To my future significant other: On love or something like it in a disabled and abled partnership
First things first, I want to commend you for weaving through the first date awkwardness with far more ease than either one of us expected. I have to assure you, I was probably the more nervous of the two of us, but you could probably tell by the fact that my red hair and face were matching in hue. When we exchanged phone numbers, I wasn’t expecting much. A lot of the time throughout the rat race and cesspool that is dating in your mid-twenties you learn to lower your expectations and take every date proposal with a grain of salt. You were persistent, or rather, adamant. At first, you didn’t want to talk about my disabilities. Saying that “they’re just one piece of the pie.” And while that may be true, it does factor into our relationship. There will be times where you’ll be frustrated because I’m unable to do something, just as I am frustrated with this too, at times. We’ll both be in this odd place of grief and not know where to put it for a day or two and then we’ll go back to watching those obscure documentaries on Netflix that we can’t seem to stop watching for some reason. That’s something I’ll grapple with too, this concept of my disabilities no longer relating to just me and my relationships, but rather relating to us and our relationship. Please be patient, as we are both learning.
Sometimes I’ll wonder if I’ll ever measure up, or I’ll look around in a crowded room and see that for some reason or another I don’t meet the standards for your company. There will be heartbreaking arguments about this. Let’s try not to go to bed too angry.
Thank you for dealing with the “How do you”s and “Why her”s in a decent manner when I can’t, because I’m betting it can be equally exhausting for you, if not more so.
You’ll be accompanying me to doctor’s appointments and probably want to fix things. I want to let you know right now that you can’t fix things. It is not your job to fix me. This is a partnership and not something we’ve pursued on the heels of codependency.
Speaking of which, you’ll be introduced to my PCAs. This will be weird at first, I’m sure. Probably more for me than you and you’ll probably be insistent on the fact that you could totally help me with my shoes, and while it’s a romantic gesture found in fairytales, I have to remind you that it is my job to make sure that my basic needs are met.
As my partner, you are not here to take care of me. You are here to care for me, and I for you.
There will be times of difficulty as there is in every relationship, and those difficulties will not be like everyone else’s but I think that (and the fact that we’ll hardly ever struggle to get dinner reservations, great seating, stellar parking…) is what’s going to make us special.
I look forward to our adventures whenever you are.