My mom said something to me that really revealed to me my nature as a disabled person. I'd like to elaborate on it here. It was about 13 years ago when I first decided to move out on my own. My grandmother bought a new trailer and asked me to take residence in her older one. It was beautiful and looked brand new, and so I eagerly accepted. But, because it had been so well taken care of over the years and looked like new, my mom was concerned that my wheelchair would be too damaging to the interior walls and floors and that my grandmother would regret giving me the opportunity to live there when I moved out and returned ownership to her. So, my mother went to my grandmother. She'd lived in Texas for most of my young life, and didn’t fully identify with everything that my being in a chair meant.
My mother proceeded to explain to her what my living there could do to the trailer. She said to her, “Hope lives in her chair. She is going to hit things and dent and scar walls and mark up the floor, because that is how she gets around and gets things done.” When my mom told me she said that to my grandmother, she opened up (to me) a reality that I had not even considered until that moment. When she said, “Hope lives in her chair,” she didn’t mean that I dwelled on the fact that I was in a chair. Actually, it was just the opposite. She meant that I lived normally despite that very fact. She meant that I didn’t let it stop me from living.
She knew that I would have to scar up the walls and mark up the floors in order to do the things one has to do on a daily basis, especially when living alone, because the term ‘user friendly’ didn’t apply to me. She made no excuses and had no complaints about that reality, because she knew that in an able-bodied world, a disabled person has to make due if they want to succeed. She knew that some walls needed to be knocked down, and that I had been doing that all my life and would continue to do so with a vengeance. My grandmother, without hesitation, agreed to allow me to live in her trailer for as long as I wanted. And now, 13 years later, as I think of all the places I’ve lived, when I look around and see the dents in the walls and the scuffs on the floor, I just nod my head and laugh and say: "That’s just me making my mark".