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Thanks but no thanks for the stickers

A Few of my Favorite Things spelled out on a background of star stickers of red, yellow, blue and green
sticker book I made when I was 5

Nana gave me stickers because she loved me

I used to have very fond memories of stickers as a kid because my Nana would send me stickers and I used to stick them all over the paper. I made sticker books. Because I have limited use of my hands, placing stickers on a page was easy. Now that I am older, I see myself receiving stickers in a different way. People offer me stickers just for being me. For some reason, they feel I, would like a sticker because I’m in a wheelchair. The impression I get is that they think I’m around five years old and that I enjoy stickers. I did enjoy stickers when I was 5 years old. News flash…… I am twenty-five years old and I don't need stickers. Just because I am disabled doesn't mean I want a sticker and It does not mean that my neurological age is five to nine years old.

A sticker book titled Allie's Happy Book with Blue's Clues stickers of mailbox, Blue, Magenta, shove and pail and Tic Tock the clock
sticker book I made when I was 5

Strangers give me stickers as a reward

One particular time that sticks out in my mind the most was when I was at a carnival in college. There was a giant potato truck there so my girlfriend and I decided to take photos in front of the truck. This guy approached us, I thought he was going to ask if we wanted him to take a photo of us but instead, he handed me a sticker but not my girlfriend. I hid my emotions until after he walked away. I was shocked and upset but not surprised. Even though I was upset, I don’t think he meant to hurt my feelings by taking pity on me because I was in a wheelchair. I know he thought he was doing something nice, but he didn’t seem like he knew how to handle this situation. He may not have had too many experiences with disabled people or the experiences he has had were different. I realize now I should have taken the time to educate him. To communicate with him. To use my voice to tell him why I felt disrespected by the simple act of a sticker.

a giant potato on a red truck with a banner that says the famous potato tour.  Lisa in a red sweater and blue jeans and me in my wheelchair wearing a black poncho and jeans
Lisa and me standing in front of a giant potato truck

I give stickers as a joke

I have been able to see the humor in this situation now and don’t take it personally. My girlfriend and I see it as an inside joke. When one of us does something ordinary and expected we give each other a sticker. I think disability is not living up to your full potential and letting challenges prevent you from moving forward. Allowing others to control your basic decisions and not have a voice for yourself. Disability can happen to anyone at any time, your race, culture, gender, or social class do not define your disability, much less cause it. They may impact your journey but they don’t define it. Be part of society even though society does not welcome you with open arms, we are not all poor pitiful burdens on society. The path will be different but if you see it through it will be worth it. Every once in a while someone will give you a sticker because they don’t know what else to do. Thanks but no thanks for the stickers.

Thank you for reading until the end!

This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see read the smoking-hot story about being a fire hazard and The View From My Wheelchair.

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