Or not disabled, really, the social model makes that distinction. I am ashamed to be impaired.
Disability, in a nutshell, is what society imposes on you. Impairment is the biological condition that causes society to disable you in the first place.
Here's the thing: Not everyone who is considered disabled by society has an impairment that can be defined by the ADA as "substantially limit[ing] one or more major life activities". Say, someone who has dwarfism without any associated conditions - just the short stature. Dwarfism is considered a medical condition and those with dwarfism are frequently discriminated against because the environment isn't built for them - just as it is not built for someone who uses a wheelchair. If society was simply more accommodating, little people could go about their days exactly the same as someone of average height.
That doesn't work for me. Not everyone who is disabled has an ADA-definable impairment - but I do. Several of them, in fact. And I'm tired of feeling shamed.
Sure, if society was more accommodating, my life would be 90% easier. But there's still that other 10%. I would still have chronic pain and fatigue. I would still be unable to walk distances. I would still have crippling, yes crippling, anxiety that grabs me in a vice grip and doesn't let go. I would still have depression that sends me into a fetal position, sobbing and loathing myself.
If society was more accommodating, if ableism didn't exist, I would be able to obtain a power wheelchair easily with features that could mitigate the chronic pain and fatigue. I would be able to go anywhere I liked with that wheelchair without a second thought, including on and off public transportation. I would be able to be open about my mental illnesses and my medication without fear of repercussions. I would be allowed to do things my way, without being told that this is normal and I must do everything in the normal box or not do it at all.
But it would not erase my pain, my fatigue, my panic, my depression. And I'm tired of feeling ashamed for that 10% of me that will never be able to do the "normal" things, even in a different way. I'm tired of social model activists acting like if we fix the world, everything will be peachy keen. I'm tired of being told that the reality of someone who is solely disabled by structural barriers is anywhere close to mine. I'm tired of my own internal battle, walking the fine line between cure and treating the parts of my impairments that make my life miserable. I'm tired of feeling like a bad crip for wanting my mental illnesses to go away and never return. I'm tired of not fitting anyone's idea of what disability should be.
And so I can no longer support the social model of disability. Because though it is a good theory, though I have subscribed to it for as long as I've known what it was, it is not enough for me. It no longer fits my reality, as so many things have changed with my body and my disabilities over the years since I first discovered the social model. The radical model - though I identify with many of its values - is not for me either. Some impairments may be socially constructed - and there's a lot to be said with that about the medical profession and diagnoses - but mine is not. I am still impaired. I will always be impaired. And no amount of societal rearranging is going to change that.
I don't know what model I subscribe to, now. I feel a bit adrift without a model to cling to. Maybe I'll create my own, though I have no idea what it would say. But the fact of the matter, my life does not fit into a neat box, whether that box is models of disability or disability itself. If and when I can somehow come up with a model I can support, I will let you know.
Until then, I am an outsider, an activist with her own rules.....and you should probably watch out.