Thursday, March 13, 2014

Passing for Normal

Today at the grocery store, someone complimented me for training a service dog. I was told that I was doing a great job training him, and isn't it wonderful all the people a dog like Isaac can help, and it's just such a wonderful thing I'm doing. I'm like, uh huh, I can't even train him to stop eating Cayenne's food every time I go into the bathroom.

You know, as nice as it is to know I look "normal," the assumption that I am training Isaac really wears on me. It had actually been a couple of weeks since I last heard that. Usually I hear it at least once every time Isaac and I go somewhere.

But it's more than that.  I want to look "normal" or be accepted as "normal" but I also don't like the assumption that I don't need a service dog, that I must be training a dog for someone else (someone that does look disabled, I assume), that I don't have special needs and can't have special needs and should be able to do all the things everyone else can do.  It's hard to explain.  I'm having trouble finding the words. 

I guess I'll just say I wish diversity was respected and valued more.  I wish people didn't feel the need to divide people into "normal" and "abnormal" groups and that I could go to the grocery store and just be me, a woman with a service dog that wants to buy her apples and almond butter and yogurt and dog treats and go home, not some poor disabled girl and not some saint that trains service dogs for other poor disabled people.

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