I have a "Hidden Disability"
No wheelchair, no visible deformity, no crutches.
So surely I wouldn't experience disablism?
Well, tell that to the two fat Mamas who shouted across the street at me to "eat a fucking donut!"
Or the woman behind me in the supermarket queue telling her daughter perfectly audibly that if she didn't eat properly she'd end up "looking like that" (Me)
Or the people (including a policeman) who have asked me sneeringly in crowded streets "What's wrong with you then?" when I park using my disabled badge. "You don't look disabled!" The policeman kept me there, standing in agony, and in tears with my toddler for 10 minutes, grilling me on why I was using a badge that clearly had my name and my picture on it.
But I reserve the honour of prime disablist for "Builder-Bastard" as he came to be known in our house.
I'd only been out of hospital following surgery for one day and Mum had driven me to Burger King to satisfy the terrible crap-food craving I had. As I got out of the car and hobbled slowly towards the door a van screeched into the car park without slowing down, nearly running me over.
He swept into a disabled parking space (no badge) leapt out of the van and ran into the burger joint.
Hobbling in a full minute or two later, I was furious. As my malnourished body shrinks with extreme episodes of near fatal ill health, so my feistiness often grows. For some reason I felt outraged enough to point out to the man (very pleasantly) that someone disabled might have needed the space he parked in and it might be a good idea to drive a little more slowly in restaurant car parks.
He turned round, his 6' 3" frame dwarfing my pathetic, stooped figure and asked
"What's it to you, you skinny fucking Belsen refugee bitch?"
Astonished and shocked, I told him I was disabled myself.
"What's wrong with you then, not getting fucked enough?"
Shaking with terror, something in me refused to let this giant bully win.
Calmly but oh-so-sneeringly I replied "I've just had 5 more growths removed from my bowels - 7 days ago in fact - and I can't walk very well."
He didn't miss a beat. Remember, this is a busy burger bar packed with customers and staff.
"Fuck you, slag." and he turned back to face the young lad behind the counter.
By then I was furious. I didn't care.
"Well, well!" I sneered in my most patronising voice, "What a catch you are! Your wife must be so proud!! What a big strong man she married, a man who screams at 5 stone cancer patients for kicks!!"
He didn't answer, took his burger and left.
I was shaking like a leaf, my legs would barely hold me up and I leant on the counter to stop myself collapsing. I was gulping for air.
Suddenly the burger bar erupted at once "Bastard!!" "What an arse" "If he'd stayed one more minute, I'd have...." "If he'd said one more thing I'd have...."
But they didn't did they? Not one of them? They heard every word, they watched a big strong man bully a small, sick woman in the most abusive and disgusting terms, but no-one said a word. Not one single person.
They let me fight my own battle, they looked away. Who knew if this disgusting pig was evil enough to punch me? Who knew where it would end up as he thrust his face right into mine, pointing his finger and covering my cheeks with flecks of furious, ignorant spit?
Oh believe me, people are willing to look away.