Living Disabled: Disability Pride Month

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Did you know that July is Disability Pride Month? According to the site  AmeriDisability, "Disability pride" has been defined as accepting and honoring each person's uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. The first Disability Pride Day was held in 1990 in celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark law which was signed on July 26, 1990. This July marks the 30th Anniversary of this landmark law which is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. 

Despite living with CMT my whole life there are so many things I still need to learn about what it means to live with a disability. I can tell you from what I have learned so far is that despite looking or acting different we all want the same things those without disabilities want. We don't like to be treated differently but we do want to be understood that we need help in ways others may not. We want all the opportunities that others want and despite our limitations, we are very much willing and capable of working hard for them. 

A disability didn't stop the blind, deaf, and mute Hellen Keller from learning how to read, write, and learn. She eventually became an author, political activist, and lecturer and the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. A disability didn't stop the wheelchair bound Franklin Delano Roosevelt from becoming President of the United States. In 1921 he contracted a paralytic illness that left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. There are so many amazing humans who lived with disabilities and still strived to make their dreams come true just like everyone else. People like Steven Hawking (ALS), Andrea Boccelli (Blind), Frida Kahlo (Polio/Spinal Injury), Itzhak Perlman (Polio), Christopher Reeve (Paralysis), Francisco de Goya (Deaf), and John Milton (Blind) just to name a few.

But how many other famous individuals had or have disabilities but don't dare tell the world about them for fear of limitations that can be placed on them? When you are growing up with a disability you are not normally told that anything is possible for you. I remember when my grandmother's acquaintances would ask me what I wanted to do with my life and depending on the age I would say a ballerina, an astronaut, a wife and mother. Then their faces would get all sad and they would tell me that those things were nice to hear but I knew from the way they acted that they believed that I wouldn't be able to do anything special with my life. They were wrong.

The truth is that a disability can and will bring daily challenges into your life. Sometimes they are hard to deal with, burdensome, and scary. But with challenges also comes the opportunity to learn to see life from a different angle, have a larger capacity for empathy and patience, and make you braver than you ever imagined.

Trying to make your dreams come true and living with a disability is like trying to swim against the waves of the ocean everyday, all day long. Its exhausting both physically, mentality, emotionally, and spiritually. There are two ways that you can handle this; you can either complain, have it consume you, and allow it to bring misery into your life or you can learn how to accept the challenges, learn to never give up, and find the positives. There will be hard days but I have chosen to be on this journey with CMT as my companion, not my enemy. 

I always tell my children, life is about choices. I don't know why or how sometimes but I have always chosen to move forward and dream big. Yes, I have suffered from extreme loneliness, pain, and heaps of fatigue but I know I am not alone. In this big world we all suffer to some degree, they say its a part of our human condition. So this human can share with you today that I am proud of being different. I am proud of my struggles and how I have confronted them. I am proud that with my disability in tow I have accomplished a great deal in life and know I can accomplish even more.

Try to remember this as you join those you know in this months Disability Pride Month, that denying our differences is denying the truth of who we are. Celebrate them and celebrate yourself.

For more information on what Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (my disability) is you can learn more HERE and HERE.

4 comments :

  1. You are such a powerful human! Your blog was not only enjoyable to read, but incredibly educational. There's always more we can learn about each other and I definitely feel I got to know you a little bit more reading this. This is so inspirational hun and I wish everyone could read this! Heather x

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. You are such an inspiration in so many ways.

    xoxo
    -Janey

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    1. I appreciate that so much Janey! Thank you! xox

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