Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E68: Wheelchair Users are People Too w/Moriah

December 5th 2022

Marcia & Marybeth meet Moriah, a wheelchair user with polio that was adopted from India as a child. We discuss discrimination based on physical disability, culture shock as a child in a new cou... More

This is disabled girls who lift. We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time. It's Mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that able comfort zone. Ok, let's party. Hello. Hello. Welcome everyone to another episode of disabled girls who Lift. Thank you for your support on Patreon buying our little stickers, the couple of T shirts we have left. We love you. This is Marcia on Seminole Tribe Land and I'll let Mary Beth take it from here. Good morning. We do have a few shirts left, right? Like one of those uh black disabled girl, black Disabled Lives Matter shirts. Pretty much it. Um, like two, not your inspiration porn shirts left your favorite, but it's probably like a size. That's not yours. Um I'm tuning in from northern California sitting on O Loney Land and it's been a while, but we finally have a guest on our podcast.

The lovely Mariah, really good friends with doctor Marcia, um, who is currently sitting on plantation Florida right now on Seminole Tribe Land. What are we gonna talk about on the street? Uh Mariah and Life and things and stuff. I mean, so say hello guys. Hi. Hello, nice to see you. Hello. For having me on here. I appreciate it. Yeah. Um, I mean, I guess we didn't put it on the list but I guess maybe we could talk about why we know each other because I feel like that's kind of an interesting story too now that I think about it. Yeah. I, I wanna know it is. It is. Yes. Please tell Marybeth Mariah. How, how did we meet? So I met you whenever. So I started to go to, uh, this physical therapy place. Uh, oh, gosh, back in, what was it?

22, 2016 or something. Yeah, maybe 16. Right. Summer around there. And, um, she was actually working there, I think as an intern. Right? No, no, I was working for real, for real. I was the first, uh, we're not gonna name it by the way because I don't want anybody looking it up. Um, but I was the, the first like therapist that he hired. Yes. So she was working there and I started going there. Um, and that's how I end up meeting her and it was just funny because I, I'm gonna not lie. I didn't think we would be, become friends. I really did not depress. Tell me why I don't, I just like, I feel like our personalities are so different but we get, we get along so great though. Like, it's amazing how I just, I, I thought one of my first met like there's no way this girl is ever gonna be my friend. Like there's no way but we get all so great and we always have so much fun. We hang out. So, and the rest is history.

We just make friends. Even after I left, I had to leave because I started going to go back to school to do my masters. So I had to leave and then I found out later she left also and we just remained in contact since then for six years. Yes. When you put it like that, that's a long time. That's, yeah, you put it that way. Yeah. I mean, it's kind of weird because, uh, in general, I don't have the mindset to, like, start friendships with people that I work with, you know, like I'm just generally try to be a nice human to all the humans, right? Like, um, so there are a lot of people that, like, do try to start friendships with me and I'm like, yeah, no, I don't want to be friends with you. I'm just being nice because I'm just not an asshole. But Mariah was like, actually, no, this, this shit is actually kind of cool. I think, um, I think we solidified our friendship after you saw my butt and put those, uh, what are those machines to make the muscles, like, you know, um, what is that called? Oh, yeah.

Once you show somebody your ass you gotta be friends. We're friends. There's no going back there. Yeah. There's, there's some lines cross if you see me cry, if you see my butt cheek, we have to be friends. I mean, you know. Yeah. Yeah. So, that was nuts. That was, um, that was interesting. Um, I would also say personally for me it, it's like, interesting how I relate to Maria and, and like, the life that she lives that I never understood before. And then once I got sick, I still don't understand her life, obviously. But once I got sick I was like, oh, all right, this, this does suck. This, this is a little rougher than I thought it was. I haven't put all these things together because when you go to school they make things seem like. So like, oh, yeah, insurance pays for this and, and doctors will solve these problems and it just seems like so tidy and neat. So, like, like you used to have, um, the thing about, like, when you had to get your shoes or when you had to get your car and to me, like, as a stupid abled bodied person at the time, I'm like, oh, why can't you just go get your shoes, shoe lift?

Made? That seems simple. Yeah. So, ok, let's talk about what disability I have. Yeah. So, um, I was, you know, I, I got polio when I was a baby. I am from India. So unfortunately, I didn't get the luxury of having the uh vaccine and unfortunately I got polio. So now I use a manual wheelchair and with that, it comes a lot of challenges. But with saying that I do work, I do live alone. I drive, I do everything that everybody else can do. It. Just minus with a twist, I would say, yeah, you're just like on hard mode. Modify on hard mode. Yes, exactly. On hard mode with a lot of challenges, you know, they have to face every single day and it's, and it's true. A lot of people don't understand what that's like as a disabled person because you're right. You're thinking, oh, just get a car. Like I can't just get any car. I have to get a car that fits my hand control, for example. And not all cars are like that or I can't just buy any shoes.

I have to buy shoes that work with my leg braces that I can put a lift on. It's a, it's a lot, it's like 50 steps just in one thing while you have to do one step. I have to do 50 things, you know, and it cost you 50 times more. Like, yeah. Yeah. Controls on a car are not cheap. No, they're really expensive. So, I, so if you do one where it's already put on the car, I think it's more than $1000. But the one I have is the portable one and I actually found those on Amazon for like, 200 or something. So I'm able to take it off my car and put it on your car. For example, if, if it's the brake type, uh, you have, oh, I didn't know that. I thought everything had to be permanent forever. Yeah. Or, yeah, I don't know how, but I was able to find these portable ones and I've had these since college and they've been working for me so far. So hopefully I can, uh, they'll last me longer and I can find them again. It was really good. It was a really good brand and it's worked out really great. You have to give us the link for this share that for other people that might be looking, I mean, $200.

