It’s Blogging Against Disabilism Day 2013! A day dedicated to speaking out against disability discrimination of any kind, life obstacles of those with disabilities, etc.
I have been absolutely devouring the amazing posts that are flowing through today; there are some great writers with great thoughts and ideas out there in the Blogosphere. I encourage you to check out Dairy of a Goldfish, where all the posts will be listed, or the BADD Facebook Page.
This is my third year participating in the day. Two years ago, I wrote about intelligence and interacting with people with disabilities. Last year, I missed the actual BADD day, but my post about the dance of Cerebral Palsy brought you into my world of living with a disability, if only for a moment.
This year? Well, buckle up. I don’t really know how the idea for this post came to me or how it’s going to work into the theme of this day, but here we go. Knowing that BADD was coming up, I’d been jogging my brain trying to figure out what I wanted to put out in the world as a person with a disability. My one small voice.
It’s taken me the better part of 24 years to be “okay” with having a disability. I think some of this is because I tended to live life with blinders on and not even pay attention to it. I had great friends and family who helped make it a non-factor in my life and, while this was a blessing, it also was a little bit of a curse. Full disclosure: I hate that cliche, but I couldn’t think of anything else to write.
But then…life hits you. People are often rude or ignorant, situations aren’t ideal, you’re forced to be independent at times when you’d been used to relying on someone by your side. You can no longer wear those blinders, because this is real life. It’s not going to stop while you adjust.
There comes a point in your life when you have to recognize your situation and your limitations. Being an adult now (arguably anyway-my sisters will tell you I’m still the baby), that point has come hard and fast over the past few years. Now, trust me. I’m not, in any way, at all, ever, ever, ever (got it?!) saying that you should be defined by your limitations or let them control your life. Quite the opposite actually. Recognize and understand them so that you can live your life for you and move beyond them, if that is the path you choose.
How does this fit into BADD?! Hold your breath, because some of you might not like what you’re about to read…
If you don’t want to be discriminated against, start by not discriminating against yourself.
Simple as that, right? No. I’m not naive. I know it’s not that simple, but it’s the initial step on a long journey. Think logically for a second, and this goes for anyone whether you have a physical disability or other obstacle in your life, if you don’t want someone else to judge you, limit you, or assume something about you, why would you do those things to yourself? You tell your best friend that they can do anything they want, but then you tell yourself that you can’t? That doesn’t sound right to me.
I’ve learned something very valuable on my journey, and even more so now being a fitness instructor of a class for people with various limitations, and that is that we as people with disabilities are the role models of how other people with disabilities should be perceived and treated. Whether we want to be or not.
Want people to believe in you, to give you a chance?
Believe in yourself.
Want people to treat you with respect and dignity?
Want people to understand just how strong you are, that you are not to be pitied?
Show your strength, do not pity yourself.
Want to be heard, to leave something in this world?
Speak up and don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable. Let people in.
IT STARTS WITH US!