Video Blog 1 – March 8, 2016

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melissa divietri

I decided to do this “new thing” to interact more people with my life struggles, accomplishments and day to day experiences.. This way will be similar to how I document everything in my blog about my experiences, having a disability and the cool things that I do in the city. I have an interesting life – I take advantage of every opportunity.. I’m brilliant, passionate and empathetic; in a nut shell. Since I am such a personable person; I wanted to express my feelings with a video blog (vlog). You lose sight of things when you don’t understand how they effect people. There are a lot of things that I have to handle (in the back scenes) but you don’t have to experience it directly.. so here it is – the raw footage of what I’m dealing with – the “lavish” lifestyle of a social media marketer & the complications of being a physically disabled person.

Here’s the back store …. what prompted me to make this first vlog. Where is the video?! At the bottom of this blog post. Not everything that I’m doing is “boss-status” as people would say … I am constantly on the grind working all the time to better myself and my future. However, I do run into some frustrating situations as a disabled person living in the city.

I have a short temper – it’s inevitable .. 1. I’m Italian 2. I’m Physically Disabled 3. I don’t take anyone’s sass

I am minding my own business; driving to the city to my office in downtown Detroit. I pull up to park in my usual handicap spot that is two blocks from the office. This is the only handicap spot in the entire Comerica Park area where there is a lot of construction trucks, cones taking up the roads.. which is ok.. I’m ok with that. I’m excited for the revitalization that is happening with the build in Detroit. However, I came up to the usual handicap spot… and there was an AT&T Truck occupying both spots. This ignorant individual whom could have parked 80 feet over in the normal one hour parking on the side of the roads. Why don’t I do this? Well — see I’ve tried, and I get improper parking tickets or overtime parking for being there for hours. If I park in handicap with my sticker; they leave my car alone. I received 14 tickets last year so I’m trying to avoid the arguments and do what works for me…

Exhibit A - AT&T Truck Cant Read Signs
Exhibit A – AT&T Truck Cant Read Signs

Instinctively I want to bust his windows out with my crutch… however, I have more class than that. 😉 so I pulled my car around a few blocks to another parking area that is not one hour parking but still “safe” from the parking people. I walked over to the AT&T truck snapping photos of this person’s ignorant parking job. I called 9-1-1 to report the incident and Detroit Municipal Parking showed up too.

melissa divietriThe reason that I called the police was simple. I am sick and tired of not having any accessible parking in Detroit.. and when there is an accessible parking area; it is occupied by someone who does not have a handicap placard or does not have the right to be there. This makes it difficult for me to have a life in the city.. I can’t get to work; do what I need to do; be happy and handle of these obstacles. If I bring awareness to the mistakes that the city is making; it will get better. This person needs to learn their lesson that it is not OK to park in that area – just because you are installing internet / cable whatever. You are not considering the fact that handicap individuals need that space; that’s why it is there.

What makes me even more upset — Today, I received a letter from Detroit Municipal Parking that I have overdue parking fees that could result in additional fees, blah blah. Can I catch a break? I fought all of the tickets and I still have my dismissal letters.. the time spent to write the letters; go to the parking facility, met with the supervisor and so on.. it is draining (and annoying). I’m a human being – I should have the right to park close because I cant walk – my legs are not developed, I have to put everything on my back in a book bag just to do my job everyday. It is totally not fair.

I have been getting parking tickets while being parked in Handicap with my “free parking from the government” seal on the front of the placard. Free Parking from the government is a privilege if you are a permanently disabled individual and a certain height (which I’m 4’4”) Probably a lot of you didn’t know that.

I’m not sure if the ticket officers have a hard time seeing this blue placard with bright yellow sticker or if they think that I might not fight the ticket. The tickets are $45 now.. and they go up. I do fight these tickets.. I take photos; I write a kick ass letter and I make them feel really stupid and bad for giving me.. little old missy di — tickets. When I can’t even make it down the stairs to the Detroit Municipal Parking because their ramp is not accessible..

But you know what — its not entirely the driver or the officer’s fault. Detroit needs to do a better job of making the handicap spaces more visual. The blue paint is completely torn; the signs do not demonstrate what space exactly.. it’s a bit ridiculous. I hope that I can somehow get these photos and this information to the mayor’s office to make an action.. do a better job so we can feel like home too.

Exhibit B - My car being ticketed in Handicap
Exhibit B – My car being ticketed in Handicap

So guess what I get to do tomorrow? I get to take all of the parking dismissal tickets and their letter that I owe a bunch of money — to the Detroit Municipal Parking department. I guess it’s good timing because I printed off the photos that I took of the AT&T truck in a handicap spot (my spot). I am going to present these photos requesting to make this spot and many others more visible so individuals know not to park there…

Why am I fighting to live, if I’m just living to die? – Tupac.

Like I said in many of my blog posts — I feel Tupac – in a deep, emotional connection. His words…the way he writes.. the way that I write. I’m going through things that no one will ever really know. But now you do because i”m going to give you the RAW footage of my issues, problems the behind the scenes that I have to handle while being a handicap person. It’s time.. It’s more than past time. I’m almost 30 years ago – this is the 21st century and I can’t catch a break when I’m going thru a million other things?

Heck – I was in the hospital at my specialists office the day before this incident happened. I had to get my injections in my head & neck to relieve the migraines that I have … wonder why I get all of these headaches. lol Not funny. But for real, they are so bad that I can’t control them. I will have a migraine for a week at times. I hold my own — I do what I’m supposed to do to take care of my disease. I am healthy – I go to physical therapy – I balance my time walking and sitting down.. but why do I have to worry about getting parking tickets every other week? And why do I have to constantly fight for my rights to be a disabled citizen? Where’s my advocates? Why do people get to rip the benefits from the state but I can’t catch a break?

I’m not angry — really, I’m not. I just want to not have to deal with 80 different issues on a daily basis. Having parking covered with eliminate one issue of my day. Right? I;m asking too much — I feel like.