Yeah. But, um, I bought this back in college. So, yeah. Yeah. Inflation. I mean, if a pound of ground beef double then that's probably tripled for all we know. But back to the point of like, having to pay hundreds extra, like, you know, even if it's at a discount, it's still way more than an average car user. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Or even the shoes and getting your shoe left made, like, even if you have the insurance that covers it, you have to have a certain diagnosis and they'll only give you the shoes for like, oh, well, you get one shoe every five years or like, like, nothing is simple. No, not at all. Nothing is simple at all. So, it's pretty wild to see, to, like, understand that. But it's also kind of sad to me because, like, if I never became sick would I've ever really understood it. I mean, obviously because we're a friendship and I see the way you're living, there's a level of understanding, but at the same time it's like, it kind of sucks that able bodied people aren't able to just be like, oh, you're telling me this is hard.

I believe you. I see your perspective. Wow, that's crazy. Like, no, it's never like that. I think it's because the only thing that's visible to able bodied folks is like the accommodations, part of disabilities. They see people with handicap, um, stalled handicap, um, like spots in the parking lot and they're like, oh my gosh, they get the front of the road, they get all of this, like, um, handed to them, but also the pop, like the population of disabledd folks and how many spots there are compared to that. It's like what happens when we run out, you know, or that's, I don't know, it's, there's just so there's a limited understanding to like, what is actually needed and what you see that is given to the future. And I think, and I think to be honest, like, you know, I think any, any handicap person would give up that spot to be able to walk, you know, like, it's not like I understand, you know.

Well, oh, you get the first but it does not. So we are like, oh, I get the first, you know, spot that. Yeah, I think, uh, I think I can say on behalf of probably everybody that would gladly give up that spot to be able to be an able bodied person, not deal with the challenges that come with it, you know, not that, you know, there's anything wrong with disabled people, but I'm just saying like, life will be a lot more easier I think. You know. So yeah. Yeah. No, that's true. That's what they see. Oh you're the first in line. You get to skip at Disney World like and you still have all of these websites and accounts that are like accusing people of faking disabilities and stuff like, ok, maybe one in 1000 people are faking it but like, ok, but it's still such a horrible perception, you know, like why would anybody go through the extent of like just being in front of the line? Ok. It still hurt as fuck to get up here. Yeah, you're spending like twice the energy just to freaking be in the line but whatever they don't get it, they probably won't get it.

Um But I am curious, Maria, do you feel like that has at all gotten any better or worse or about the same when you speak to people that aren't disabled, like, since you were a kid to, now are, the time is changing. I think as a kid, people were a bit more, um, I guess. Symp, oh, I don't know, sympathetic but they're just, I think as a kid they're more nicer to you because you're a kid, you know what they're gonna say to you. But as an adult, you know, that's all gone. You know, and I think, I mean, there, there has been some great people in my life and I, and I love the people that I do have around me, you know, I shape them. But I think there's a lot of people who, who just, you know, they see you but they don't really see you, they just see your disability, you know what I mean? Like, and, and they just assume that that's the thing that annoys me the most is like when people that don't know me, like strangers off the street or like, let's say if I got a job interview or somewhere, they just assume like, oh, ok.

Well, if you're in a chair, then I guess you can't do anything, you can't move, you can't think you can't. And it's like, why, why are you associating that? You know, what does the vulture have to do with my brain? What does the w have to do with my ability if I've been surviving this long without you? I can still continue surviving without you, you know, um if I'm able to manage, come to an interview, if I'm able to manage to get myself to work, then why you were trying to put limitations on it? You know what I mean? Like that happens a lot. I think people try to put limitations on you. Like, well, you should get this kind of job or you should um live here and it, like, why, why do I need a job where I just sit in an office all day? What if I don't like that? I mean, you know, like, and I just feel like people tend to limit you on what they think that you should do or do not do. I don't know, I don't how to explain it. It's kind of like that will explain. Yeah, and it doesn't make any sense because like I wanna go to you and be like, oh well you wear glasses so you should just send the and you should, you know, like I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna do that to you. So why are you doing that to me? Let me put the limitations on myself, you know, you don't do that.

Yeah, I like it. You're a whole ass human being but they don't really see that they can't see past whatever device you happen to be using. Exactly. You know, and, and it gets frustrating because like, I shouldn't have to explain to you what I can and cannot do because you don't do that to somebody else and then somebody else doesn't have to explain to them, like, oh, well, I have diabetes and I, you know, they don't do that. You just leave it alone. So, just because you can see mine. And the funny thing is even though I have a visible disability, I am a lot more healthy and more able to, most able people that I know, you know, like I, like, I don't have any limitations or if I do have limitations, I always find a way to get around it and still do what I need to do, you know? Yeah. No, that's the thing at the end of the day people would not like does not compute like you walked up to anybody, right? You rolled up to anybody right now in your wheelchair and you're like, I'm actually healthy. You, they're gonna be like, that's impossible. There's no way like you, you, there's no way you could be healthier than me.

There's no way they wouldn't believe it. They would dead ass think like, no, you must be you in a wheelchair. You must have like, I don't know, high blood pressure or diabetes or something. You probably can't breathe. Like they're gonna assume all these things on top of the fact they're assuming that you can't think for yourself. Yeah. Trash, all around, trash ass. Go on. Yeah. Trash you go from like thank you for your service. For being a veteran. Yeah. To, to, how long do you have to live? Because you probably have like a, you know, and like a, you know, terminal, terminal illness. Thank you. Or, or you're too pretty to be in the wheelchair. How did you get there, or? You're too young? Yeah. And he was like, I've had those comments and I'm like, what, what does that have to do with anything? You've gotten too pretty to be in a wheelchair? I've done like, yeah, or like I've gotten comments like, oh because I tell people like, I'll go camping, right? And like I remember one guy was like, you're too pretty to go camping. I'm like, what does that have to do with like what does that look have to do with anything?

