In March 2016, I hurt my knee badly. I had to use a cane to walk until November 2016, before I was able to put it aside. It was a long process and it still isn’t perfect even a full year after, but I was lucky. I haven’t used my cane to walk in a few months. My knee is doing better, my body is not as I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that affects muscle strength, but for now, as long as I stick to flat surfaces I can walk normally for short period of times.
Something I didn’t expect was that people would still make daily reference to my cane months after I stopped using it. It’s as if my cane became my descriptor and even though I no longer need a walking aid, it is still how people see me. The girl with a cane.
I started to wonder if this is how people see individuals with disabilities. Do they stop at the walking aid and not look further to see the actual person? Just because someone needs help to get around, doesn’t mean they aren’t complete and amazing individuals that deserve the same amount of space to be themselves in the world.