As a person with Cerebral Palsy I’ve experienced ableism as far back as I can remember. At school, I was held to a different standard than my peers. People wanted me to make friends as well.
They seemed puzzled when I sat by myself in the cafeteria. There was always a concern that I’d be lonely. I didn’t want to be someone’s friend because it made them look good. I didn’t play sports which were a big deal in high school.
After middle school, I didn’t form any friendships with my peers. It’s been years since I had a friend my own age. Forcing me to make friends had the opposite effect. I became more introverted.
In my adulthood, I’ve discovered that society doesn’t have high expectations for disabled adults. I have wanted to work since I turned 19. Employers don’t want to hire someone who is disabled. Equal Employment Opportunity is the law here in America. It needs to be more than just a law, it must be widely practiced. I have received too many rejections to count. Each one, makes me feel worthless.
Ableism makes me question my worth. I know that I’ll never have all of the same opportunities as non-disabled people. It’s 2022, and I can’t legally marry. Ableism is harder to deal with sometimes than CP itself.