Accessibility Auditor Tarryn Tomlinson has been wheelchair- bound since adolescence. She reveals how she’s managed to navigate her way around as someone living with a disability.
I was 18 years old when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which shortly thereafter left me wheelchair-bound. Besides the physical pain I had endured, I also had to let go of a way of living that I had become accustomed to; with fierce independence.
The first few years I spent scared to leave my home, afraid of what people’s reactions would be and how I would manage to get around. Being someone who would do everything myself, I was also anxious of being an inconvenience to those I would need to depend on.
It was only when a friend, who came back from living in the United States, literally forced me out of my comfort zone (and fears) that I began to enjoy my life and city again.
Her first suggestion was that we go clubbing. I was terrified! “But how would I get to the top floor?” I protested in the hope that she would see the ridiculousness of her assertion. She said very sternly, “We will find some hot men to carry you up.” Ultimately, nothing can hold back a spirit of adventure.