Poppy and I went to the shops earlier with me in my wheelchair and I kept ticcing very loudly: “I’m being punished for being a sinner!” and “I have an evil spirit inside me!”
I’ve no idea why these tics suddenly surfaced but I do know from previous experience that this is exactly what some people think when they see and hear me.
Believe it or not, there have been times when strangers have told me I’m possessed and in need of exorcism. I generally find this upsetting (though sometimes a bit amusing) and difficult to respond to. Hearing my own tics play up to this idea made us both laugh.
It reminded me of an occasion Leftwing Idiot had told me about when he was out with a friend who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. They saw a couple on the street looking nervous at their approach. Leftwing Idiot said to his friend, “Go on, do your disabled impression.” She took great pleasure in doing this, making a loud noise and generally playing up to the stereotypical image of a disabled person in a wheelchair. The couple jumped with shock and hurried past, much to the amusement of Leftwing Idiot and his friend.
Sometimes playing with negative preconceptions of disability can be fun and having a laugh about it with a friend can help to neutralise the impact of bad interactions.