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If You Can't Speak to Me As An Equal, Don't Speak to Me At All

It's Saturday morning and the sun is glistening off the bay. I take a deep breath and feel thankful. Thankful for sunny February days, thankful for this accessible path right in my backyard, thankful for Justin, grateful for new legs and new abilities. I set out on the path with a target in mind - I'll make it to the second dock and walk back. My first time on my new legs in public has me feeling a bit uneasy, but I try to stifle my uncertainty with gratitude. 

As quickly as it came, my bliss is interrupted.

"Hellllllloooooooo", says the dog walker on my left. This wasn't your friendly-neighborhood-I've-seen-you-before-so I'm-obligated-to-say-something- hello. Oh no. This was the Oh-wow-your-disability-makes-me-so-uncomfortable-I-have-to-say-something-and-laugh-awkwardly hello. It's easy to tell the difference by the number of extra syllables forced into such a simple word. 

But whatever, I can't say I'm surprised. I snap a quick, "Hi!"…

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