Society paints images of people all the time.
Sometimes, we blindly accept them as the viewer. Perhaps, it’s even worse accepting it as the subject being painted.
How has society told you how a woman, a person of color, or a disabled person should look like? Do you accept them? I don’t. I plan on painting my own picture and proudly showing it to the world.
Society tends to consciously or subconsciously judge you and put you in a box constructed out of preconceived notions, depending on how you look. There was a span of a couple of weeks in early 2017 when I was reliant on my walker to get around. I didn’t have enough energy to walk a couple of blocks, let alone take the subway and fight rush hour foot traffic, so I decided to take the taxi to and from work. My brother found a cheap taxi service that would charge $60 round trip from the suburbs into and out of Manhattan. I had just started my new job barely two months prior and could not afford to take an extended sick leave. With no other way to travel the 14+ miles to get to work, I had dedicated my paycheck to pay for the cab service.
Most of the cab drivers were nice, but over 1/3 of them had the same question for me as they were folding my walker and storing it in the trunk, “Oh, you work?” Their perplexed looks always had a hint of horror and surprise. A handful of them would pursue the conversation further and would suggest that I go on disability. I couldn’t walk more than two blocks at the time without a good 20 minutes passing by, but luckily my job didn’t require me to make frequent coffee runs. In fact, I had a standard desk job and my arms and left leg worked just fine, so I would reciprocate the look of horror and surprise when they implied that I would not be able to do my job, let alone any job. It bothered me for quite some time how people’s perceptions changed as I walked slower and slower with the help of a mobility device. I realized soon enough that society had decided to repaint my identity without my consent and I wasn’t about to let that happen.
Welcome to Adventures with Urvi! I hope you enjoy the images that I paint of myself in the months to come.