Have you heard of ableist microaggressions? Let me tell you about them, as someone who has experienced them. I have a bi-lateral dislocating knee condition that I was born with. I can walk, but sometimes I need additional stability or reduction of pain while getting around, in which case I tend to use a cane. I have had many othering interactions while using a mobility aid in public, whether that be a knee brace, a cane, or crutches. While it often seemed the stranger didn’t mean any harm, the question is how many invasive questions and comments from strangers can one person take? Do they even listen to the response? I notice the different ways I’m treated depending on the visibility or invisibility of my disability. In this paper I will tell stories of some of these interactions during a time when my disability was more visible, and I connect these stories to ableist microaggressions domains and experiences shared in previous research. This paper will take a different route than most academic papers, opting instead for a narrative approach. Considering these are deeply personal experiences, it feels better to tell my story in this way.


Spring 2022


personal narrative, physical disability, ableism, microaggressions, mental health, disability visibility, chronic pain

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