Melissa Hevenor
Monday September 16 , 2019
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Posts Tagged ‘serving spirit’

We’ve Come So Close but Yet so Far with Embracing Equality

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

As many of you know from following me on social media, I love what I do. I love Spirit and 99% of the time, I love my life. I have always been blessed to serve as an advocate for my fellow members who are differently-abled, or historically labelled “handicapped.” I think it is amazing how far we’ve come, when someone like myself, can be widely embraced and supported through social media or someone like Amy Purdy, an amputee, who is conquering the world one activity at a time, and making a statement in Hollywood, and still, there is so much further to go. I love the blessings and opportunities that the universe is allowing for me as I have a growing clientele who work in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and, as to be expected, as that clientele has grown, doors have opened, inviting me to be showcased on various media platforms such as talk shows and/or television appearances. Unfortunately, the sad reality is realizing, after interviews and being watched by interested parties, the studios where the appearances would take place, are not wheelchair-accessible. This unspoken barrier in Hollywood floors my mind, when there have been television shows such as Push Girls, that center around women in wheelchairs, and other tv shows with main characters who are in wheelchairs. Although, it does explain why able-bodied actors are used to portray characters in wheelchairs.

I am certainly familiar with the stigmas that can surface in areas of art or artistry. For example, in my first two years of college, I was the first individual in a wheelchair to take choreography, Dance Notation, History of Hip-Hop, Intro and Advanced Modern Dance, and a whole group of other art-related classes that involved dance or movement. Obviously, I was not able to participate in the same way that able-bodied students were able to dance. But, I did learn how to choreograph and put dance numbers together, verbally describing the choreography to able-bodied dancers. I will never forget the first day of class. The dance professor was so closed-minded and completely irate that I refused to leave the class. She insisted that it was a waste of time, and that I would be an observer who was in the way. Fortunately, the angels and my guide helped me to win her over quickly when she realized I had a photographic memory and could verbally describe each dance step precisely. Not only did I learn a greater appreciation for the art of dance, but also on the last day of class, each classmate thanked me for teaching them how to be better dancers, through the art of listening. And the professor even choreographed a piece in my honor, called “Dancing from the Heart.” Sometimes, against all odds, you know you are placed among people for something much greater than the circumstances convey, and although I find great joy in dong my readings and being of service to Spirit, and people from all over, I know that much of the greater picture is to serve as an advocate for differently-abled people, not only by sharing my story and the obstacles I’ve overcome from a wheelchair, and in life, but also to demonstrate that someone who is physicallyh different, still can be a valuable contributor, sexy, have an active social life and bring a perspective that the average person may not.

I recently went to a popular restaurant/bar in Fort Lauderdale, where I was treated like a second-class citizen. The interior of the restaurant had no tables accommodating a wheelchair and the exterior tables that did accommodate for a wheelchair, were typically not available. After an hour wait for a wheelchair accessible table outside (in 90 degree weather), more than one waitress came over and recommended that I eat off of a metal bar stool removed from the outdoor bar. Sadly enough, not fully comprehending what the waitress was asking of me, I agreed. Until she brought a tiny, metal bar stool that I couldn’t get my wheelchair underneath, and left my friend who was accompanying me, to eat with the food on her lap. When i told her I was not comfortable eating off of a metal stool,she insisted that this is how other disabled customers were most often accommodated. When I asked her how many able-bodied customers she had made this suggestion to, she began to giggle, and miraculously, a table outside opened up, where there was not only table available, but all of a sudden, four tables were available. To top it off, when my friend ordered a $10 mimosa, it was 1/4 full, when other mimosas came in all directions to other tables, filled to the top. We found out later that for $5 more, you could have a whole bottle of champagne and orange juice, and miraculously, we were not told of this Sunday brunch option. I am always optimistic and look for the best in every situation, though this particular experience was over and beyond outrageous, and I am a firm believer that when you remain silent when an injustice occurs, you might as well be committing the injustice yourself. I still view these experiences as blessings, as they open the door to raise awareness and the vibrational consciousness of humanity. So, I will continue on my journey to make a difference with the main intention of helping society embrace the true colors of all individuals, no matter the shape, color, formation or limitations of the light that each person shines.