Like just let me camp, man, leave me alone, let me Yeah, like I just don't understand like, you know, getting a disability, it doesn't discriminate. It's like it can happen to anybody at any moment. You can be born with it. You can get it later because I was born healthy. Actually, I didn't have any issue. It wasn't, it was just like when I was probably like nine months or whatever I was, I end up getting polio just because like I said, I didn't get the luxury of not getting the vaccine. So like these, I get annoyed people who uh Antiva I get annoyed. You're like literally living. Yeah, because I'm, I'm my life is what it is because of just one shot. Like, if you really put it into perspective, like, wow, my life would be so different if I just got this one, it be tiny, whiny shot. That's it. You know, like, like if you put into that perspective, it's like, wow, how much of a difference it has really changed my life. Like, it's completely, it's just crazy when I think about it and like, and it makes me sad for them. Like, man, I wouldn't be like this if I just was born, like, I guess in a privileged life because, you know, in India at the time, you know, I don't know how it is now, but at the time, you know, I came from extremely poor family, like my mother died of starvation, you know.

Um you know, and, and my father abandoned me and stuff. So I end up in an orphanage but I came from really, really poor poor family that we didn't have anything. So that's why I wasn't able to get that vaccine. You know. So like it's a blessing to live here in America where people can have that choice to do the vaccine or not. And I think people need to understand how privileged they are because there's millions of people out there who have died or who have different lifestyle just because of something as simple as that, you know, especially as babies. Like from the minute you're born, you have nonstop, like you have nothing but vaccines handed to you here in the US. It's like everything is preventative um until you have that personal choice. It's like, what the hell? Yeah. And like, you know, like it's a, to me that's a blessing that, you know, a country like America or other places where you have that option or you have the opportunity given to you and you have that access. you know, because it, it does change people's lives a lot. And I don't think people understand that like how, how it affects people like you just don't get that.

They don't see it. All they see is is like their every day they see their grocery stores, they see their nice and tidy apartments and they see like life looks great. So why do I need a vaccine? Like there's no perspective honestly, that's the right way of, of, of uh public health because that was supposed to be their job. They're supposed to teach us. Yeah, but I mean we could go on and on about public health and their failure. Absolute trash. So when did you move? How old were you when you moved to the US? And what was that like? Culture shock like for you? So I um so I was in an orphanage. Um so this is what happened. So when my mother died and my father be be in me, my aunt and my uncle actually found me and took me in and they raised me for a while and then they actually put me in an orphanage there in India because they wanted me to have like a better, better life. So they, you know, they were hoping because like I said, extremely poor, they couldn't afford me. So I was in the orphanage, I think I, I went to the orphanage when I was like five or something and I was there for a couple of years and then there was a family here that in Tennessee they found me through uh agency, a uh international adoption agency or something.

So my mom came to India, she came to pick me up. So I came to the States when I was seven years old. Um I think the biggest shock for me was the abundance of food. So apparently my mom said like I would hide food under my bed because, you know, I didn't because I didn't have food. So the fact that there I had access to food, I would eat so much. She said like it was ridiculous how much I would eat out of the house. And then she, I would hide food and she would find food under my bed because I was just like, oh my gosh, there's food here. And you know, I think that was the biggest uh change for me because I was a little kid. So, you know, I learned English and all that stuff and and I still remember the first day arriving to America because I never seen snow before. You got everything in Tennessee. So I came during January. So in, in 1994 right? And I saw snow that's cold as hell. I know. And I remember this, I remember grabbing a big chunk of it off the car and putting in my mouth, a free snow cone.

Yeah. And she started yelling at me and she's spitting it out of my mouth and she's like, and I'm just like, marching away like, oh, what is that? It was so cute because I didn't know what it was. And I, and I still remember this just grabbing it and just like, you know, eating it and she's like spitting it out of your mouth. I'm like, oh, ok. I don't know. Forget how cold it is. First of all, forget or how dirty. I mean, I just have to cough. Yeah. You know, and I just like, so like, and I remember seeing the first time seeing television, first time seeing a Christmas tree because they had still had the Christmas tree up and I never seen any of that. And the first movie American movie I ever watched was Charlotte's Web. I still remember that. I didn't know you were that old. I thought you were a little younger. No, girl. I'm 36. No, no, I mean, not that, I mean that you came, that you came because that's like you can remember that. For real. For real. Seven is big brain time. Like you got thoughts and feelings at seven. I remember coming. I remember the flight. I remember being on the plane. You know how they feed you.

So apparently I ate all my food. I ate my mom's food and I was trying to steal our neighbor's food. Apparently because you didn't know poor little baby. The poor little baby was in like survival mode. I don't know what else. Let me get that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Let me get that. No, I, I think that was the first time I had access to like food, food. Like, you know, in the orphanage you would only get like a certain amount a certain time. And that was it, you know, it was a poor orphanage. So like me see this much food, I was just like, like you said, the survival mode, I'm like, oh, let me just feed myself now. So, you know, I'll be hungry later. So that was interesting. Like the one told me, like, start staring out of people's food. I'm like, what? You know, and then you started school immediately when you came. No, I did not. Actually, I was home school because I didn't know any English. So I was home schooled for, oh, gosh, I think a year and a half or something. And then when I went to public school I went, starting in second grade, second grade. Yeah. And that was a whole another mission because my mom had to fight to have me be in normal classes.

Like she literally have to fight every year because they just thought, oh, well, she's in a wheelchair. We're gonna put her in the mentally challenged classes, you know, and she's like, no, there's nothing wrong with her brain. It's just that she just has a physical limitations. That's it. So that was a whole another battle because we literally would have to like she would go in a let me tell you my mom is a strong woman and you don't mess with her. And I think that's where I get my strong this is from her. So she would go to school like she didn't care, she was going in there, she would fight these people and she would fight the school board, she would fight everybody and she's like, no, we're not doing this, you know, and she would fight to allow me to just go to normal classes do normal things because like why not? Like I don't understand why the school assumes just because someone's in a wheelchair, there's something wrong with their brain. Like where are you getting that correlation from? That makes no sense. Mhm And you talking about 36. So that's before ad A and even if you got it, it in the part of ad A like there's still that I'm sure in the beginning where people don't give a shit, right? Like even when 88 is enacted, I'm sure you still have to be like, hello, there's laws now. Oh oh gosh, I mean, look at Juneteenth. Right.

