"Don’t Pity Me, Love Me” is about a girl named Mia, who, after being injured in a car accident caused by her boyfriend, can no longer walk and must use a wheelchair. At first, her boyfriend, Richard, still dotes on her and promises to take care of her and be there for her for the rest of their lives, but Mia is worried about being a burden to him. When her friend Lois, who is able-bodied, returns from being away, the three of them begin to spend a lot of time together, until Richard and Lois start spending time just the two of them. When they think she is napping, Mia overhears Richard and Lois talk about wanting to be together but not being able to because Richard feels responsible for taking care of Mia after he caused the accident. Mia later tells him she heard and breaks up with him because she doesn’t want to be with a “male nurse” or someone who marries her out of guilt. The next day, Mia has a doctor’s appointment where she finds out she will be able to walk again. Richard returns to tell her that he doesn’t want to be with Lois, that he wants to be with her, again saying he wants to take care of her. Mia tells him that he won’t have to since she will recover, and they get back together.
The idea of a disabled person being a burden or obligation to others is very prevalent in this story. It has the ableist implication that disabled people cannot be self-sufficient, cannot have lives on their own, and cannot contribute positively to society and the lives of others. Having a partner as a caregiver is a part of some disabled people’s relationships, but Richard’s emphasis on wanting to stay with Mia so he can take care of her (rather than just because he loves and wants to be with her) seems to suggest that disabled people are unworthy of true, romantic love, which is also ableist. The happy ending reinforces this, since it is contingent on Mia no longer being disabled and on her not having to “burden” Richard. Lastly, her quick forgiveness of Richard implies that it is okay for disabled people’s loved ones to mistreat them without consequence. The cover image for this story, which shows Mia crying in her wheelchair as she overhears Richard telling Lois he loves her but feels responsible for Mia, illustrates these ableist ideas of disabled people being burdens and unworthy of love and happiness.