Paying for Love

Zizipho Soldat is a 26 year old South African filmmaker & social media influencer living with a physical disability called phocomelia .She is also an aspiring writer and disability &’inclusion activist who advocates for people living with disabilities. You can see her content on Instagram here and on Youtube here!

Finding love while living with a disability can be really difficult in a world where most people are attracted to physical features. As soon as we are old enough to recognize each other as humans & being able to be aware of our surroundings, it automatically registers in our minds that a normal human being must have all 4 complete working limbs & must act and behave the same way other humans behave. Any human being that is the opposite of what I’ve mentioned above is different & will be treated differently .

This statement above applies to all the aspects of this “different human’s” life which progresses with growth. I remember feeling ugly because boys back at school didn’t find me attractive and my physical condition threw them off. I was the the type to beg a boy to stay by doing all that he desires for him, even when I didn’t want to, but because I also wanted to be seen as “normal”, as a girl who has a boyfriend like most girls my age then.

Unfortunately there are still people living with disabilities who are still stuck in that place, especially women, where they become a financial provider for a man that does not genuinely love them but loves what they do for them. I’ve heard stories about females living with disabilities who would go as far as drowning in debts just to finance their “man’s” lifestyle while they suffer. In my third year of college I used to date this guy who always had a sad story revolving around having no finances & I would feel guilty as a girlfriend & use my food allowance money from my bursary to help him out only to find that he’s been using the same money I give him to impress his other girlfriend who is able bodied that I didn’t know about, so basically the joke was on me. I thought I’ve learned my lesson but so little did I know, in my first year of being an intern at a TV station I would buy my then boyfriend clothes & toiletries so that he looks presentable unfortunately he was living with his “baby mama” & I was still in the dark.

The question is: do we as people living with disabilities think we are worthy of love? Because if we did maybe we wouldn’t be victims of this distasteful circumstance, if we did we wouldn’t let anyone act like they are doing a favor by entertaining us because now it’s like we are paying for love something that should be free. When I started being in a hypergamous relationship people started calling me a gold-digger but they never uttered a word when I was the one being the gold mine & here’s another concern is that they were in disbelief because they had never seen someone living with a disability dating an elite man of a higher stature because according to them we don’t even deserve to be loved hence they labelled us “asexual “ or “unlovable”.