With a little help from my friends

It is so nice when you are able to capture and appreciate those moments when communication is easy and fluid and clear, when there is no need to explain or justify things- because the understanding is already in place.

As it relates to living with a disability, this is not something that happens often. Whether the communication is between my brain and muscles or between myself and another person, it takes a lot of hard work to get to “easy”.

People want to help. But in their eagerness/ignorance they forget to ask how.

I get grabbed a lot – “Here, let me help you” (yank). I also get told, “Do it this way,” and sometimes I get to be invisible.

What people don’t realize:

If I need help, I WILL ask for it.

I will tell you which of my appendages need yanking, when and how to yank. I get funny looks for this all the time; “You want me to pull your leg that way? Like this? Are you sure?” – Of course I’m sure!

I can’t always do things like everyone else.

I do things a little differently. Just because it looks weird, awkward or painful doesn’t mean it is- I do it that way because it works for me.

I am a very intelligent and capable individual. 

Ruby and I recently travelled to Victoria for a few days. Now, my sister is by far the most outgoing of the two of us and I often let her take the lead on things. But occasionally this arrangement can backfire.

Because I am so quiet, and my disability is so visible, to the outsider, it could appear as though my younger sister were actually my chaperone. And there were a few awkward moments where employees at various locations spoke only to Ruby, instead of addressing the two of us equally, which startled and unnerved us both. Ruby commented: “She spoke to me. She never even looked at you, Sam.”

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