Friday, September 21, 2012

This is important.

This woman is amazing and brave.  Please read her post.  It is important to have a voice right now. 

I am disabled.  I refused to apply for disability for nearly 2 years after my doctors told me that I should apply.  I wanted to be independent.  To take responsibility for my life as you put it.  I lived off savings from a job I had as a teenager.  I applied to every job I could.  I wasn't hired and I physically couldn't work them so that was probably for the best. 

This was 2009, right after the crash.  I was 23 years old, just out of college, and living with an incurable, untreatable genetic condition, an incurable spinal condition, and an incurable disease.  My doctors ("It's not your fault, you never had a chance,") and my empty bank account convinced me that I had to give up for now and apply.  Every day, I still feel guilty even though I shouldn't have to feel that way.  The system is set up for people like me.  I don't want to use it, but it's the reason I eat, have heat in the winter, and a roof over my head.  Every day I think maybe this new treatment, this medicine, this wheelchair, this physical therapy will help me work again. 

I had refused to apply because of pride, because I didn't want the government to pay my way in the world.  I still don't want that.  But I understand now that as a country we take care of each other.  We are supposed to understand that anything can happen at anytime to any of us and that the system, while far from perfect, is here for everyone who needs it.  Do some people abuse it?  I'm positive they do.  But most of us aren't like that.  We're just trying to live, one day at a time with our diseases, our conditions.  Our pain and our inability to live the life we imagined.  Not the big things, the ballroom and yacht dreams--the little things--walking down the aisle, picking up a glass, holding someone's hand, running, using the bathroom on our own.
I admit to having been a victim in my life. I have been robbed, bullied, sexually and emotionally abused, and attemptedly raped.  I was a victim then and I healed and grew strong and rose above it.  NOT on the government's dime, might I add.  Now, my own immune system is attacking me.  My DNA is flawed.  I do not consider myself a victim.  I stand up against this and I fight the good fight everyday.  I fought hard to stay off government assistance and I fight hard still to go off of it one day, even though I am gently reminded by doctors that I will never get better, that I will only get worse. 

So no one has the right to say that I am not taking care of my life.  To say that I consider myself a victim.  That all I want out of life is to live off the government (that I have paid into) and bask in my pampered moocher lifestyle. 

I find it disgraceful that a candidate for president would use phrases such as "those people" or "people like that."  You do not pick and choose the people you represent in office.  But I am not an elected official and so I will use that phrase.  It is people like Mitt who instill that feeling of shame and guilt that kept me from accepting the help our government has in place for people in my situation. 

People who yell at the top of their lungs to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but they have never experienced what it's like to not be able to put your own boots on.  To have to ask for help to get dressed in the morning. 

It is important to understand that this 47% view of the world is not only cold-hearted, it's wrong.  The 47% are the disabled, our troops fighting overseas, our elderly, and our very very rich who have no need to work.   Do not belittle my fight, my daily efforts often against medical advice, by saying I don't take responsibility for my life.  Not until you've watched me put my dislocated shoulder back in place for the 3rd time today so that I can keep doing my physical therapy and maybe, maybe be well enough to work one day.   

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