Yeah. Yeah. No. Yeah, people don't care, you know, like I told you I'm not here trying to find a place to buy and it's crazy how nothing is accessible. Like the bathroom is not accessible, the interest is not accessible. They have all have ledges but there's no ramps anywhere. Like I just don't wanna understand like how is this possible? Like you have to spend an extra $50,000 for accessible changes to the house? Exactly. Or, or find a house that's fully out of my price range. That is successful. And how is that fair to me? Like that's not fair. Yeah, you have to get a shack so you can make it into an accessible shack might not have a roof but at least you got ramp like that's how they want you to live roof or ramp decisions. I guess so. And I don't know if like people, I don't know. You tell me that because I know you deal with a lot of disabled people but like do you feel like able bodied people feel like some able bodied, not all but some able bodied people feel like disabled people don't deserve to have, you know, be able to drive, deserve to have a job or make good money or have a nice car or have a nice house.

I feel like there's some people out there who have that mentality. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, because they still, it's very black and white to them, it's very disabled is bad, broken, not normal and I'm on the other side and then, like, once you start shattering that people get defensive and honestly that, that goes for anything. But unfortunately this is like one of the identities where that affects us directly. But um that, that kind of goes with anything. All right, like if you know somebody whose parents are an asshole and you like, bring something up and they're going to defend them and like, feel some type of way about it because nobody wants to go through that. No one wants to open up their brain and like go through their file folder of shitty thoughts and be like, actually this is bad. Let me like, let me reflect on this. Why do I feel that way? Why did I have a visceral reaction to this? Where is this thought coming from? Is it me or my parent? Like nobody wants to do that. It's never that nobody wants to do that. So they're gonna so like, for me, I definitely feel that and that's why I don't talk to a lot of people about my illness or anything because they'll be like, oh wow, you just lay on the couch, you changed your day.

So you have the morning for you. Wow. That must be so great. I'd love to not have to work as much too. And it's like, I'm not doing it because I enjoy laying on the couch being in pain and like taking three hours to take a shit. Like that's not, that's not a lovely morning for me. Like I'm doing this because that's how I have to live and on the opposite side of things, I feel like they don't want to see disabled people, not to mention disabled people of color thriving. We can never be on top. Even if we're fucking 100 miles away from the top, we can't even be up there. Yeah, they don't want to see disabled people, especially like when it comes to like being sexy and cute and pretty, like nobody wants to accept that either. And then they'll just like go through all of these mental loopholes of commenting, like really ugly things on people's stuff. And it's like at the end of the day, you just don't want to deal with the fact that you're attracted to a disabled person. That sounds like a personal problem. Like you just dig through that. I know it's like it's such a taboo and I hate that, that it's such a taboo and dating a disabled person or like you said, finding them attractive because I mean, like I get it, you know, we have challenges but if you're seeing us surviving this long, what do you think is gonna, you know what I mean?

Like how is that gonna affect you if we're able to manage it? I think we're gonna manage it with, with you or without you. You know, and, and it's not like, I mean, it's not like, you know, I'm, I would go date someone just so they can take care of me. That's, that's not my mentality at all. You know, I, I, most, most disabled people they want, they're independent, they want to be independent and they want to be treated as equal and treated as an independent person. Now I'm like, oh, well, let me do everything for you or you have no, it's not like that at all. Yeah. Don't feel good or nice at all. At least not to me. I mean, and it's so, it's so wild because you would be like, if you are like, oh, I need somebody who's rich who could afford me and like make my home accessible. People would be like, oh Maria, that's so trash. But if you were someone that's like, I want to be a stay at home mom and have a bunch of kids and you were able bodied people would be like, that's great. No. So like it really is like such a taboo. Like nobody even puts disability in the frame of any of those thoughts.

Absolute trash. Yeah, because they also want to define like what your future looks like as a woman Right. Yeah. Oh, that's true. That's true. That's what I was telling somebody. I was watching Love Is Blind and I was like, when are they gonna have somebody that's like, I don't wanna have any kids. Right. I want to see that come out. Oh, my gosh. That's so funny because I'm watching that show too and I'm like, man, I wanna actually audition for this. Yeah, there's, there's no physically disabled, that's for sure. I'd be hilarious because, I mean, I mean, right, because you're saying love is blind. Is it really blind? Because, you know, once you see someone that's disabled, would you, like, truly accept that person for that person? Or are you gonna be like, no, no, no. You know. So, like, I would understand if I was like a horrible person and, you know, like, you know, scammed you or something, then I'll understand. But it's like if you're a good person or, or your personal it matches or you would be each other, you know, like, just like, would you just be like, well, the cut off is just like you're disabled, you didn't even give that person a chance to just like, just talk to them.

I'm not saying marry, they just talk and get to know them and see does your personality match or, you know, would you be able to hang out with this person or, you know, can this person lift you up or whatever? You know? I mean, at the end of the day, people have to, again, go through very little deep file folders of thoughts and then, uh, sort that out because what people look for. Like, that's the thing that bothers me the most with the, these reality shows and people talking about love is like, I'm looking for my person. I'm looking for the person that completes me. I'm looking for. Like, what are you doing? Like you don't have, so where have you been this whole time? You don't have friends that complete your life? Like you don't have family or chosen family that lifts you up. Like why do you need the one romantic relationship to do all of that? That's the part that I But yeah, I would be, I think I'd be interesting on that show. What do you do for fun? I'll stay at home. How about you? Well, what do you like to do? Sit on the couch? How about you? That's it. Oh my gosh. That's funny. Yeah, that would be absolute trash.

