Conventions are special to me, I open my heart to the fullest like I did back home because for a short while it feels like I am there. Many people tend to forget how much I care, so to illustrate that point, I want to share a story. After you read this, please help me find the MFM staff member who needs to hear it:
I was at the Masquerade, one of MFM's oldest traditions as a variety show. One act was boring to me, so I went to use the restroom and on the way back there was a person in a motor cart who heard the laughter and asked me what was going on in there. Something moved me about this person, as if his heart was as open as mine that day. I explained what it was, and he said he wanted to see it. Instantly, I realized that he couldn't walk up the stairs on the left side: the same side where the staff member Rukario was stationed. Keep this in mind as it will become important soon. I told him that the lift was on the other side and hastily walked in front of him foreseeing a delay when he arrived.
On the other side, I quickly poked my head in and looked at the wheelchair lift. It wasn't simple enough for me to operate in the dark, so I looked for a staff member but began to panic as I couldn't find one. Thoughts rushed through my head about what the fur in the motor cart was thinking and feeling, having to wait even a moment is a painful reminder of one's disability, but to wait a long time while someone makes a special trip to find someone to get you somewhere just out of eyesight is as if fate is laughing at you. I was about to cry for how I felt at that moment, but just as I began to explain the problem, the fur said it was alright and was able to walk the eight or so steps. I was so relieved.
Now yes, I could have got Rukario to handle this, but Rukario is also physically challenged, and the walk from the table on the left to the door on the right would have taken longer than the motor cart. The simple solution besides getting a volunteer to watch the door, would be to have Rukario's table, the volunteering table, stationed at the right side of the amphitheater, but I'm not staff so I'm not going to tell them how to run a convention. Instead, after the show, there are two staff members talking at the base of the right side of the amphitheater, and I smiling and waiting patiently, end up saying this, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that there was a person who needed to use the lift and there wasn't a staff member here to operate it.”
What happens next seems to happen often with this particular person and that is an earth stopping hateful and extremely near sighted response of, “well why didn't they just get a staff member?” This person obviously doesn't realize the gravity of the situation, and I try to just nod and turn away, but in strange rage he continues to call me an idiot in his own way, even as I try to leave, by explaining how simple it is to get a staff member here... At this point, I am struggling to keep from exploding on this person because he has failed to imagine how stressful and frustrating it would be for the person in the motor cart to do that, but the person in the motor cart would be lucky, they would only be angry at how much of the show they missed for a slow moving vehicle. What if it was Rukario who uses a walker for the convenience of walking, but moves slower than anyone else? If he were in this position he would have missed the last of the show finding someone to operate the lift. Or what if it was Aragorn? A person who can't stand do to extremely weak muscles? He is in a wheelchair, but can't talk loud enough to get the attention of anyone but someone who is trying to pay attention to him.
I am not disabled nor have I ever needed physical assistance for the disabled; my bringing this problem to the attention of the staff was a matter of caring. The person in the motor cart was able to walk up the stairs, so he may not be concerned enough to bring up the problem to the staff, but I could see how a disabled person feeling the pain and rage of hearing joyful laughter struggling to see the show just to be taunted by a lift and no one to use it. Each and every one of us have been in a situation where if someone would have just shown that tiny bit of care and consideration, which isn't even asking more just to not be forgotten, we would have not suffered some great heartache that still burns in our hearts.
Recounting this story to Maki, shi was silent for a moment as shi imagined hirself in that situation, and said with an emotion which I am not sure was anger or sadness, “I wouldn't have been able to walk up those stairs.” Even shi who has known this staff member longer than I have, couldn't think why he would act like that.
There are many life lessons that I could point out here, about caring for others, doing more than average, sharing information to prevent future problems, but the most important message that I want to share right now, the one that for lesser beings, would have ended their ability to care for anyone again in that moment, is this:
Don't Kill the Messenger.
When someone tells you something that you didn't know before, especially about something that doesn't concern themselves, no matter how stupid, simple, or annoying it may be to hear what they have said, there is a reason they are telling you this, have enough humility to accept the possibility that you don't know everything, and Don't Kill the Messenger.
If you know staff at MFM, I ask you to link them to this journal, because although I won't say who said this to me, they hurt me about as much as words are able, and I just want them to understand what they refused to see that day.