Why disabled people shouldn’t have to out themselves

“Hide in your shell”

I am disabled. I have Aspergers and social anxiety, which is probably connected to having Aspergers. Fun fact: David Byrne of the Talking Heads said he likely had Aspergers! My disability is not one that you can’t immediately or obviously see.

One time at a convention I was volunteering for, I was interviewing someone and I didn’t maintain the best eye contact. I have eye contact problems with strangers, but I do just fine with friends or people I know and am comfortable with.

The person I was interviewing was very offended that I didn’t make eye contact and told me that I should out myself as disabled every time I interview someone. They didn’t even apologise to me. Obviously, not their words, but that’s what they were getting at.

When I told them that their suggestion was ridiculous because most of the time it doesn’t affect anyone, they told me that they are visibly disabled and it’s not difficult for them. I don’t think that invisible and visible disabilities can be equated and I think there needs to be better understanding and inclusion of disabled people.

Like a gay or a bisexual person staying in the closet for their safety, it’s often safer for a person with an invisible disability to stay in the closet. I don’t greet everyone like this “Hi, I’m Angie. I’m disabled”. That’s not how you introduce yourself to people. If I’m introducing myself, I’d probably talk about my hobbies, a movie or show I’ve been watching, or my education, depending on context.

Just because I don’t disclose my disability doesn’t mean I’m ashamed or I’m lying to you. I wish I could be cured and not have Aspergers anymore, but for the moment, there is no cure. The best I can do is learn how to function the best I can in this world.

The reason I don’t want to say anything is because people have preconceived notions about disabled people. Those prejudices can make people feel unsafe. People have assumed I’m stupid, I’m slow, I’m a robot, I can’t work, etc. I graduated secondary school at 16 by doubling up on classes, if my disability affected my intelligence levels, I couldn’t do that. I have anxiety and my mind works so fast that sometimes I get a bit lost when I speak. I don’t always outwardly show a lot of emotions, but that’s just how I express myself. I am a very hard worker and dedicated and everyone I know can attest to that.

Most of the time, disclosing a disability isn’t necessary or relevant, but there are times when you have to explain what accommodations you will need. It’s good to speak up for yourself and tell people what you need.

For example, if you have a peanut allergy, you might have to tell the airline not to serve peanuts on the flight. Or if you use a wheelchair, when making a reservation at a restaurant, you might have to ask if the restaurant is wheelchair accessible.

I need extra time on exams, a separate testing area, and I need to sit my exams on a computer rather than writing on a piece of paper. This is because I am sensitive to noise and light when I need to concentrate, I have test anxiety, and my handwriting is hard to read. I can’t concentrate if someone so much as opens a packet of crisps.

When I was a kid, my parents and the school handled everything, but from the age of 17 (when I started university), I had to speak up for myself.

I bring in my diagnosis to the designated staff at the disability office and they give me a note that I give to my teachers. Sometimes they even email a copy of the note to the teachers for me. I don’t have to explain what my disability is. I just give them the note and they should accommodate me.

I’ve had incidents where the teacher doesn’t respect my needs and that sucks. I’ve also had accommodations denied to me by the College Board (the company who administer the SATs) because of my being on the honour roll and being enrolled in mostly AP classes. That’s real ableism.

School is a place where my disability affects me and there is respect for my privacy. If I tell some person about my disability, they might out me as disabled and I don’t want that. I will tell people when I’m ready and when I feel it’s necessary. Nobody is entitled to information about my disability.

Respect the person’s wishes to remain private about their disability. They don’t owe you anything.

Advertisements

The Classic Rock Lifestyle: Australia, Part 4: Melbourne

This is the post you’ve been waiting for, my overview of Melbourne, which concludes The Classic Rock Lifestyle: Australia series. Soon enough, I’ll get back to what you’re really here for, the overviews of 60s and 70s music from different countries and taking a look at the different influences.

Long before I knew I was going to Australia, I would talk to Australians about where they would recommend I visit. High in a lot of people’s recommendations was the World’s Most Liveable City for seven years in a row, Melbourne. Why did people recommend Melbourne over Sydney? It has a European/San Francisco feel to it, it is an arty city with lots of character, there are so many great vintage shops, it’s less expensive than Sydney, and there are so many great cafes.

