<strong>Invisible Disabilities are REAL.

Enlighten yourselves, educate others.

A bus driver literally blamed me for him not letting me off the bus because I hit the button but wasn’t at the door by the time we got to the stop last week. Because everyone stranding in their own two feet who doesn’t have a cane or crutches can keep their balance on a moving bus and has no problem hanging their body weight off an arm.

Me hanging my weight off my dominant arm hasn’t been reliably safe since Thanksgiving before last. (Bad lifting decision at the grocery, turkey was not involved.)

Lately they’ve started pulling off before the last person on reached the first seats even when that person had gray hair and looked slightly frail, so apparently they’re operating on the ‘mobility aids only’ definition of who gets to make it to the priority seats. I need to start reporting the ones that break the federal regulation about the white line – I nearly face-planted this winter thanks to one who pulled out before I could even tap my pass and then seemed offended that I death-gripped every vertical piece of metal to a seat the next time we stopped.

But I don’t have a visible sign of a physical problem because even right after I got hurt using a sling to reduce joint mobility was the worst thing I could have done. People my age decide to race me to open subway seats and flash me smug ‘I won’ looks while I death grip hug a pole – no documentation means I’ve got zero chance of ousting them. I get looks for trying to get on buses before little old ladies because I can use any open seat if I have the time to get there but they can kick people out of priority without having to ask.

I’d like to try riding standing again where there’s a chance to give up and sit if things go wrong, since it’s been long enough for me to mostly heal, but all it might take is one person seeing me ride standing to mark me as a liar even if I ended up in pain for a week afterward and learned I should never do that again. And this is the kind of thing that is lifetime vulnerable to reinjury.

Invisible disabilities aren’t just mental.

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