I’ve always liked the idea that at times, it is good to walk a mile in another man’s shoes (other sexes and genders are available). And there is a particular reason why I like it. Part and parcel of having cerebral palsy is this lovely present; your feet are of entirely different sizes. My left foot is a size wider and smaller than right, the latter being unaffected by my hemiplegia.
I often think about this metaphor of shoes, when I am faced with this phenomenon , the person I’ve come to call ‘Kind but privileged person’ this is the person who doesn’t understand why I continually reference my disability, as if I could just ignore the fact that I am often verbally and physically assaulted. Just don’t talk about it they say, talk about other things, there so much more to you than your disability, adopt a positive attitude and forget it, ‘be comfortable in yourself’ , such a person exclaims cheerily.
And I suppose life would much easier if I did forget it. I probably would be happier, but it is difficult to forget that you were physically assaulted twice in the last three years and that those attackers, referred to me as a ‘cripple’ and ‘f**king scrounger’. No, that is not something with which I can get comfortable.
And this is what I am thinking about as the orthotic consultant slips a shoe on me and asks ‘Is this comfortable?’
I want to answer like this: I’ll to get back to you.