Unless you blatantly ‘look’ disabled, then Blue Badges are both a blessing and a curse.
The blessings are obvious.
However, for me the curses only emerged when I fell into a limbo land of no longer needing my wheelchair, yet still needing accessible parking.
Since having a Blue Badge, I’ve read numerous horror stories about chronically ill people being wrongly judged and rudely challenged about their right to park in a disabled bay. And the narrative behind their rudeness is always the same: ‘you don’t look disabled.’
God, just typing that out makes me want to bury my face in my hands at the idiocy of these people.
Because of this, I have therefore felt incredibly lucky (I hope I’m not about to jinx myself) … to have not experienced this kind of prejudice so far.
Yet, it happens so often to others, it feels like it MUST be ‘my turn’ by now. Like surely, any day now, I’m going to find myself either a) justifying myself to a complete stranger despite my health being none of their business, or b) pulling on my ‘Big Girl’ pants and actually telling said stranger that my eligibility to park in a disabled bay is in fact, none of their business.
Paranoia with a Side Order of Guilt
I’m always on a paranoid lookout for people misjudging me, and poised for a confrontation whenever I park in a disabled bay. Or the opposite – I’m slumped down almost hiding behind the wheel. And it doesn’t feel right.
Likewise, the guilt I carry also doesn’t feel right.
‘Why on earth do you feel guilty?’ I hear you ask.
Well, I feel guilty on days when my health is struggling-but-could-be-worse, and I simply DON’T KNOW if I need to park in a disabled bay, or if I’d manage in a space further away. The guilt of taking a space from ‘someone who really needs it’ can be a real head-fuck when I’m not sure who needs it most (ie., someone else or me!).
So, on those days, if I choose to park in a disabled bay – I do it with a heavy weight of guilt sprawled across my shoulders IN ADDITION TO feeling paranoid that I’m being judged, and poising myself ready for a confrontation. Or simply hiding.
Honestly, it’s a lot to take on when I’m only popping out for a pint of milk! 😂