I’ve always said I’m not defined by my Wheelchair – now I’ve not changed my mind I still feel the same way.
But, I was reading something the other day on Identities and it got me thinking about just how I identify myself and what my identity means to me. My identity is important to me as I’m sure it is to you guys, finding myself looking deeper at just how I identify myself was quite eye-opening to say the least which I’ve never really done before now.
There’s nothing special or unique about me, yet I am multifaceted just like everyone else, yes?). However, when I describe myself to someone, no matter who I’m talking to, no matter how the conversation is going, I always find myself mention that I’m disabled… that’s if the big black wheelchair im sitting in doesn’t give it away first.
Being disabled isn’t all that makes me, me; I was able-bodied before my wheels plus I don’t stop at my impairment but it does define me. I’m guessing you might of being expecting me to write that my disability doesn’t define me?? Often were told ‘don’t let your disability define you’, I’m the first to say I don’t let it “define” me, but why shouldn’t we a little? What’s so wrong with embracing your disability? Absolutely nothing, I say.
My disability impacts on my everyday life, I can’t just get up and spontaneously go somewhere anymore; It needs to have been planned it a week in advance sometimes a few weeks depending on where I’m going, with having Muscular Dystrophy I can have a fair few joyful hospital appointments!, Having a muscle wasting disorder doing the simplest tasks can be near impossible these days so I need a lot of help, I spend a lot of time in comfy clothes (love a good lounge around. Everything revolves around keeping me healthy. Am I mad at it no definitely not. I’d be lying though if I didn’t say I used to be. If anything my disability has taught me so much about myself and others. If I hadn’t become disabled I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am today. And I think I’m pretty bloody awesome because of my rare type of Muscular Dystrophy.
This is my life, it’s the only one I have (until I’m reincarnated as a sparkling pink unicorn!!) and I don’t intend on wasting time or dwelling on what could have been. We’re all dealt crappy cards in life sometimes it’s just how we deal with those crappy cards that makes the difference. So I’m wheeling my badge shouting with pride I’m blonde Disabled and have no shame saying it.
Taking control for my identity was an empowering moment, acknowledging that it’s ok to be disabled, it’s not embarrassing, I don’t need to be angry, or sad about it. Finding that sense of peace and strength just from accepting myself for who I am. And it’s okay.
Now, I know I’m not just my disability I’ve not hit the crazy train just yet;. definitely don’t ask my husband that he’ll tell you different!. I’m so much more. I have all sides to my personality – good and bad. I have lots of interest that add to my personality – some other labels I’m a daughter, sister, wife, auntie to my two nieces & nephew, friend, blogger, Campaigner, chinwager, extremely sarcastic just have to ask my husband. So many parts of just me that make me. But I will now always be disabled, and recognising that it’s what made me the best person I can be.
Disability is sometimes perceived as a negative thing (sad to say generally by able-bodied people unfortunately. Viewed as the worst possible thing that could happen to someone. But your wrong it’s so far from it. The word “disabled” can be seen in a good light. Look at all the amazing disabled athletes, movie stars there’s so many amazing people out there that have a disability just talk to one and you’ll see. There’s nothing wrong with being disabled, Disability is not an ugly word. Disability isn’t a bad thing.
If having a disability was such a big negative, I wouldn’t have met and made life long friends and had some amazing opportunities come my way; Campaigning for changing places, my #MDbloggersCrew, talking to journalists about important subjects about disability. Top secret projects (coming soon) And in all honesty writing my blog about disability and raising awareness has opened my eyes more and open so many doors to which I’m truly grateful for.
Don’t worry though If you’re not defined by your disability that’s fine too. We’re all different and feel differently if we was all the sane the world would be a boring place to be! there’s no right or wrong answer to self-identifying.
What defines you??