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Inclusive Shouldn’t Mean Difficult

Have you ever been walking through the grocery store, and happen to pause by the floral section? Maybe you glance at the fresh hydrangeas, and decide hey, I should treat myself. Maybe you see a bouquet of sunflowers and decide to take them home to your daughter. Maybe the daisies would put a smile on your coworker’s face.

Sometimes the flowers last for weeks. Sometimes, you’ve purchased them and they’re already dying.

No, my mom didn’t try to buy me dead flowers. How would she know that the stems had rotted out and couldn’t absorb water?

The thing is, it will still take these flowers awhile to die. So I chopped off the stems right at the base of the blossom and they can just float in a bowl.

They won’t open up. But that’s okay. That doesn’t diminish their value. It doesn’t dissolve their beauty.

So, if we can still see beauty in a dying flower, why can’t we see it in a person?

I mean at the end of the day, we’re all dying. Awfully slow, but its the inevitable truth of not being immortal.

It took me a long time to find my voice, and it took a lot for me to ever submit my first piece to The Mighty. Since then, I’ve had countless other pieces published. No, I don’t submit everything I have to say there, it isn’t that type of platform.

But, the problem I’m discovering is that although their are hundreds of wonderful people there, everyone is always sad. All the time. There is no break. Every article is followed up with information on suicide hotlines and where you can get help.

The new “thoughts and questions” section, is full of people who would rather impose than share.

I simply shared how scatterbrained I was after completing all of my disability paperwork and was attacked for not doing so with a lawyer.

But the truth is, that site, it isn’t meant to be a safe haven. It is a place where people redundantly tell the same story over and over in hopes of reaching the wider population. Its a collection of “what I wish people knew about ‘x’ condition” and “what ‘x’ condition is really like”. Yet, the people reading and identifying with these stories, are the people who could have sat down and written them on their own. Maybe, they’re bridging the gap between all of us stuck at home, alone, who need to know we aren’t going at it alone. But if that was the case, they’d be publishing more pieces simply sharing day to day journeys.

Which brings to light the idea of being “inclusive”

Sorry, I know that concept makes the whole wide world just cringe at the thought of having to take extra steps and make the entirety of whatever their planning on doing, more difficult and complicated.

But, the whole idea of it, isn’t complicated and it doesn’t really require all that much.

Yes, inclusivity should mean that people are taking the time to analyze what everyone needs, ensuring that “representation is equal”

**Side note… exclusivity is a word, but inclusivity isn’t. I think that proves my point all in itself. 

But in my book, that isn’t at all what I want or what I need.

Is it really that hard for an architect to design a building that is ADA compliant and truly accessible? I mean, a simple google search can tell you the needed landing spaces and ramp angles. And common sense should tell you that those “accommodations” shouldn’t be hidden away at the back of some entry way or around the block.

Is it really that hard for the next up and coming t-shirt company owner to recognize that EVERYONE loves a soft and cozy t-shirt? I mean, really you’re saving all of $3 per shirt to get the regular t-shirt, when you’ll still make a profit selling something that feels great to the touch? Hell, I guarantee you’re going to sell a lot more of your super soft shirts, simply because people will keep buying whatever you come out with next. And eventually someone, on some platform like The Mighty, will mention your brand and boom you’ve got a million people all wanting to buy your shirt.

We live in a world that is constantly creating new inventions to better serve people. Ergonomic this and life hack that… Yet, with all these inventions, we’re still failing to even consider accommodations that people lacking “good” health may need.

It isn’t until it will serve the entire community better, that the need is assessed and implemented.

Metal or heavy duty plastic reusable straws help the entire environment, but their popularity didn’t exist until their was a huge call for an all out straw ban… until someone spoke up and said hey, not everyone can pick up their drink, we need a less wasteful straw, not no straws.

Stepping away from the realm of structural and materialistic inclusivity, we as a society are failing when it comes to just including those in our lives, who lead different lifestyles.

Let me tell you how refreshing it was to run out for breakfast with my best friend last week. It was a last minute thing, and she happened to be free. We talked and talked and talked about all sorts of things. We laughed. We enjoyed each other’s company. And we didn’t talk about my health once. Sure, she asked me how I was doing, but it was left at that.

Why is that so difficult for so many people? Yes, I may spend a huge amount of time dealing with this condition. They don’t say being chronically ill is a full time job as some joke. I’d say I “work” overtime between the research and the doctors appointments and the time spent recovering. But, just like any other job, it’s healthy to leave it behind when you “clock out” and for me, going out with friends is me clocking out.

Just think for a second about the topic of conversation you had with a friend recently. I’m guessing you’re both healthy (sorry awful assumption but for this intent, I’m allowing it)… now if you’re healthy, what did you talk about? My best guess would be Carter V or the Kavanaugh hearings. I bet you didn’t produce the album, and I guarantee you aren’t actually a part of the trial… yet here you are talking about current events…

My point is that you don’t buy the flowers because you know their going to die soon. You buy the flowers for the momentary enjoyment. The concept of being inclusive, is about enjoyment. So your friend in a wheelchair doesn’t have to struggle to find his way into the restaurant because of a lack of an adequate ramp. So your friend who suffered a miscarriage can “clock out” and enjoy your company.

It isn’t hard for you with everything else in your life, so it shouldn’t be hard when it comes to those around you who are fighting battles you may not understand.

And, this is why I won’t ever submit everything I have to say to some other blog. I write for me and I write for you. And in writing for you, I’m accepting that we aren’t the same. Thoughts don’t change because of who they are exposed to, so why spend time changing what I have to say to appeal to a specific group? Choosing not to have a tailored audience, is choosing to be inclusive.

And, it’s pretty damn easy.

A.

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