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When you are disabled your life is filled with constant daily challenges that is part of your disability that you cannot change and we shouldn’t ignore the frustrating things about a disability but it’s not all about the challenges. As a disabled person, I think it’s important that we educate people on the negatives and positives of disability because when you only tell people about the negatives it makes people wrongly believe that living with a disability is the worst thing that will ever happen to you which makes us face all kinds of discrimination. The negatives of a disability far outweigh the positives and the problem isn’t the challenges themselves but it’s that society likes to hyper-focus on only negatives and leave out all the positives so people think nothing good happens to disabled people. As a disabled person, I have had plenty of experiences where I could not participate in an activity because my disability limits my ability to do that skill but that does not mean I am never able to do fun things. Disabled people are faced with constant challenges but we still have positives and there are some opportunities that I had because of my disability. In this post, I am going to talk about some positive things that I had done as a disabled person to help you better understand that my disability is not just about the challenges.
I got the opportunity to go to Hawaii– When I was in high school I got the opportunity to be part of an organization called Make A Wish. If you are not familiar with the Make-A-Wish foundation it’s a non-profit organization in the United that grants wishes to kids that are in between the ages of two and a half and eighteen who have incurable life-changing disabilities or illnesses. When you are part of this organization you are asked to make a list of three that you would like to do and one of those wishes gets granted. My wishes were to go on a shopping spree, visit the White House and go to Hawaii. You are asked what thing you want to do most because they usually try to grant your top wish. I wanted to go to Hawaii because I have family there that I never get to see but unfortunately I can’t write a lot about this trip because they only grant wishes to kids and I don’t remember most of it. My family (there were seven of us) and I got the opportunity to have an expense-paid trip to Hawaii for seven days. I was given a nice goody bag before we left and we were picked up in a limousine and put in a nice hotel while we were there. The whole trip probably cost a couple of thousand dollars and I would not have had that opportunity without my disability. I don’t remember a lot about this trip except for that fact my sister stepped on a sea-urchin withing twenty-four hours of being there which I have heard is very painful and can be a very long time of soaking your foot in vinegar before you get all the prickly things out and feel well again. I wish I could have opportunities like this as an adult because your disability doesn’t go away after eighteen and disabled people like to do fun trips at any stage of life but often can’t afford to.
I went to a couple of summer camps-As a disabled person you don’t get a lot of opportunites to go to summer camp because a lot of them are not accessible and it would be very difficult to meet your needs. I did not go to a lot of summer camps as a child due to it’s lack of accessibiliy but I was able to be part of two called Camp Boggy Creek and Dream Oaks Camps because they were designed for disabled people and very accommodating. I enjoyed Camp Boggy Creek more than Dream Oaks because Dream Oaks Camp tried to do everything for you and required way too many long naps which would be great for adults but not for kids that are at summer camp. The cut-off for both of these camps is eighteen which I can understand because there is a lot of camp-fire songs and activities for kids that you would not enjoy as an adult. I went to Dream Oaks camp with a friend of mine who also had my disability but I had more fun when I went to Boggy Creek with my family because my friend complained the whole time.
I met my friends– My high school had a lot of negative emotions associated with it because teachers would always tell you how you should identify and disability was viewed as something that needs to be cured. The one positive thing about my school is it’s where I met my good friend Karly that I am still friends with today because if it wasn’t for my disability I would have gone to a private school and we would have never met.. My friends and I do not have the same disability and that is okay but we still are able to talk about disability issues that I cannot talk about with my abled sisters. I hated my high school and I was glad when I got out of there but I am glad that because of my disability, I was able to meet some great people. My friends have a lot of experiences that we are probably are still bitter about today but we also have built a lot of memories that we would not have had without our disabilities. If I went to private school I would still have friends but it’s different when your friend is disabled because it provides you with a different perspective on life that abled people fail to understand.
I was able to be a part of my sister’s wedding- I have had the opportunity to be a bridesmaid along with my other four siblings in two of my sister’s weddings .I am not in my sister’s wedding because of my disability and my disability has nothing to do with it and the reason I am in it is because all my other sisters are and it would look bad if someone was playing favorites. I may never get the experience of planning my own wedding because my disability is the first thing people see and sometimes have a hard time seeing past my disability and I am okay with being single but it is nice to be a part of someone else wedding when you can’t have your own. Disabled people can do normal things like being part of someone’ else’s wedding and sometimes you just may need to consider the accessibility of the venue because nine times out of ten the reason I can’t do something is due to it’s lack of accessibility.
My disability helps educate people– Abled people can still blog and can make a lot impact but disabled people can create change in ways that abled people can’t. I started a blog because of the discrimination I was facing in job interviews and eventually came to the realization that if I ever want to make money I would need to find another way. My disability has allowed me to educate people about disability issues that goes right over an abled person’s head. If it wasn’t for my disability I would likely have a college degree and be working a job somewhere because getting a job would be easier for me and I would have no reason to need to look for other options. My blog exists because of my disability and if it weren’t for all the challenges I face everyday I think it would be possible that I would have a blog but it wouldn’t be about my disability and it’s more likely that it would be a hobby more than a career. It is hard to make friends as a disabled person but I have made tons through my blog that don’t necessarily have my disability but can’t relate to living with challenges it some way.
There are a lot of things that you will never be able to do as a disabled because your disability limits it. It is important that we don’t ignore the challenges because even if you have a hard time accepting them it still doesn’t make them go away. In today’s society the biggest problem that we have is that people are only focusing on the negatives and think that there are no positives to having a disability. As a disabled person, I struggle constantly but they haven’t only been negative experiences and I have had a lot of positive ones as well that I would not have had if I was abled. I wish that there were more opportunities for disabled adults because your disability doesn’t stop when you reach adulthood. There are some things about my disability that I am stuck with and I wish would go away but everything about my life is not always bad because I have had experiences that has given me a different perspective on life and would not have had if I was abled. It is important to talk about the challenges but I would really love to see the media giving disabled characters happy endings that do not end with disabled people being cured because that is not a reality for most people. What fun things have you done as a disabled person?
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