One of the questions I get asked the most, especially when I am out in public, at a store or a restaurant, is “How can I help you?” “Are you finding everything okay?” or “Is there anything I can get for you?”
Now, that’s a legitimate question, that everyone should be asked, disabled or not, in my opinion. I mean, it’s common courtesy to ask someone if they need help finding something when they’re shopping, or if they need a refill if they’re eating at a restaurant.
It’s a little embarrassing to talk about publicly, but because I have spina bifida, I have special supplies I have to buy every month, and about the only place I can find the supplies I need is Wal-Mart. Most of my supplies are within arms’ reach, so I’m able to grab what I need and go check out. Sometimes I can’t find what I’m looking for, because the supplies are not in stock, or as is most often the case, they’re on a shelf that’s too high for me to get to. Most of the time, when this happens, I have to ask my parents to go get the things I need, which is also embarrassing because I shouldn’t have to depend on my parents every time I need to pick something up from the store.
I know I can ask a person working in the store to get them for me, to save time and my parents a trip to the store, but again it’s really embarrassing to go up to a stranger in Wal-Mart and say, “I have so and so, and I need this and that, can you get them for me?”… I can’t really put this into words, but just imagine how you’d feel if you were in the same position…
Whenever someone asks me, “How can I help you?” or “Is there anything I can get for you?” I always tell them I have everything I need, or I’m just looking. But actually, that’s only half right. I think the biggest way people can help me, and anyone else with a disability, is to remember that we are the SAME as everybody else. We have the same emotions, wants, needs, desires, frustrations and feelings as everyone else in this world. We cry at funerals, laugh at somebody’s jokes, get mad when somebody cuts us off in traffic and share in the grief of a loved one when a family member dies or has major surgery. I think we all just want to be accepted and loved for what’s inside, and not pushed away into the cold because of some physical deformity or disability.
I have met some amazing people with disabilities and, although it’s hard to understand them sometimes, the smile they have on their faces when I first meet them means more to me than all the money in the world. I wish I had the chance to meet a lot more disabled children and adults, to just spend a couple hours just talking with them. I know my life would be blessed beyond my wildest dreams.
I can’t speak for every disabled person in the world, but I think the biggest question I have for all of my readers is “How can I help YOU?” That’s what I really want people to understand about me and this blog. I really want to help people realize their full potential in life and achieve their goals. I want to know what’s going on in your life and want to help you overcome obstacles and solve problems you’re having. I’m no rocket scientist (believe me I’d probably blow it into itty-bitty pieces!!!), but together I hope to make this world a better place for you and me.
I truly believe with all my heart and soul that every person, young, old, disabled and not disabled has something very special to offer this world. It’s just a matter of looking inside your heart and soul and seeing where that gift lies. It took me a long time to realize my purpose was to help people and to show them that disabled people are no different than anyone else. So, the real question my friends is “How can I help YOU?