← The Building Blocks of Youth
No Bulb in the Socket
Posted on August 24, 2018 by terrywiens
“Life is to short to drag a trunk of suppressed negative feelings around, dump that crap and travel life’s road with an overnight bag. The trip is much more enjoyable when not weight down with old baggage.” – Terry Wiens (2018)

CONFESSION – ALERT, if course language and angry outbursts affect your sensitivities you should stop reading now.

“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them” – Alfred Adler

Every now and then I just feel the need to lose it. I get tired of the “political correct” approach, I get tired of worrying over others sensitivity when it is very apparent they don’t give a damn about mine. I get tired of swallowing my feelings to the point where I’m a festering volcano of emotional sludge ready to blow just to avoid hurting someones ego. This is one of the moments.

I thought the light had come on last night until I woke up this morning and realized there is no longer a bulb in the socket. The “flickering” of the light was simply the shorting of the power running through the empty socket. Society has unscrewed the light bulb. I am fucking tired of this. I am not just tired of how society can overlook so many aspects of inclusion I am also fed up with many in the disabled community who want everybody else to do all of their advocating.

I’m sorry but just because you broke your back doesn’t mean you don’t have a spine. Start standing up for yourself and quit waiting for the next thing to screw up before you take a stand. Grow a pair and start to #SpeakOut before you lose something else, rights are not guaranteed if you don’t fight for them. You can choose to be the doormat of societies compassion or you can choose to be an agent of change. If you want a system that is fair and protective then be an agent of change.

I have been an activist for 50+ years. Over the last ten years I have been attending the funerals of my mentors and role models. That generation that laid the foundations of so many of the rights I enjoy today. Sadly they are gone and it is now my generation that is fighting to protect and strengthen the work they did.

Fifty fucking years of fighting for access, services and recognition. Fifty fucking years of fighting for the right to employment, the right to live where I want, the right to self-determine and, when you add all of these things up, the right to be a contributing member of my community. And still I get calls from people or organizations asking for help. I’m an activist, not an enabler. I’m fucking tired of it, I helped set the table, I’m not going to cut your meat. The tools are there, make use of them.

Bar tables to high for a wheelchair seat
Bar tables rather than restaurant seating, eating your meal off of a stool

Yes it is frustrating when you get to a theatre just to discover the closed captioning equipment isn’t working. Yes it is frustrating to check out the newest restaurant just to discover there are three steps into the place or you can get into the place but all of the tables are bar style tables so you have to eat your meal off the stool where, twenty minutes earlier, somebodies fat ass had been sitting. Yes it is frustrating to call an Uber just to discover a driver who refuses to take your service animal due to their allergies. Yes it is frustrating to go to the cinema for a new movie just to have your friends sit ten rows behind you while you get a crick in your neck spending the entire movie staring up from the “disabled” seating level.

But these things won’t change because you send me an e-mail. I may be able to teach you about advocacy but I’ll be damn if I am going to continue to fight your battles. This new generation needs to learn to #SpeakOut. Quit riding the coattails of those who came before you. The system is eroding and you have to learn how to defend it. The things you are enjoying today were fought for by many people that came before you so quit “settling”, stop the “it could be worse”, that type of groupthink just encourages erosion of rights.

That’s my little rant of the month. In the meantime meet Ace Ratcliff. She calls herself a “disability justice advocate”. I call her the future of change makers and one of the new faces of social justice. If you know other young activists let me know and I can highlight them. Time for the next generation to step forward and #SpeakOut

Put a bulb in that socket so the next time the light comes on you know it. Until then have a good day as the summer wears down…