#EqualAccess Series Guest Post: Nice Disabled Girl (link to podcast included)

by Shelby Hintze

This post is part of The Exponent’s #EqualAccess Series. Disabled voices rarely get a chance to speak for themselves, but this blog series seeks to eliminate the stigma that disabled people are less than, and need a representative to speak on their behalf. This blog series is intended to break stereotypes by gathering the voices of disabled individuals. #DisabilityExperience

Author sits in her wheelchair at her place of work, smiling directly at the camera.
Author sits in her wheelchair at her place of work, smiling directly at the camera.

Being a single, visibly disabled, Mormon, woman is quite the lesson in contradictions.

Multiple and replenish the Earth! But not you sister, surely God has other plans.

Come to our activities and fellowship! Oh except for you sister, we didn’t think about the stairs to the Bishop’s house when we planned this!

Lose yourself in service! Oh sister, the greatest service you can give us is anecdotes for our talks about how we served you!

But quite possibly the biggest contradiction I think we all face doesn’t seem like a contradiction at all. Being Nice vs Being Kind.

Elouise Ball wrote this “The Nice Creed” and I share a bit of it here:

We believe in being Nice,
in speaking softly at all times, even when loud objection may be more logical;
in saying nothing in response to minor inconveniences such as being jostled on a bus, or relegated to a back seat, or not being allowed to ride at all, or being run over by the bus;

How often have we been run over by a (hopefully) metaphorical bus in order to stay nice? Worse yet, have we allowed others to get smooshed in the name of being nice?

I tried to write the intro to this a million times. I wanted to be honest and real. But everything I wrote sounded too bitter, angry. And I realized I was doing it to myself. Again. I wasn’t allowing myself to share truth (sometimes truth is a little snarky!) because I wanted to be nice!

I’ve realized in my life that our Heavenly Parents so commonly live in the gray space. I’m comfortable there. I’ve had to be. What does Bane say? I was shaped by the gray space?

What is a right decision for one person may not be for another. What might be right right now wasn’t right 10 years ago. And there’s a wide gap between being nice and being kind.

Kind isn’t always nice. It’s not always sweet. It’s not pained smiles. It’s forgiving and it’s flipping tables.

I had the opportunity to share an experience in which I wasn’t exactly nice but I tried to lean into being kind.

Now being an inspiration can be kind of exhausting. Generally when someone says I’m an inspiration, it means “I’m so inspired, I realized my life doesn’t suck as much as yours!” But as long as this inspires you to seek kindness, I’m all right with it.

Audio: https://www.thebeehive.com/strangerville-podcast-2/ *

Transcription: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vKhgocW9KjsxmX2YpS77om9fkurx-XX8o1teMhIXxp8/edit?usp=sharing

Bio: Shelby Hintze is a TV news producer in Salt Lake City because she likes being able to make sure people have the best information to make decisions about their lives. She also really likes being in charge. She is disabled (keep your euphemisms, please), has used a wheelchair for 24 years and has heard all your jokes. You can find her on Twitter @shelbyhintze where she shares all of her opinions, some of them good.

This post is part of The Exponent’s #EqualAccess Series and concludes are daily #EqualAccess posts, but we continue to accept submissions for this ongoing series at exponentblog@gmail.com.

*Editor’s Note: Shelby’s piece starts around ten minutes in.

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6 Responses

  1. EmilyCC says:

    This is so powerful, Shelby. The “kind” verses “nice” wording is something I am working on, and I appreciate how well you articulated the difference. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Heather says:

    So much to love here. Shelby you are wise and witty and kind. Thank you for crafting such a powerful piece!!

  3. Allemande Left says:

    Shelby, thank you for sharing your post and the podcast. I listened to it. Honest and meaningful! You have raised awareness about the discomfort of situations, comments, environments and relationships.
    We can do better.

  4. Risa says:

    Thanking you for sharing your perspective, Shelby! I’ve always tried to articulate the difference between nice vs. kind. And like Sondheim wrote in “Into the Woods,” — nice is different than good.

  5. Amy B says:

    Thanks for writing this, Shelby. I’ve only known you from your Twitter feed, so it was great to read something longer with the same humor and insight.

  6. Allemande Left says:

    Shelby, I thought of you in a situation I was in yesterday. A group conversation was unfolding about electricity and shocks and voltage and it became too much for my comfort level. I have a family member who died in an electrical accident. You immediately came to mind. What would Shelby do? I politely asked them to change the subject and explained why. Hopefully that discomfort will prevent future discomfort. Not the same as your situation yet the principle applied. Thanks again.

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