Um I think before we start the next topic, this might be a good time for a break. All right, we're back. Pal bam, bam, bam, bam, sound effects, sound effects. Anyways, I was not expecting that. Let say whatever we want here. Um Yeah. So you mentioned that you get a lot more sympathy when you were a child with a disability, an adult with a disability is kind of just like, oh, you're still here. Um, kind of like that, like, oh, yeah. Ok. How does that work when it comes to, like, fitness, movement, physical therapy, I think. Ok. So, as a kid I think I did physical therapy when I first came here. You know, because that's when I officially got diagnosed with everything I remember doing, um, horse therapy to help me. Yeah, this is when I was really young. I was probably, like, eight or something. See, horse, horse therapy.

Yeah. So, like, um, I would go horseback riding because they would teach you when people go horseback riding, it would teach you how to, like, sit up straight to help you with building muscles. And it also helped because I don't know if you guys know this, but the way a horse walk is the most realistic way a human walks. So whenever I'm riding the horse, I would, I, you know how they walk, I can feel how like a human would walk, walk and, you know, and all that. Yeah. So I remember doing his horse therapy. I don't know how long I did it, but I think I did it for a while because I remember competing, like, I would do competitions and I have ribbons that. Wait, wait, what was the competition? Was it the horse dancing first or like the one where they jump over? Shit or like, what, what hang on. I gotta think about it. Or straight up horse racing? I think jumping over, yeah, I was a little kid. It was like jumping over things and like, you know, there were competitions and, and I just remember I have, I think my mom, I hope she didn't throw them away. But I had a bunch of, and stuff from where I competed in these horse shows and, um, but it was a therapy at the same time.

So I remember doing that as a kid. And then I think later on when I got older, we didn't do therapy. I just um yeah, we didn't do therapy after that. And then when I first came to America, we did a lot of the stuff to help build me up, build my muscles, build my strength, build my back muscles and things like that. And, and then I got the proper equipment. That's where I got my leg braces and my mom would force me. I remember as a kid because I wouldn't want to wear them and she would force me to wear them and force me to learn how to walk, to do things by myself. So I had to learn how to do it. So I, yeah. Um so yeah, as a kid, I didn't really have much of the therapy like every day, you know, like it was only when I first came here. So and then as an adult, I don't really do therapy. Maybe I should, but I don't. Yeah, but even if even as an adult. If you wanted to do it, it's not the same. No, it's not. First of all, it, it cost a lot of money that I don't have. Um, because a lot of the insurance don't cover or if the insurance does cover it, they barely do anything.

Is this, you know, like, I don't know that part. I do that part. I do very much know if you're a child and they're just like, yeah, she is polio and she's gotta do stuff. They just be like, all right, cool. Whatever you need whole life don't care. Like it would have been covered, it would have been fine. But as soon as you get adulthood and you get regular old commercial insurance or whatever it is, even the Medicaid, they're gonna be like, well, for what? Yeah, it was an accident or a chair. It has her wrist fall in it. They don't care. Yeah. Like, I mean, it's crazy, like with my walter, you know, I just have a very simple, basic manual Walch chair. It's nothing fancy. Right. But I have to fight just to get one thing repaired on my chair. Like I have to fight the insurance company. It's so annoying and then on top of that they're gonna take six months or a year or longer to fix it. I'm like, hello? Like, I don't have six months to just lay around and do nothing. I don't have the luxury of being rich like that, you know, like I have to go to work. I have to use this thing and they're just like, oh, oh, well, I'm sorry.

And it's so frustrating. It's like, why do I have to fight for something I need, you know? Like, why, why do I have to prove to you that I need it? What more do I like? Can you not see this? And it's just, it's very frustrating. That's the, that's the one thing as an adult that's frustrating is fighting the insurance company or fighting the company to come fix anything. They won't fix it or they'll take too long to fix it and they don't, they don't seem to care at all. It's like not a face. It sounds like they see the wheelchair as a luxury as opposed to a necessity. Yeah, I think six months to a year is ridiculous. Like, you don't have an extra, this is your, this is your one wheelchair. Exactly. And, and, you know, it's not like I can just go to a place like, hey, can you fix this? Oh, no, we have to get a call from a doctor and then from there we had to go and I was like, why can't you just not like, screw, you know, kind of the screw, like what's the problem? You know, somebody has to write a letter and appeal to the insurance and this and that. Like, why for what it doesn't make any sense to me either. It is absolutely seen as like a luxury, not a necessity.

And they're like, if you, if you have multiple friends or, you know, multiple people in wheelchairs you'll see that shrimp they're gonna be like, oh, yeah, be careful. That one isn't locked. Be careful that the handle comes off. Yeah, like one. Yeah, that's so true. I mean, my brakes don't work. I want mine and I wanted the bra and the other one is broken and I just, you know, I just got so annoyed but I'm like, you know what, I'm just gonna start the process to get a new wheelchair because it, it's just too much, like, it's just too much. Yeah. But it is a necessity. You literally have to get in your car and go to work. It's an extension of people's body and I don't think you realize that it's an extension of your body. You know, it's not, like, like I said, it's not a luxury. It's not like I'm driving around a beamer. It's like something that I have to have. If I didn't have it, I won't be able to function the, you know, to be able to do live my daily life. Yeah. True. True. True, true. That's pretty, pretty silly. Um, but how did you get around the master's?

Was all online then when you did your master's because college campuses are not accessible. They're trash too. No. Um, um, my, it was hybrid. So I did a couple of classes, um, on, um, online but the other one was in campus and where I went to school it was pretty successful. I didn't really have any issues. Now, the funny thing is when I did my undergrad. Now, let me tell you about that. When I did my undergrad, um, I went to college in Tennessee that's in the mountains and, and yeah, it's not accessible because there's a lot of like heels and stuff you had to go up. So what my mom came up with, the idea was for me to get a golf cart to go around to my classes because there's a bunch of heels that I couldn't do myself. So, um somebody, I don't know who, but somebody actually donated me a golf cart that I used for four years and on the golf cart, I got the hand controls put on it. So I like what your mom is.

