. 

I’m enraged by the general public’s lack of understanding that handicapped individuals can have a social life (Picture: Gavin Clifton)

Consider that for a moment. Would I be able to defend myself if a fight broke out in a nightclub line? It’s possible that I’ll be severely injured. It would cause everyone’s flight to be delayed if I wasn’t securely led to my seat on an airplane. These safety precautions are in place not just for me, the handicapped person, but also for others.

When I was a kid, employees would escort me to the head of the line for rides at theme parks. Yes, it’s more convenient for me not to have to stand in line for hours because my legs can’t handle it. Other kids – and even adults – looking at me for leaping to the front made me feel self-conscious.

I wish people understood that standing for extended periods of time causes me anxiety in addition to the physical problems. Knowing that you have specific wants has an impact on how you feel. Worry may rapidly detract from the enjoyment of whatever social activity you’re participating in.

Now that I’m an adult, there are still times when I’m made to feel bad for using things that exist to help me enjoy life. 

I’m enraged by the general public’s lack of understanding that handicapped individuals can have a social life. My family and friends have never abandoned me and have always encouraged me to remain as active as my body allows. 

I like to believe I’m setting an example, and I’m working hard to alter people’s views. So please, if you see a handicapped person enjoying a night out with friends, a night at the theater, or a day at a theme park, congratulate them and hug them. Allow them to enjoy themselves. 

Sometimes the harshest criticism comes from the most unlikely sources. Even though they could plainly see my blue badge and physical handicap, an elderly couple once claimed that I was ‘too young’ to park in an accessible space. They said that because of their age, they were given first consideration. Despite the fact that they were not physically violent against me, no one should have to suffer the verbal abuse I was subjected to. I was astounded by how illiterate and misinformed they were.

It made me sad as well. My blue handicapped badge has been with me my whole life, and it allows my parents to get easier entry to a place on my behalf. I avoided the conflict and went away, but the thought of what could have happened if they had become violent still haunts me. What if they did it to someone who couldn’t escape? It’s concerning.

Gavin Clifton rests on a wall outside his house

People’s envy is completely illogical, and they should try walking in the shoes of a handicapped person for a day. (Photo courtesy of Gavin Clifton)

Negative discourse has been a part of my life since I was a child. Now that I’m older and wiser, I can demonstrate to others that their views don’t affect me. My parents have always taught me that by smiling and going on by, I am the larger person.

However, I want to teach young people with disabilities that they are entitled to these sorts of ‘perks,’ and that they should not be ashamed or guilty for taking use of them.

So I’ve determined to make it a point to embrace any small benefit or freebie that comes my way from now on. After all, why not? 

When you have a handicap, you face challenges on a daily basis. We are seen as burdens by society. However, as disability aids, technology, and social media progress, handicapped individuals will be able to live freely and effectively. 

So let us rejoice in the fact that individuals with disabilities can socialize. There is undoubtedly much more to be done before the UK is completely accessible, but I am hopeful that by opening up the discussion – and by individuals like myself who face these kinds of challenges on a daily basis sharing our experiences – we can help make the world a better place for everyone.

More on this: Disability

Yes, handicapped individuals like me are eligible for certain benefits. But, the next time you see someone parking in a handicapped spot at the supermarket, or being guided to the wheelchair section at a concert, and you say to yourself, “These disabled people always get the better end of the bargain,” consider how stupid and unjust you are being.

Some non-disabled individuals believe that people with disabilities are ‘getting the better of the rest of society.’ Consider how handicapped individuals must put in extra effort to arrange their daily life — things that non-disabled people never have to consider. People’s envy is completely illogical, and they should try walking in the shoes of a handicapped person for a day.

It is essential to me to live a self-sufficient, socially inclusive, and accessible existence. I like going out on my own and doing things with integrity and dignity, and these benefits are necessary tools for me to do so in a manner that is safe for everyone. 

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