Santina Muha has a lot of things going on: She’s an actress, writer, UCB comic and improviser. She’s also been in a wheelchair since she was in a car accident at just 5 years old.
Muha spoke with BuzzFeed to answer questions from her fans about what life’s been like for her as a woman in a wheelchair. “I don’t feel as different as sometimes people make me feel,” she said.
She explained that it feels like people do go out of their way to be nice to her sometimes, but the New Jersey-native has “a good bullshit meter” for those issues.
And yes, she said, it is offensive when you stare. “There’s a difference by the way between like ‘I’m staring at you because you’re in a wheelchair,’ or ‘I’m staring at you because I think you look familiar,’ or ‘I’m staring at you because I’m checking you out.’ There’s a difference and I can tell.”
Muha also wants people to know that they can’t just ask her why she’s in a wheelchair the moment they meet her, and that she’s an “inspiration” because of her success in life, not because she’s disabled. Oh, and:
Just don’t do it.
Muha ended the video with advice for young girls in wheelchairs: “I do want you to know that you can have dreams and you can follow those dreams and you may need to make adjustment to those dreams, but don’t assume you can’t do it. You just might have to do it a different way.”