Let’s face it this last year has been a number of emotions for all of us. In the midst of it all, I have been thinking a lot about activism.
I’ve been thinking about why and how I became an activist in the first place, plus about how activism is even more essential now than ever if are to live in a more diverse and inclusive world. For me, becoming an activist was a journey I wasn’t expecting, or even on the radar of a lifelong dream. It was out of struggle, and the will to survive, and thrive in this world that doesn’t see me as me.
For most of us ableism plagues our daily live’s whether it’s in person on social media in the newspapers or on the television it’s very real. I was experiencing it before I even knew the word existed. From people who would look at my husband with eyes full of pity and say, “He’s a good one that man of yours, to do all he does for you” Society can sometimes make it very clear that you are a problem.
Before even knowing, or that at some point in my life I would need to fight for myself, and my right to live a life I choose in this world, my mum was fighting her own corner living with muscular dystrophy. When I was growing up she was teaching me with out even knowing she needed to – many times i have said my mum’s sheer determination and strength is where I find mine.
Most people don’t wake up one morning and say ‘today I’m going to become an activist’ it comes out of necessity, not out of luxury. Some within society have this misconception and believe you have two different types of disabled people. Either you’re born disabled or it’s through an accident (car crash is the favourite!). After I was diagnosed, I didn’t care about changing the system, because I didn’t yet realise that was the problem. I was just trying to focus on how my life was changing, and how was I was going to fit into society.
I may have fell into being an activist by accident, but now, I can’t imagine any other way of life as crazy as that sounds. I became an activist over time, along the way I have learned the deep history of disabled people and other marginalised groups, it didn’t take long to realise that my body isn’t the problem, society is.
Microaggressions are everywhere and you may not even notice, i realised that just being a “good” disabled person would now never be enough to make me equal, A world that I had already experienced living as a non-disabled person. I became an activist as I believe I have a responsibility to the next generation to use their platform and voices to educate others.
I became an activist over the simplest of things that some people take for granted, going to the toilet, eating in a restaurant or going to the cinema. I became an activist because I realised there are still too many people who look at certain bodies as less than valuable than others.
The thing about activism, it’s not about one action or one moment necessarily, it’s dedicating your life – making that decision to use your voice sharing your experiences, that in fact everyone’s identities matter.
I didn’t choose to be an activist, it chose me!
I believe I’m only doing what someone else would be doing if they where in my shoes/wheels! And I don’t want someone fighting for the same rights I am today still in 10 years time!
Are you an activist – have you ever thought about becoming one. I would love to hear your story – Leave me a comment
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