When a disability becomes truly disabling

There are two things I try to avoid on this blog: Politics (etc) and Rants. It’s not that I’m not interested in politics (in which I include social issues and so on), I am. I’m not interested in the attacking arguments that always seem to ensue online even if they would never occur in real life. Oh, and it’s not that I don’t want to rant, heck I do it all the time to people in reality, but rather that I don’t want to preserve a moments irrational annoyance when there are usually many more important things to focus on. That said, sometimes, there are things that you can’t stop thinking about and then you simply have to put them out there. This is such an annoyed stream of thought and is therefore not for facebook
Yesterday I had my first day of second semester classes. It was an exciting, and a little scary, day. Some of the classes I’m taking are going to be a bit of a challenge for me, to say the least, this time but I’ll say more about that later this week in the long happy stuff post that is coming. However, I have this extra challenge of, before each lesson, I have to explain about my vision problem and ask for the slide shows on my computer, and possibly, but rarely, some other modifications.
Now, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. I learned the hard way last semester that, to be taken seriously, I had to refer to it not as a ‘problem’ but as a ‘disability’, which it is but I never referred to it as such. That’s fine. I’m working in a different language place and words are important sometimes.
Actually, my first two classes went really well with regard to that. My Logic teacher was lovely. My Text and Genre teacher was fine too. A lot easier than last semester… strange what a change of word can do! Then came my final subject which I am not going to name. I actually expected this one to be the easiest. Nope.
This teacher doesn’t finish her slides until a few minutes before the lecture. Fine, she can email them…? After some pressing I got an agreement that she would print them, not too graciously given. Another girl came in and ended up asking, I assume, for similar. I wasn’t really aware of their conversation until I noticed the teacher was pointing me out and suggesting this girl, who also has some visual problem, and I should be friends. 
My first thought: Oh my goodness! This is great! It’s not just me who’s being awkward and causing trouble. I’m so pleased.
I sat through the class unable to join in because the teacher wouldn’t provide me with the slides for the highly visual subject.
I came home and realised I felt really upset. I couldn’t really work out why until I was on the phone to my mother and she worked out exactly what happened. I’d been made to feel like a burden. I’d been told I wasn’t going to be provided with what I needed for the whole next semester. And moreover, there had been a real layer of discrimination and ridicule which I hadn’t instantly noticed but which really had an effect on me.
If a black person walked into the room would you say “Oh, there’s another black person there. Go sit with them. You should be friends”? What about if they’re in a wheelchair? I jolly well hope the answer would be no. And the thing is, I think it would be for her too. It’s the same thing.
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My mother wants me to complain about this and she is probably right. There have been enough little moments where my vision problem has caused more trouble than ever before – there’s an institutional problem that’s just been reflected in this one woman’s seeming cattiness. At the moment, I don’t want to. I don’t want to be that one who fights to change things any more because I’ve done it so many times, admittedly for others. If I don’t get what I need physically in this class then I’ll have to do something, of course. If the teacher says something again, I hope I will have the guts to call her out on it there and then. More than anything, I hope she won’t and I won’t need to and everything will work out fine. I hope.
I have Science next, my first class. This is the subject where I am likely to need to most assistance and things changed. I’m always nervous about asking for help but today I’m dreading it. Mind you, how I feel right now, I’m also likely to shout at anyone who tries to deny me what I need. Well, not shout but y’know, be so annoyed with yesterday that I’ll be highly assertive or cry.
Anywho, mini rant over. I deliberately didn’t go too much into what happened because talking about someone without their being aware is just mean so if this seems disproportionate it’s because I have deliberately written about how I felt with only minimal necessary context. It is a rant, after all!. Already thinking about not posting it but I’m going to because heck, emotional, badly written, egotistical and snarky as this post may be… it’s talking about a part of my life!
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Ending on a higher note. I spoke about it with my friends last night (because, although I didn’t look it, I was actually upset) and they are the most wonderful, supportive people. I’m so very lucky in so very many ways.
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