In an age where women are fighting every minute of every day for acceptance and equality, there are so many who barely recognize women with disabilities. But when they do, the conversation can turn awkward quickly, particularly for wheelchair-mobile women such as myself. Disabilities can be a big, unspoken elephant in the room, but they don't have to be. They also don't have to be the joke. Often times, people say things to lighten the mood or elicit a laugh, but some of the most common things can be annoying, cliche, or plain inappropriate.

Think before you speak

Sometimes all it takes it two extra seconds to think through what you are about to say to avoid sounding insensitive by using any of the following remarks.

Seven tips to learn from

1. You're too pretty to be in a wheelchair

Now, I didn't know this before I became paralyzed, but apparently, accidents don't happen to pretty people. I get it. It is supposed to be a compliment, but it comes across as very ignorant and condescending.

2. Slow down! There's a speed limit

I always laugh this one off, especially at work, but I sometimes fear that the next time I hear this will be the time I snap.

3. It's so nice to see you out

During my college years, I heard this a lot. I was only a few years into my injury, and frankly, I was still learning my own independence. It always felt very condescending to me, but I knew that nobody meant no harm.

4. I don't think I could do it

"Do it" meaning be paralyzed and live any type of normal life using a wheelchair. And well, let me just say that, yes, you could.

You would figure out how to, just like you figure out all the other hard things in life. It's not always easy, but it is doable and can be just as fulfilling as a life lived able-bodied. Women in wheelchairs go on to accomplish so much and live so many dreams, such as Chelsie Hill dancing on the Ellen Show.

5. Everything happens for a reason

I have friends who live by this saying. The intent behind this saying is true and genuine, I believe, but it is the most annoying thing I have ever heard 5,293,109 times in my life.

I don't really want to hear that it was supposed to happen to me, even if I know that I believe it to be true.

6. So, um, can you do "it?"

I don't know when it became appropriate and socially acceptable to plainly ask someone about their intimate life and expect a response; like it is owed. When I was younger, I was really worried about other people's opinions and usually answered, "Of course." Now I am married, have a daughter, and hope that if someone is brave enough to ask me, they can handle a different two-word answer I have for them.

7. I need one of those

My wheelchair is my mode of transportation, not a leisurely tool to get me somewhere because I am tired or feeling a little bit lazy that day.

So believe me, when I say, you don't want to have to use one of these. It does have its perks though, like this man who got to be onstage.

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