I stumbled across the Everyday Sexism Project a while ago. The project highlights the sexism that people, primarily women, experience every day.
I thought of it last week, or the one before, in relation to ableism, or discrimination against disability, when something happened at my retail job.Dyslexia Means I Stay AWAY From Cash Registers
One of the cashiers has made it her mission to get me trained in on the register. I’ve told her repeatedly that no, I’m not interested. Yes, I have run registers in the past and it never ended well because of my LD.
No, I’m not selling myself short. Yes, I CAN learn, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t end poorly at this job. I work better on the floor, helping customers find what they need.
NO. I do NOT want to be trained in on the new system to make YOUR life easier.
It’s gotten frustrating enough that I actively avoid her, because it’s obvious she won’t listen.
Since getting more conscious of the way language can be used to discriminate via insults, I’ve gotten a little more sensitive to the other forms of ableism that happens every day.
When it comes to disability, it also happens differently, depending on which type of functioning is effected in your life. For me, it’s mostly learning based. Some people automatically assume I’m stupid when they find out I’m neurodivergent.
Others use that bit of information to compound attacks on my gender.
Chronic Illness Counts, Too
It also applies to chronic illness. I’m asthmatic, and I have a hard time finding medication for certain things that doesn’t have severe side effects.
Allergy medication is a good example. The ones that work all have debilitating side effects. One causes chronic migraines, another triggered a severe asthma attack and the one I take as a last resort knocks me out at a half dose. Full doses leave me completely useless the next day, regardless of how early I take it the day before.
So, I’ve turned to nettle tea. It fights allergy by prompting the body to create a very mild antihistamine reaction. Herbology lesson time!
Nettle stings when you brush up against it, because the little hairs on the leaves and stems deliver histamine into your skin. Your immune system then creates antihistamines, which is why you welt up.
When the leaves are dried, the hairs fall out, but traces of histamine stays in the leaves. Brewing it into tea dilutes the histamine, and the natural reaction is mild enough in most people to counteract the histamine response that causes allergies. Although that plant has been used for centuries, our country hasn’t done much study on it, or many other herbs. Some initial studies have been promising.
It’s worked for me, but certain parties feel the need to rip me down when I share what works for me with them. Western medication is an absolute last resort for me, especially when it can be so unpredictable and potentially deadly.
That fierce attack on how I manage my health is a form of ableism. Not everyone can safely rely on the options western medication has to offer. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who must rely on it to live. They also get accused of all sorts of terrible things.
The saddest part is, I know I’m not alone in these experiences. That’s why I want to talk about it. It must be discussed.