So, yeah, she is straight up. So somebody donated me a golf cart, which is so nice. Um They donate me a golf cart and we get the hands put on it. So then I would go to all my classes um using the golf cart because they will be far apart or there will be up this massive heels, man. We have a bunch of hills that I would have to go up to my classes and then I would just park like in the grass area in front of the building. I would unload the chair because I will. I found a way to lift the chair up myself and a golf cart tie down and then go to my classes and take it down and all that. So that's how I got on my campus in my undergrad because otherwise I wouldn't be able to manage doing it by myself. So, and sometimes those hills are super steep. So like, I don't know, these were think about Tennessee because this isn't Tennessee. Tennessee has a lot of what we call like rolling hills and they're like steep. I'm talking about when they're steep, there's steep hills. Like when I'm in a golf cart, they would just go flying down. I wouldn't even have to put the, oh my God. Uh press on the gas because they would just go zoom down because that's how steep they were.

There were big hills. It wasn't like this simple little winky thing. No, no, no, no. Like they were a major. So every day was an adventure. You know, it was an adventure, you know, or people would like ride with me because they like, oh, am I right? You know, so, yeah, that was interesting. Oh my God. I would have made that a business should have changed. Should have, man because I was poor. I should have. So, you know, like I said, we all, we have, I have different challenges, right? Look like anybody doesn't say. But we all have different challenges but, like, we have, find ways to get around it, you know, the same with my car. Uh, you know, I don't want to drive a stupid van. Ok. So don't tell me to drive a van. So I need to learn how to use the hand controls. And I learned, and the funny thing with my license, I, I taught myself how to drive in one week and then when I got my license and I passed on the first day. Yeah, that's your mom right there for sure. Yeah, that is. But because I, because we got the hand controls, put on the car when I was young for me to do my driving. Yeah, my mom did not teach me at all.

So, yes, you just like, got in the, yeah, I know. So mcdonald's worth the money. So I, I guess I was four years of driving golf car, kind of taught me how to drive a b, then I borrowed a friend's car and I had to put on the hand controls because these were different. So I taught myself how to drive the car and the hang controls in one week. And I'm like, you know what, I'm gonna take my test. I went on that path and I was like, oh, ok, cool. So, yeah, that's amazing. No collisions on the golf cart. Um, yes, there was one but that was, but that was because there was too many people on the car and there was too much weight. We went in, I don't know if there was a tree. No, we went into a stop sign. Totally stop sign. And I took out, oh, gosh, I remember one time I didn't need to, but I took out somebody's name tag. Like, it was some, like, actual, like, official person that worked at my school and I took the name tag out and I was like, and I feel so, but I'm like, I'm sorry, I totally took her name, you know how they have sign parking and a name.

You know, I don't park here anymore. There are always golf cart collisions on. I was so I was so embarrassed. I totally took her name out and I'm like, I'm so sorry about this, but here's your name tag. They're probably already having a bad day. Yeah. Yeah, this is, I was thinking about quitting anyway. You probably change someone's whole life. You did him a favor. There you go. You see life. So how is it where you're working? Now? Do you have to think of some golf cart level adventure? Can you just roll in? No. So, I mean now, um so, ok, so I work for the government and the first office that I worked at was, I mean, the building itself is accessible but the doors were not accessible which government building should be accessible enough. Um So they're supposed to put like this, you know, those buttons where you push it and the door automatically opens.

Um, this building, um, did not have this at all. I don't know why, but they didn't have any of that. So it took a year for them to, uh, do anything about it. Um, the, no, I did get promoted. So I'm at a different office now. This office, everything is successful. They have all the, the doors. Um, they have the push, push button everywhere. So I don't, I don't have any issues or, you know, and people there are so nice, like if I have issues, like, if I need to help lifting boxes, there's always people available to do that. So it's been pretty easy so far. That's pretty nuts though. In a government building they don't even have the button to press. Like, come on. Yeah, because, I mean, you're a federal building. You should have everything accessible, you know, and it took a whole year and it took you to tell them they need to change the course. No. So, like when I first got there, yeah, I saw the document saying, hey, let's, you know, to make your ad accessible. But yeah, they took a year to do it. So, yeah, you would think at least they'd be better than a random, like condo building, you know.

Yes, exactly. I mean, it, it should be like that, you know? But nobody knows. And the people that. I don't, I don't even know how that works when they get inspectors or when things get approved or not approved. But I noticed that a lot of places even just like the door wait because you know how the door is not supposed to just like, slam shut. There's so many places where even that isn't even fixed even that isn't correct. So, the door you, like, as soon as you open, it's just like, slam right on you or the door is like, too heavy to open, you know, like I'm, I mean, I'm not the strongest person but I'm pretty strong. And if I can't open a door like that makes, sounds like why would you have it this heavy for someone to open? You know, and it's not just me because if you have like, a mom who has a, you know, a baby carriage and a kid, how is she gonna be able to do all that? You know. That's, that's a lot. Yeah, it's, everybody's thinking about it with one person in mind. That's the part that's pretty messed up. Oh, yeah, I love, yeah. No, no, I love it when I go to a so called handicap bathroom.

Like, who decided the stupid bathroom if my wheelchair cannot fit into it? You know, and my wheelchair is a small wheelchair, you know, you've seen a me, it's a small wheelchair, if my small wheelchair cannot fit in a bathroom stall and I can't close the door then who, who the hell was like, oh, this is handicap accessible. Yeah, like that makes no sense to me. Like, because I, I, I do come across that a lot of the so-called handicap bathrooms, the ad a but they're not really ad a because if I can't get into it and I can't close the door, what they wanna do. Pee with the door open. Like I don't understand. Yeah, I don't know who decided that like how does that get checked out? I'm very confused by that also because some of this the the math ain't math. It's not making sense here and it could be anybody for real. It could be just somebody carrying a lot of bags, how they're gonna close the door like hello anybody but when they building, they're just thinking of like standard man. Yeah, there's got to be a minimum size requirement for that though via the ad A I remember like the building that I used to like manage on campus for performances.

