It’s The Little Things

So often, it’s the little things that spark my frustration. True, the broad, sweeping issues matter more in the grand scheme, but the minor, day-to-day irritations eat at me the most. Instructions I can’t read, inaccessible features of a website, people asking rude questions–these annoyances burrow beneath my skin and make me curse my disability (or, more accurately, the way the world treats that disability).
There’s another side to this, however. Just as I’m most ruffled by the tiniest details, so too am I cheered by equally inconsequential things. A door opened at just the right time, a person taking the time to describe an image, information provided in an alternate format—these are the gestures and accommodations that remind me the world is not falling apart. No matter how hopeless I feel, how acute my frustration, how black my outlook, there will always be some mundane occurrence or other to soothe my spirit, at least for a while.
My fundamental mistake, I think, is failing to acknowledge these happenings and give myself the space to be grateful. It’s easy to express gratitude for the landmark victories and grand gestures, but I’m less likely to stop what I’m doing and spend a moment simply appreciating the good that’s quietly and often anonymously done in the world each day.
My regular readers know just how averse I am to trumpeting positive mantras and ignoring uncomfortable truths. Disability advocacy is still sorely needed. The world has a long, long way to go before the personhood and humanity of people with disabilities is fully recognized and integrated into society’s structure. So many great leaps have yet to be taken, and there are a thousand battles left to fight. I’m aware of this, and so are fellow disabled people.
Yet, for my own well-being, I’m compelled to devote more energy to revelling in the simple kindness and thoughtfulness of others. Thanking a developer for prioritizing accessibility is, for now at least, just as important as calling another out for failing to do so. Writing social media posts about kindness, generosity, and hope should be as habitual as writing about injustice and prejudice. Venting my frustration is necessary, but expressing gratitude is necessary, too.
Even as we tell others how they have done wrong, we ought to tell them how they have done right. They may not listen or even care, but if we don’t give people the tools to improve, they never will. If we censure fellow disabled people, we must also build them up, for we all walk the same path.
I won’t close my eyes and make believe that the good outweighs the bad. I won’t ask anyone else to do that, either. Keep calling out what’s wrong in the world; your voice is vital, and if we do not speak, no one else will do so for us. In your own life, though, among those you come into direct contact with, focus on the good, as well. If a stranger does something you like, tell them so. If a disabled peer does something of which you approve, let them know.
Yes, we need to be watchful. We mustn’t become complacent and hide in a cocoon of warm, fuzzy feelings. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t benefit from a few moments of happiness now and then, though.
So, take a moment. Think of the last time someone understood you, or supported you, or treated you the way you want to be treated. Reach back to that point—I hope it wasn’t too long ago—and remember how it made you feel.
Don’t forget.
It truly is the little things…

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One thought on “It’s The Little Things

  1. it’s often very difficult to know when to speak up and when not to and when to be discrete. I know from experience that if I witness any bad behaviour and I’m out with my parents, I want to say something but if I think I want to say something I’m told that if I do say something I won’t be allowed out again. However there are times speaking up is normal and some of us we are very proud people who don’t like to ask for help. I’ve never had somebody insist if I say I don’t need help that they think they know where I need to go as I’ve alwys got my mother with me whenever I go out except when I’m out with a friend I’m always with them at all times a lot of the time. another thing, a few weeks ago I was in a mood and felt the need to vent all because I’d asked somebody I thought of as a friend years ago what was in a photo of her and she gave very little information. This woman when I told her the reason I wanted more information about the photo, she said that me being blind wasn’t what she had a problem with it was my response to what she told me was in the image but I suspect what she said was totally different to what she implied. minute I asked whether her mother taught her about diversity that was the end of that. so I am reluctant to ask what is in an image just in case I get that same attitude again and it’s one of the questions I ask people to see if they are friendship worthy. I may be sounding a little harsh but it’s one of the only ways to weed out the dead deadwood and knowing who I can call friend.

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