I am often accompanied, as I journey through life, by my wheelchair and flak-jacket-look-alike cooling vest.
These obvious aids create a statement. Interpreted differently by each reader.
Or could it possibly be "I'm getting on with my life"?
Venturing out without wheels or vest: I am disabled. Staying upright takes all my concentration. I cannot look around. I cannot talk. I cannot relax and enjoy being alive. And I'll probably fall over anyway. But no pity and no general public reaction. No repeated offers for help and no 'you are so brave'. I am just another person, assumed to be going about my business.
When on my wheels, with my trusty cooling vest, I am alive. I am free. I can chat. I can interact. I am another ingredient in a rich community.
Yet with these beautifully expanded horizons, my aids - read as statements of disability - are recognised as setting me apart.
Yes, I am different. Limited in certain ways.
But perhaps, reading between the lines, the statement actually says:
“Now I can be alongside you”