The elevator, the elevator was the shittiest thing and that it can like it, it can take a, a manual wheelchair but it can't take an automatic because it is like twice the size. But the university rule that is accessible because it can take a manual. I'm like, what the fuck, what about all of the other people? Yeah. So and it took years and years and years to fight it and it's still like, the more complaints that we could get to the university then they'll get something done and still has nothing. They haven't touched it because, you know, you have to retrofit the whole building, like, change the whole building for an elevator. Nobody wants, nobody wants to do that. But I think that's so much cheaper than getting a lawsuit just, you know, a fire putting it out there, like, listening, like, so much cheaper. And I think, I feel like, I swear these people who are like, oh, yeah, this is the idea they have to be able bodied people. It can't, it's not like people like me that's going ok. This is not ad A or yes, this is, or this is, you know what I mean?

Like, even like buildings with ramps, there's some ridiculous ramps out there. I'm like, nobody can, like, push themselves off these ramps because they look so steep or whatever. And they're like, oh, yeah, this is accessible, like, no, you know, the ramps that they have, they are like making these sharp turns. Like, what the hell to make those ramps, like, aesthetic as opposed to functional. You have to, you have to travel like two miles versus the 20 ft. Oh my God. How can you turn in those things? Like, hello? Like, I hate it when they're so steep that I can barely push myself up. And I just get, it was annoying because it's like this is what you call accessible. Like who I need to fire this person, please. Like, you know. Yeah. And it's like you're somebody that could literally lift your wheelchair, pick it up, put it apart, put it together. But if you can't roll yourself up a ramp, like, hello, something really is wrong here. In fact, like some things up, it's not, it's not you, like not being able to push because some people have different, you know, different levels of strength.

Like, clearly you are strong. If you can't do it, something's wrong with the ramp. Like, like it doesn't make sense. Even the new buildings, like the things that I'm talking about are mostly the new buildings those stupid winding ramps I feel like are, are all new buildings where they're trying to make and pretty, and it's like, what are you doing here? Fuck those architects. Yeah. Like some disabled architects, I guess. And some disabled, uh, permit people. Whoever does the permits. Mhm. Because they absolute trash. I agree. I agree. Like, it's just not, it's not accessible at all. It's very, it's, it's very rare to find one that's, like, perfectly accessible in the ramp, the door, the bathrooms, everything is very rare to find that. Yeah, something's always missing. Mhm. Or even the parking spot they put it across the street. Why do you want me to cross the street? Like we went to or like where? Remember, like we went to the Kimchi Mart and the, the handicap spot was across the street at the part where there's at the part where somebody comes into the lot, that's where they put the handing.

So, can you imagine if there's somebody that, like, takes a lot of time to get out or let's say they have the ramp and the like power chair needs to come down. Somebody could literally come off the street and no. Yeah. Space around the spot. Hello? Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know. No, no sense. Made no sense. No, it's frustrating when you notice. So that buildings and, um, businesses just like, mark off their checklist, you know, like it's, it was obviously a checklist to them and they spent no more than five minutes thinking about how this could be convenient for someone. Like, what's the bare minimum I can do to have this checked off by whoever's checking so that I wouldn't get a lawsuit. Right. Yeah, that's all they care about. Um, but we got like about 10 minutes left. What, what have we not talked shit about that? You did? You want to get off your chest? Get it all off? I mean, I don't know about that. I need more than 10 minutes. Uh There's nothing that quick, there's nothing that quick. I think, you know, I think people, like, if they're like able bodied listeners, I think you want like, you know, so saying that I say, you know, don't um, don't like, you know, don't just assume that person's, uh, this, you know, they don't put limitations on it and don't assume that, oh, this, this person can't do this so this person can do that, you know, let them be the one to tell you, like, oh, yeah.

Well, I can't do that. Oh, yes, I can. You know what I mean? Let them be the one to tell you and don't, don't put more limitations on them. Like, you know, like if I'm marking, don't come to me and say, well, you shouldn't do this job, you should do a job where you're just sitting all day like, man, no. Um you know, or like, you know, how do you know, like maybe I'm the type of person, which I am, I'm the type of person that I want to like travel. I'm the type of person that I love. I have a job where I can go to different countries, work abroad and things like that. And I know that comes with challenges, but I'm willing to take that challenges, you know, don't put that limitation on and say, well, you shouldn't do that kind of work, but you should just have a, you know, office job where you just sit there all day and just, no, that's not what I'm, that's not what makes me happy, you know, let me, let me live my life as happy the way I want to, you know, we have a lot of things that go against us. You know, don't do something else to make it worse for us. You know, we have a lot of challenges. We have the world telling us no, we have the world telling us you're worthless and you're not good enough or you're not worthy, you know, don't just, you know, well, like it's frustrating because I already have the world tell me that. So let me live the life that I want to live the best I can. And if I am in the middle of doing something and I found out, oh, well, I can't do this, then let me figure that out.

You know, you, you don't tell me that you can't do it. Let me figure that out and, and, and if I do find it, I can do it, I'll do it a different way then. Ok, that's fine. You know, don't judge me by that either. You know, like, don't judge me by what you can, what you can see, you judge me by what you cannot do. You know. So I think, yeah, I think that is probably number one frustration I get is people just assume right away or they just treat me as like I am not a value human being because, you know, I mean, you don't know what I can bring to the table. There's a lot that I can bring, there's a lot that I experience. I've done probably more travel than a lot of people have known. You know, I'm educated. I had my masters. I went, I did that, you know, I work, I work full time. I work two jobs, you know, I work for the government. I'm a federal employee. Like, you know, and if people don't look at me, they probably wouldn't ever think of that for me. You know, they would just assume, like, probably, like, I just stay home or, you know, I don't know. Or I just, whatever it may be that, you know, I don't drive, I must have someone that takes care of me.

