Everyone has access needs, whether they want to call them that or not, it’s just that ours tend to be seen as being more awkward or difficult to meet because society isn’t set up up accommodate us.
I know it’s so hurtful when our loved ones would rather see us miss out than try to accommodate our needs, but it isn’t your fault and most definitely isn’t reflection on you as a person.
I battled with so much self-doubt as friends began to stop inviting me to things over the years. I assumed it was because I was just no fun to be around anymore, and this had me questioning my worth. I’ve come to realise that if people aren’t willing to alter their plans to include their disabled pal then that is a reflection of them and nothing to do with me at all.
Of course there is a learning curve with this kind of thing and I’ll be the first to admit that until I became disabled myself I hadn’t given much thought to accessibility beyond ramps and lifts, but there is a limit to this grace period. Your disabled friends shouldn’t have to awkwardly remind you of their access needs every single time you make plans, nor should they be made to feel like they are making things difficult by asking to be accommodated.
The world is not built for disabled people and so moving through it is hard. The inaccessibility and the ableism chips away at your spirit. Accessibility feels like a life raft being thrown your way in a hostile sea. A confirmation of the fact that you belong here too. You matter.
When friends suggest or make plans that are considerate of your needs, it’s exactly the same. To me, it always feels like a lovely big hug. It makes me feel seen and wanted.
Of course, in an ideal world this would just be the norm. People wouldn’t even need to give it a second thought because it would be so commonplace. Access needs would be being met left, right and centre and the world would be one big old disabled party. Until then though, please remember that you are not asking too much and that having access needs doesn’t make you a burden to those around you.
Your loved ones are lucky to have you, and needing accommodations doesn’t change that.