What did I take away from my short time in Melbourne? Let’s go!

Read More

How to not handle a crowd: Thoughts on Lido Pimienta’s comments

Earlier this month, Colombian-Canadian musician Lido Pimienta invited brown girls to the front of her show at the Halifax Pop Explosion music festival. She won the Polaris Music Prize this year for her album La Papessa, being the first musician who does not perform in English or French to win the honour.

A volunteer photographer working for the festival who happened to be white stood at the front and refused to move. Lido Pimienta told the photographer to move, and then singled out the photographer and said “You’re cutting into my set time and you’re disrespecting these women, and I don’t have time for this”. The photographer was eventually kicked out, and last week, the music festival announced that they will not allow the photographer to work at the festival again. After the show, she called the photographer violent and wanted the festival to release her name.

As a brown girl, I’m not okay with this for many reasons.

Read More

The Classic Rock Lifestyle: Australia, Part 3: Byron Bay and Nimbin

It’s not a trip to Australia without going to… Well, you could list a lot of places there, but in this post I’ll make a case for Northern New South Wales. The country is so big that you can’t see it all in one trip. To put it into perspective for my fellow Americans, if someone said they wanted to do both New York and LA in a week, you would call them crazy. In the case of Canada, seeing both Montreal and Vancouver in a week wouldn’t be the best idea and it would be rushed. Like the US and Canada, Australia is really big.

If you like beaches, adventure activities, and a more laid back and friendly environment, Byron Bay is the place for you.

Read More

The Classic Rock Lifestyle: Australia, Part 2: Sydney

Welcome back to another edition of The Classic Rock Lifestyle! In this post, I’ll be talking about the first part of my honeymoon (after getting off the plane of course since that was a journey itself). My husband and I spent a week in Sydney and we loved it.

In this post, I’ll talk about some cool things to do in Sydney: the neighbourhoods, restaurants (mostly vegan/vegetarian of course), landmarks, shops, and of course, beaches.

Allons-y!

Read More

What’s in my makeup bag?

I was inspired by NallieΒ to write this blog post. Check out her blog! She writes a lot about mod and vintage style and fashion. She has great dress sense and she’s really cool!

Over the years I have improved my makeup skills and felt that it is worth it to buy more expensive makeup. I used to be so bad at makeup that I would hardly wear it and that times I would wear it, my eyeliner looked cringey. You’ll find pictures if you scroll back far enough on my Instagram or Facebook profile.

Read More

The Classic Rock Lifestyle: Australia Part 1

It’s the blog post you’ve been waiting for! I am back from my honeymoon and I had an amazing time in Australia. Australia is a place I’ve dreamt of going to since I was a little kid and my grandparents showed me pictures of their trip there. Australia is a huge country and I’ve only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. Considering how little time my husband and I spent there, only a little more than two weeks, we really saw a lot! How we did it? Planning the day efficiently, and that might mean “early to bed, early to rise.”

Hopefully one day I’ll see the rainforests of Queensland, the island state of Tasmania, and of course the Outback (especially Uluru).

Hope you enjoy this series of posts. The reason I’m breaking up the trip into different parts is so you don’t get bored reading a really long post.

Read More

Despacito: Topping the charts everywhere, but is it really that impressive?

I’ve been busy working on other writing projects and my thesis, so I am a bit late to the party, but this song is still played widely on the radio. It’s still #1 in America. I heard it on the bus and it got me thinking: is it really that impressive that a Spanish language song made it to the top worldwide in 2017? It is impressive because most songs on the charts are in English and English is often deemed the official language of rock and pop, no doubt. There are still barriers to non-English language music appearing on the charts: the need to appeal to American audiences.

Read More

Mrs Angie Moynihan

I’ve been married for almost a week now. I am no longer Miss Angie. Typing Mrs Angie Moynihan makes me feel old. I already have grey hairs. I already have knee pains. I feel old enough as it is. What am I talking about? I’m turning 23 on 1 August.

