Sometimes my house just gets messy — clothes hanging from drawer handles, wayward leaves on the floor, toothpaste on the faucet handles. Right now I am looking at a pile on my desk consisting of books, a plastic container I just ate soup out of, coupons, a check, a pen, my phone, an empty water bottle, three steak knives, my sunglasses, vitamins, a few water bottle caps, and a chapstick. I probably don’t need to go any further.
But it’s funny because someone came over unexpectedly to drop off something and saw that my space was messy, then offered to come over and clean. Although a nice gesture, the tone of the offer was, “Your place must be messy because you use a wheelchair and it’s probably so difficult for you to clean so I am going to come over and clean for you.”
No. My place is messy because I have been temporarily lazy and it got out of control. I’ve always been on or over the edge of messy. Even as a kid who could walk, bend down, and clean like a fully-functional person I was constantly getting yelled at by my mom to clean my room. My current state of messiness has nothing to do with my disability.
I really don’t know why these presumptive offers to help bother me, but it’s something I’ve started to notice as time goes by. I also think it’s something that some disabled people take advantage of and lean on as a crutch. I mean what normal human wouldn’t want someone to cook, clean, run errands, and do other dirty work for them? Just because you’re a hungry, messy, busy disabled person doesn’t mean you deserve to have things done for you by people who perceive your poor habits as a consequence of your disability when they’re not.
It almost becomes an enabling behavior. People who offer to help to do things that a disabled person could otherwise do themselves are allowing that person to be lazy, check out of life, and perhaps even lose some additional physical ability.
Of course I am only talking about disabled people who still have the ability to do things like clean. It’s something only that person really knows. Take me, for example. I know that if I am capable of dropping my clothes on the floor, I can just as easily drop them in a hamper. I can also clean off my desk. I mean, that pile of things got there somehow and I can just as easily move each thing back to where it belongs. Just because I stop doing it for a while doesn’t mean I can’t do it myself.