Why Smartphones Can Be A Magical Lifeline For Disabled Humans

Living in a disabled body. I am grateful for my phone.

I read an article about someone’s minimalist phone setup. In the beginning I was nodding my head — you know, agreeing with the parts about being intentional and focusing your phone time on things which nourish you. But, as a person who lives in a disabled body, I found myself getting uncomfortable as the piece wore on and the author began (hopefully without intention) exhibiting ableist pride in their ability to hardly use their phone at all these days. I was profoundly unable about the way they patted themselves on the back for reading ‘real’ books and talking with people in ‘real’ life instead.

Don’t get me wrong — I get where they are coming from.

I wasn’t born living in a disabled body.

Once upon a time I was young and healthy and actively sought out ‘real’ life connections and social/volunteer activities…

But, just as all fairy tales only tell the beginning of a story, as my story entered the middle phases, I found things changing. These days I live in a body I still find foreign, disappointing, unsettling. For instance:

  • Today I went to work at my ‘day job’ for 3 hours, came home, ate lunch, and passed out for a 2.5 hour nap!

  • Unloading the dishwasher AND then loading it up for a fresh run leaves me breathlessly exhausted and lightheaded.

  • Grocery shopping takes all the energy I have for that day

  • Going to church? same :/

  • The above are my every day realty.

And so, as I become more and more horizontally orientated, I find myself relying on my phone more and more to connect with others, to read, to even write this blog post here.

I’m tired of (seemingly) able-bodied folks decided they have the answer for all of us.

They do not.

They cannot imagine what it is like to be this tired, this foggy brained and this worn-down in my soul…

They need to stop acting like their way is the only way.

There are many, many wonderful, beautiful, messed up and oddly perfect ways of being a human in this world.

Part of my way is to write on my phone, to text friends on my phone, to face-time my daughter on my phone, to read and read and read on my phone on the days when I’m literally too fatigued and weak to hold up a book.

Thank goodess for my iPhone.

Katherine Grace (she/her/) is a survivor with a very sharp memory who is devoted to not repeating the past and helping others do the same. She writes about self-care & love, mental illness, gratitude, and the adventures of being an Autistic disabled woman. "It's all about seeking (and finding) the magic within our everyday mundane moments... and allowing ourselves the grace of being fully and imperfectly human."

If you benefit from this work and want to support her efforts and this website, please visit her Ko-Fi page. Thank you.