Day Two: Tall Ships & True Tales (Traverse City, MI) I can’t stop for more than 30 seconds without someone sauntering over to ask me about my unusual scoot. What a blessing. I had never realized what a lure this three-wheeled ride would be — which then gives me an opportunity to tell people that I’m riding 3,500 miles to raise awareness for Hidden Disabilities.
"What is a Hidden Disability?" they all ask.
My response…Any disability that one might not recognize just by looking at the person. They might be deaf, autistic…
Often, the person interrupts me and starts listing other Hidden Disabilities, like MS…I can’t begin to tell you how many stories I’ve heard in just the last two days.
I'm spending the night at a unique Bed & Breakfast, which takes place on a Tall Ship on the water at Traverse City, Michigan.Tonight I heard from a crew member of the Tall Ship, Jeremiah Bailey. Jeremiah’s brother, who has MS, works on a Natural Gas Rig in Colorado. He’s only 25. Sometimes one side of his body goes numb or his hands don’t work. He will get worse over time.
I’m stymied sometimes by people’s stories. I have so many questions, but they all seem too personal to ask. I wonder if they have insurance, if the person has enough support within their family or community. I wonder what could change in their life that would really make a difference.
At this point, I just want the very first step: I would like to get people to stop and think for a moment. If someone isn’t behaving the way people expect them to — or want them to — then maybe something is going on with them.
I am honored to have these strangers share their stories with me. Together we will figure this thing out.
Ara Lucia Ashburne is a writer, artist and director with physical and hidden disabilities. She is booking a reading tour, featuring selections from her narrative (August 10 – November 1 2011). She is also an advocate for International LGBT human rights, a social media votary, nerd lover, and food sensualist.
She divides her times between Berrien Springs, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois.
You can also find her on her Facebook page at Ara Lucia Ashburne and on Twitter at @Ara_Lucia.