My Boyfriend Is More Than His Disability

Recently I have felt hurt and let down by some people around me; those that I foolishly thought would be better people, should be better people. I held them up to a different standard than I perhaps would do with others in my life. I'm not hurt because they've said or done anything to me, I am hurt because they are part of a society that I believe still sees disabled individuals as not as important as able bodied people. That some how they have different thoughts and feelings to the rest of us. 

Spoiler alert: They Don't.

My boyfriend Martyn, fellow blogger and rather lovely grumpy sod (I'm actually grumpier than him believe it or not!) suffers from a type of Muscular Dystrophy known as Facio-Scapular-Humeral Muscular Dystrophy (known as FSH or FSHD for short) He is registered disabled and has been for over half of his life. 

He isn't just disabled though. He isn't just the man in the funny bobble hat that makes jokes and wears hilarious (slightly offensive) Christian t-shirts. He isn't stupid just because he sits in a wheelchair. He isn't a burden, useless or something for able bodied people to look down on. 

So why do some people treat him this way?

Why do people think it is okay to not give the same amount of time and love to those who are disabled as they would do to the able bodied people in their lives? Those who are disabled are not lesser beings. They still have plenty of ways to contribute to society, communities, family and friendship groups yet so many, including my boyfriend, are much easier to cast aside than those around them that are not disabled. 

It's easier to plan events and leave the wheelchair user because it's such a ball ache to find an accessible venue. It's far more fun to have a night out if you are not responsible for pushing a  person in a wheelchair around. It's far easier to accept the disabled person giving up things they love so others can be happy. No one thinks how isolated that makes the disabled individual.

Is it a lack of thought? Lack of care? Is it that he isn't seen as important as the rest of us around him? No one would admit it but those are the questions I am left with this week. Do people really think that they should have things better, that they should come first, that they should be higher up the list? I struggle with this a lot and you can easily argue these questions stand for other groups in society too but this week is about my partner who I think has an awful lot to give in this world and just gets shut down.

Like with many disabled individuals I believe those around my boyfriend see him for the things he cannot do anymore. The things that others can do so it is easier to put him aside. Never mind he is a qualified teacher who may have given up his career to teach his children when the school system failed them he still gets phone calls asking if he's willing to be a supply teacher!

He's a talented artist who channels his faith into paintings and drawings for those around him he thinks need some uplifting in their lives. Which brings me on to how religious he is. Some of his friends know him as 'the crap christian' but honestly, if you could see our home, his bookshelves, his Bible studying, his nightly routine dedicated to the Lord then you would know these things are said in jest because he is incredibly well read, so gifted with his knowledge and he wants to share this with others  without being preachy but why can't he? Because he's surrounded by people who don't respect him, either as a person or just his opinions but instead of coming together to talk about it, debate it it's just lets shut the door on the disabled person until he gets the message and stays in his little house.

Well now he is staying in his little home. With me. To talk with me, to help me learn the things I want to learn. To help me with my faith, eat dinner with me, watch films with me, read with me and yes, feel hurt with me. But that's just fine with me because unlike those we thought we knew I love him and respect him for who he is.

Stop seeing disabled people as less. Stop feeling sorry for them. Stop thinking about what they could have done if they were not disabled and focus on what they can do. Most importantly, check your attitude.

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude" - Scott Hamilton

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