Did you know that it’s disability pride month? I didn’t until a few weeks ago. There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to living life with a disability so much so that it can take a while for some people to look past the disability and/or mobility aid and see the person. In honor of disability pride month, in today’s post, I’m sharing why I’m proud of the person my disability has helped me become, why I am proud to be a woman with a disability.
Experiences Because Of My Disability
People may have seen me out and about, (before the health crisis), and most times they had a nice word to say other times, the reactions I dealt with had to do the misinformation of what it’s like to live with a disability. It was hard to deal with at times, but I just focused on the fun times with my disability, things my friends and I still laugh about to this day. For example, the time I was at the movies with a friend and while I was transferring out of my wheelchair, I tripped over the chair I was transferring to and ended falling back into my wheelchair and somehow slid down to my footrest so I was sitting on it. My friend and I were laughing so hard it took me a minute to get up. I have dozens of stories like that I’m grateful for each and every one of them.
While there have been countless laughs with my friends and family thanks to some of the situations my disability has put me in, There are some difficult times, for example, when my wheelchair lift broke.
it was a cool October day, but I still remember it clearly. I wanted to go shopping, it was the next step defining my style, but I didn’t get the chance. I was dressed, shopping list in hand and the bus pulled up out front. I opened the door, maneuvered onto the lift, got settled, but the lift didn’t move. My dad and I tried multiple times, but the lift wouldn’t budge. I can back inside, took off my stuff, and climbed out of my wheelchair. My dad was on the phone with the manufacturer, but nothing worked and the company that installed the lift couldn’t help, we were on our own.
Fortunately for me and my family, a family friend was able to help us out and got the lift working again. Thankfully, I was only stuck for a week, but I remember during that time I couldn’t stop thinking what if and how long? I didn’t know how long this was going to last, that is was about so much more than a wheelchair, it’s my way of getting around, my freedom. My way of living, just like any other girl in her 20’s. I might be able to leave my house, but I wouldn’t have my chair. I’m glad it only took a week, but I still smile every time I get on the lift and think of the freedom it gives me. I have happy amazing memories that I know wouldn’t have without my disability, but the struggles exist too. Still, I take the good with the bad, try to focus on the happy moments that may or may not have to do with my disability and keep moving forward
What Society Teaches Us About Life With A Disability
When most people hear the word disability or see it, they can’t see anything else. There is the misconception that people with disabilities are broken down and that’s all that we are, our disability. Growing up I didn’t see people with disabilities in magazines or in the media. I didn’t see anyone that represented me. This simple fact enforced the idea and negative connotations surrounding life with a disability.
This one-sided view of people with disabilities is based on misinformation but I am so much more than my disability, so much more than one thing, we all are. I’ve been a wheelchair user my entire life, but there was a time when I didn’t accept my limitations when I wanted to be just like everyone else. I am also a daughter, friend, college graduate, grey’s anatomy enthusiast, and makeup and fashion lover.
I started my blog because I wanted to share my experiences as a wheelchair user and a woman who loved beauty, fashion, and so many other things. I’ve always been into fashion, but there was a time when I believed I wouldn’t be able to fully embrace my love of makeup and have fun with it due to my disability. I was snapped out of that quickly, though my skills are a work in progress. When I started looking I didn’t see much content that considered people with disabilities in beauty or fashion. I wanted to create a space where women with disabilities could find makeup and fashion tips that also took ease of use or other disability concerns into account and the idea for The Sitting Beauty Diaries was born.
Disability Pride: What My Disability Has Taught Me
My disability and issues surrounding it annoy me to no end some days, However, I am also grateful for the lessons it has taught me. For one thing, I know it has made me into a great problem solver because everything I need to do I have to figure out how to do in a world that’s not designed for me. Last year, I wrote a thankyou letter to my disability. I wasn’t even sure I would do it at first, but as I was writing it was fun to think about how far I’ve come and where I still want to go. You can read the letter to my disability in the link below.
I can list all of the other things that the good and yes even bad experiences have taught me like determination, perseverance and so much more, but I won’t, I’ll simply say I have learned a lot in my 20+ years dealing with this disability. Nonetheless, I know that have much more to learn, sometimes I’ll love the experience and others not so much, but I will be grateful for it because even the difficult lessons learned have had a part in shaping who I am. I am proud of the journey I have taken because my disability is a part of me.
Happy Disability Pride Month