I must have someone that drives me over and that's like, not true at all. And that's like with a lot of people that they don't, you know, if you don't get to know them, you're gonna give them a chance, you know? I don't know that about them, you know? Oh, yeah. Yes. Those are all very, very big and true things that I think we can all relate to on different levels and learn from on different levels because even just being a person with a disability doesn't mean you're not an asshole to it. Like, just like we have our own assumptions we need to work through for sure. Yeah. No, of course, of course, you know, there's a lot of the people who, who have disability but it's not visible, you know, and I, I feel like some of those people get treated even worse because not visible and they're just like, oh, well, what is wrong with you? Oh, that's the thing I hate the most. Please do not come up to me and go. What's wrong with you? Like it happened? Yeah, like I hate when people ask that because I've had people come to me like, what's wrong with you? And I literally looked at them. I go, there's nothing wrong with me, sir. Goodbye. You know what's, what's wrong with you? That's not how you approach someone.

You just go, you know, if you wanna, if you wanna know what happened and you just say, oh, you know, can you tell me why you're in a wheelchair? Don't, you know, act like I'm doing some like dirt or something, you know, like you're, you're not. Yeah, just have a, have a full conversation with me like, oh, ok. I see you in a wheelchair. Can I ask you what happened? Do you mind telling me, you know, do it like that? Don't just bump to somewhere that like what's wrong with? Yeah, you know, oh why you like that? It's just like what? And even even then like who are you that I should give you the time of day and stop for a second to tell you about my life story. Like my friend. Exactly. Like what, why do strangers feel they have entitled to know someone else's business? I don't know you, sir. Why do I have to tell you what is my, this is my personal to me. You know, you know, I, I tell people when I'm comfortable to tell them I'm not an open book and I shouldn't have to be an open book because no, no able bodied person is an open book. So why do you expect that from me? So let me, you know, like if you want to know what's going on in my life, get to know me first.

And then when I feel comfortable with you, then I'm gonna tell you my stuff, you know, seriously because we my name first. Yeah, like, hey, how are you doing? None of that. Can you imagine if I just went into like a Starbucks and I saw someone with a bad haircut or what's wrong with you? Your haircut sucks. What's wrong with you? Like, can you like, you just look at something physically? What's wrong with you? Like really? Somebody has M mask socks. I would be like, what's wrong with you all, all of those things? You would be like. That's weird. But somehow it's not weird to do that, someone in a wheelchair, but it's tiring. Like luckily for you, you, you've got this strong character, this confident character, not everybody has that, that could be so draining. You know what I mean? And even for you, like not saying that it's not harmful or not draining to you, but we're assuming that you don't cry every night about this. No, no, no, no, don't cry about it. No, I don't. But you're right because there are some people that really does affect them.

You know, and, and that can really trigger someone. Like, if you go to someone because you don't know what the person is dealing with. You don't know what they have been through. You don't know what they have been told their entire life and then you should just go up to some random story. You'll be like, what's wrong with you? You know, they just make that person feel worse about themselves, you know, and you could trigger something out of something in a person that makes them just like, you know, be like, man, I'm, I'm a piece of garbage and that's not true. Like you're not a piece of garbage, you know. Yeah. Moral the story. Leave your assumptions at the door, leave your questions at home. Exactly. You know, the people you see in front of you like people. Apparently it's very hard and I think that's all people want, like all disabled people. They just want, like I said, we just want to be treated equal, ok? And just treat us how you would want to be treated because I don't think anybody is gonna want some person going up to them just asking questions like that or asking them personal questions when you don't even know that person's name, you know, like that's just inappropriate to me like I wouldn't go with some random stranger and be like, oh, well, tell me about why you're so fast.

So, you know, I'm not gonna do that. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna make any attribute of yours and decide that number one it's wrong. And then number two, you, you have, I have the right to know why. Like, yeah, exactly. Absolute trash. Anyways. We could all take a nice deep breath here and uh relax, refresh renew. Have our daily scream, maybe have a daily scream after this. You know, I was gonna say meditate, but we can scream too. Yeah, like, yeah, yeah, able bodied people. Uh, got a lot to do. Um, obviously everyone does really, but it's always nice to find people that we could just show up and talk to about this stuff and not have to, um, worry about offending anyone or worrying about their feelings or anything, just show up and be ourselves and just talk about this, all of this annoying crap. Yeah. You know, and I'm not saying like all able bodied people are like that but like I said, I have amazing people around me and I've met some amazing people along along the way but there's just some few of you out there not just, you know, behave like this and I think like just think twice before you just say something or do something, you know, think about it, you know, think about your actions.

Think about your words because your words do affect people, you know, um and just, you know, like really take, take the opportunity to get to know that person because you don't know how amazing that person might be or what positivity or insight that they might bring into your life. But you won't know that unless you give them a chance. Mhm This is can give everybody a chance to just be a person. So yeah, thank you, Maria. Mariah does not do social media. So you cannot, please don't come looking for me because I don't, don't like social media. There's nothing. That's it. That's all you got from her. So this is it. She's gonna disappear back and go back into your shelf, going back into your shell. I just, I deleted all my a social media account because I got annoyed after a while and yeah, I just don't find, you know, my life are interesting to be posting every day the point. So this is it. So if you miss Mariah, you're just going to have to rewind this episode and reminisce, that's all.

And if you want to see Mariah on Love is Blind, please. Yeah, let us know when the, when love is wine is in Florida or Tennessee, she go to her mom's house, we'll sign her up. I don't know if I can handle that. Um It'd be so funny and great like it would be amazing. Oh gosh, that would be so awkward. Mhm Yeah. Right. Um Disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some love. Don't forget to subscribe, rate or write a review of our channel. We're on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, player, F M Google Podcasts and more. You can also find us on Instagram at disabled girls who lift.

E68: Wheelchair Users are People Too w/Moriah
E68: Wheelchair Users are People Too w/Moriah
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