Friends of ASCCA: Finding love in your favorite place

February is a very feel-good month; we get to show our love, eat chocolate, and celebrate black history. It can also feel a bit lonely when you’re single, but for the first time ever, I dont have that to worry about. I’ve been dating Carson for over seven months now, and I have to say I highly recommend this whole “being in love” thing. Being with someone has been so wonderful; every day we get to spend together becomes my new best day ever. There’s also been a lot of challenges and things to learn though, especially considering we’re both wheelchair users. I don’t know of many couples like us, so even though writing this is a little awkward, I’d really like to talk about my experiences dating another wheelchair user, and possibly help other couples with disabilities know what to expect.

Carson and I met at Camp ASCCA during Teen Week, and we started dating there exactly one year later. Camp is great for us; it’s fully accessible, we can see each other every day, and everyone there is happy to help us. The real world, on the other hand, does not always offer these things. He lives about ninety minutes away, so it can be hard to see each other in person. When we do go out, we like to do as much on our own as we can. This is when accessibility is a serious problem. We got trapped in a mall elevator on our first date! The buttons on the inside were too high for either of us to reach, but luckily a man with a little girl called the elevator down a few minutes later. But then as Carson was backing out, his chair flipped one of my manual switches (this disengages one of my tires and leaves me going in circles), and the man had to help me put it back. We were very lucky to have someone come by willing to help. We could’ve called our parents if we needed, but we were trying to be independent. Imagine though if we were adults who’d come by ourselves, then accessibility would be even more important.

Navigating a relationship with two sets of wheels isn’t always simple, and sometimes requires a certain knowledge of geometry and physics. Even with all of that to consider, I feel that the experiences we’ve shared as people with disabilities are an integral part of our dynamic. I can share things with Carson I would never feel comfortable telling another boy, and I think he would say the same. It’s like there’s this layer of uncertainty and discomfort others feel about my disability, but with him it’s invisible; my disability is just me. Even with all the extra stares we get for being two wheelchair users together, I think I feel safest and most accepted when I’m with him. We love each other for exactly what we are, and neither of us feel the need to fix the other. It’s the best thing in the world. I hope you all find someone who makes you feel beautiful, perfect, and complete just as you are. We all deserve that.

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