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By LINK20 member Larissa Martin
By definition, luxury is a state of great comfort and extravagant living.
During this pandemic, I have noticed a lot of people complaining on social media about not being able to go anywhere or do anything. How they cannot get their hair cut or see family and friends, etc. I get that they are frustrated. I really do. Though for me, a person with a disability, who has cerebral palsy, is an amputee and is a wheelchair user; it is not all that different from every day. Because I already consider these basic things as luxuries to begin with that everyone has been craving and want to go back to so badly. Someone like me can’t have those things and I’m okay with that, but how and why? Why am I okay with not having these things everyone else is privileged to have? The simple explanation is, I rarely get to have them, if ever on a normal day. So, I am not as upset as a lot of people are. You could say, it is normal for me and many others with disabilities.
Do not get me wrong, I do miss the luxuries I did have, but it is not the luxuries everyone thinks. Not vacations, not driving, because I can’t drive. I miss seeing my chosen family as I call them, my best friends. I miss them like crazy. I normally see them once a month or sometimes, due to life being crazy, I go months and months without seeing one of them. That is just life and what happens. I am so grateful and thankful for things like zoom and other apps like it in order to stay connected to all of them during this time.
As a society, we need to understand and grasp the concept that luxuries are things we think we need, or we feel that we are entitled to certain luxuries just like celebrities do because they are famous and think We have them at our disposal so why not take them for granted? what if people did not have them?
For me and other people in the disabled community, we do not have a lot of luxuries the rest of society does. We are excluded from having these things not by choice rather by our circumstances of whatever disability that person may have. I think if you asked people with disabilities what luxury looks like for them, you would get different answers because every person is different– maybe that could be a little bit of privacy without aid or a family member for a bit. Whatever it looks like for you, no matter what your disability looks like, visible or invisible, there are different luxuries for everyone. For me personally, the big luxury I am missing right now is my chosen family– they help me in so many ways. They help me experience things I don’t get to that a lot of people do.
I think when all this is done, society needs to consider what is a luxury and what is not and think about including people with disabilities into the conversation. At the end of the day, we as a disability community understands and value luxuries and what they are to us more than most. They are just things and experiences that we can complain about not having right now. Luxuries are things we do not actually need. We should see luxuries as tiny things, like a conversation with someone, some self-care to better yourself, or just an appreciation of all the things and people in your life. All these tiny things are the luxuries we need to cherish and truly appreciate Because those are the ones that are more important luxuries, we can’t afford to lose like the ones we don’t have right now. At the end of the day, those are the ones that matter– not ones we can go out and get or experience. I do and will continue to cherish these small luxuries I have and maybe the rest of the world can do the same, not just for me but for the disability community as a whole. I think the world would be in a better place once we realized this.