For all my classic rock writing purposes, I’ll always be Angie Moon. I picked out the pen name because of my love of The Who. It’s still a huge part of my identity. I am both Angie Moynihan and Angie Moon, so on some bios, I call myself Angie Moon Moynihan.

Did I think I would be married shortly before my 23rd birthday? No. Honestly, when I was 18-19, I thought I would be a crazy dog lady.

Here’s the abridged version of the wedding:

We’re Engaged: My husband, Eoin, and I proposed to each other in a hotel in London, I believe on the 8th of January (David Bowie’s birthday). For a few weeks we were worried about breaking the news to our families. In the end, it was okay. We did go a lot longer before telling friends.

It was a short engagement. The biggest downside was the uncertainty about the wedding date and because of that and my parents planning trips way ahead of time, they couldn’t come to my wedding. 😦

Planning the wedding: From March-June there was uncertainty about the wedding date because in Ireland you have to give 3 months notice of intention to marry and then if you’re a non EU citizen there’s a whole lot of other stuff you gotta go through before you can get the wedding date. My in-laws were very helpful with this and they did a lot of work. Thank you to them! πŸ™‚

Surprise: I texted my cousin sometime in early July because I saw something that reminded me of an inside joke. She said that she wanted to come to Ireland to visit me and she will book plane tickets. She arrived the day before my wedding. She was the only one of my relatives to come to my wedding.

The day before: My cousin arrived. One long bus ride later and we’re at my in-laws’ house. My cousin got to see a lot of Eoin’s hometown. I thought I lost my house keys and I panicked. Good news, they were at home.

The day of the wedding: Lots of rain! Seriously, the days after, just fine. The day before was better. Nope. I do not like the rain, mostly because I have hair like Jimmy Page and I straighten it because I like the way it looks straight. I get my beehive done and it looks beautiful. I try my best to make sure my hair looks good all day.

Seriously, when I have the money, Eoin and I are going to renew our vows at Joshua Tree National Park. And no, I don’t like U2. The reason I want to go to Joshua Tree is because it’s my favourite national park and I love California.

Anyway, we went to the registry office. It was a nice ceremony and we got to live stream it for my family back in America. I nearly teared up when I was saying my vows to Eoin and when Eoin said his to me. While signing the register, we played the song “Maybe I’m Amazed,” one of my all time favourite love songs.

We took some pictures outside. Some came out well, but it’s hard to take pictures in the rain. I’m still waiting for that controlled weather from Back to the Future II, wouldn’t that come in handy?

Here are a few pictures. Don’t we look like we came from the 60s?

The meal was great, the restaurant was accommodating and I ate vegan pizza for dinner and vegan ice cream for dessert. My husband isn’t a vegetarian so he ate roast beef. Afterwards, it was a very typical Irish wedding celebration. Straight to the pub we went! And then we went to a takeaway to get chips and we went home and FaceTimed my family.

The only flaw was the rain and my family not being there. But the day was amazing thanks to my husband and his family. Hopefully soon we can have a celebration for my family in America. I really hope that my grandparents could see me getting married, in person, not just on a screen. And the other set of grandparents who are no longer with us, I know they would be so happy for me.

Many adventures await us… In September, we’ll be going to Australia for our honeymoon. And yes a Classic Rock Lifestyle post will come!

Here are five of my favourite love songs, to finish the post.

Pause

At the moment, I am very busy with my thesis and I only have until August to complete it. Time is ticking away and I can’t dedicate time to The Diversity of Classic Rock until my thesis is finished. It won’t be long. I’ve been doing other writing in the meantime, but not about classic rock.

I am getting married this month and my (soon to be) husband and I will be going to Australia for our honeymoon. I plan to write a post about my wedding for the blog because yes, as expected, I will make my wedding look like it’s straight out of the 60s. I can’t wait to share pictures and stories!

Before I go, I hope I have the time to write a Diversity of Classic Rock Australia post since this blog is overdue for a good Diversity of Classic Rock post about a country.

Hope you’re having a great summer!

Love,

Angie