February 24, 2020

Boredwalk Community: Silver Linings

Floral Skull Shirt

Welcome to our weekly Boredwalk Community series, where we ask Boredwalk fans fun questions! This week we're talking to Irene B. of Stamford CT, showing off a Floral Skull shirt.

1. What's your actual day job and what's your dream day job?

I am a full-time student at the University of Connecticut. I also tutor high school and college students. One day I hope to work in social justice and reform. (Ed. note: Ambitious! I like it!)

2. What's your biggest pet peeve?

I lost my right leg to bone cancer, so I am permanently disabled. My biggest pet peeve is when public places don't abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so I can't get into their places of business. It also really bothers me when people who aren't disabled park in handicapped parking spots. Another pet peeve of mine is when male doctors really downplay my suffering. Before I received my cancer diagnosis, I was told that I was over-exaggerating, needed to lose weight, was accused of pill seeking, and told I needed mental help by a male doctor. Low and behold, that doctor that kept invalidating my symptoms delayed me from getting my proper cancer treatment. (Real talk: if you own a brick & mortar business and aren't sure if you're ADA-compliant, look into it! People have money to spend, and they can't patronize your business if they can't come inside. And if you're using a screen reader to read these emails...sorry if sometimes I get sloppy and forget to include alt tags for the images. It *is* something I'm aware of and trying to be better at including!)

3. If you could have any super power what would it be and why?

If I could fly and levitate, that would totally make my mobility easier. I would totally love that! Or maybe be able to regrow limbs...just not like those baby legs that Deadpool re-grows, haha! (Ewww...)

4. You can curse your nemesis with a minor annoyance for eternity; what do you choose?

For them to walk around with a pebble in their shoe that just won't come out. ๐Ÿ˜›(Savage!)

5. What's the most useful piece of advice you've received?

When I was struggling through chemotherapy treatments, I was told to find silver linings in everything bad I was going through. Being able to find some good in the bad helped me through those tough times. Now I can find silver linings in almost anything I struggle with.

6. What experience do you most want to cross off your bucket list?

I want to be able to travel to a place where I can see a full night's sky. A sky filled with stars, comets, where I can see the Milky Way. I also want to be able to see the aurora borealis before I kick the bucket. I have always loved astronomy, and I can't see the night sky well where I live because of heavy light pollution. (Anyone in New England know of an ADA-compliant getaway out in the sticks that's low light? Help a human out!)

7. What's a surprising fact about you?

I struggle with severe PTSD and depression. I am also a writer, so I write a lot about mental health.

8. Clear up a misconception (about your job, where you are from, some other topic you know a lot about.)

I see so many posts online where people accuse people in wheelchairs of faking their illnesses because they can stand up and walk after being in a wheelchair. Wheelchairs aren't just for people who are paralyzed. Wheelchairs are also for people like me who can sometimes walk with my prosthesis, but sometimes can't. They are also for people with invisible illnesses like Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and many others. Disabled people rely on many different assistive devices. Sometimes you may see me walking in my prosthesis, sometimes you may see me in my wheelchair, sometime I use crutches. It all depends on our symptoms and it's sad to see people accuse disabled people of faking their illnesses because they can walk on some days and can't on others.

9. Where can the rest of the Boredwalk community find you?

Check me out on Instagram! @irenesbattle