Five Lies You Believe Blog Title

5 Lies About Disability

Synonyms for disability – unwell, unfit, poor shape, invalid, weakness, detriment, inexperience. I’ll be honest, I was heartbroken when I went to the thesaurus and looked it up. I knew it wouldn’t be GOOD things, but now I understand why sometimes society thinks less of people with disabilities. It’s in the definition. Now, I’m not saying create a new word for disability, because that’s going overboard. But I do want to share some lies you believe about people with disabilities – keeping in mind every disability is different and some experiences are different than mine, but many of us do get these all the time.

 

  1. I’m very smart, I can hear, and I can see. Just because I have a physical disability, doesn’t mean I have a hearing or visual impairment, mental disability or a learning disability. And just because someone has more than one type of disability doesn’t make them any less of a person. You don’t have to shout at me to get my attention, or ask my best friend what I want to eat, or talk to me in a condescending tone. I’ll know. And I’ll politely tell you that it’s not necessary. I’ve heard stories of deaf people asking for accessibility and getting a wheelchair. How does that help a deaf person?
  2. We do leave our houses. We do go out and have fun. I have plenty of going out stories that will rival any able-bodied person’s. Some of us have jobs. Although, the employment rate for people with disabilities is extremely low – I’ll write about that monster in another blog. We go on dates, we hang out with friends, go to bars, concerts, and do everything an able-bodied person does. Because we’re humans that have the same kind of interests.
  3. I am 27 years old. I like boys. Many people with disabilities are in relationships and plenty of us are not in relationships with other people with disabilities. I’ve dated both able-bodied men and men with disabilities. Both are valid choices, both can be great husbands (because my main goal is marriage and babies – ask my best friend… I have the worst case of baby fever) Yes, many of us can have children and are terrific, capable mothers and fathers. You don’t need to be able to stand in order to take care of children. (It’d be useful, but it’s not necessary). And no, none of my boyfriends had to take care of me. I’m an independent woman.
  4. I am independent. I can live on my own. I can cook, clean, do my laundry, dishes, and kill spiders. I can dress myself, take a shower and even get into my bed. I’m actually pretty good at sleeping. Yes, it’s nice for some help, but too much help squanders not only independence but confidence as well. I’m confident I can live on my own because I was allowed to be independent. I don’t second guess myself when I’m cooking (mac and cheese, cuz let’s face it – I shouldn’t be around fire and knives ever).

The biggest lie of all – I am not suffering from my disability. I don’t live despite my disability. I’m not chained to my wheelchair. I am free – because of my wheelchair – to live independently as any 27 year old would do. I don’t constantly fantasize about what it’d be like to walk. I don’t dream about walking, and it might be different based on the person, and I’m not saying if God performed a miracle I wouldn’t be blessed and thankful. I’m saying I’m comfortable with my disability, educating others about my disability, and life with a disability. There are plenty of us who have reached acceptance. I can’t miss what I’ve never had. I’m not unfit, weak, or invalid.

One Year Later Blog Title

One Year Thankful

A year ago, I was celebrating Thanksgiving and my birthday in the hospital. I didn’t know I’d be in the hospital til Christmas let alone through the Fourth of July. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me anxiety bringing all of these memories back to reflect on this past year. I turn 27 tomorrow, a year ago I was just thankful a nurse made me a glove balloon and ordered a piece of cake from the hospital cafeteria. Looking back on the last four months of being home (I can’t even believe it’s been four months of freedom) I’m thankful for EVERYTHING. I’m thankful for being able to do the smallest things. I”m thankful for things that frustrate me – because it means I survived and still have independence.

 

A year ago, I got leftover turkey two days after Thanksgiving. This year I got fresh turkey and leftover turkey in my freezer. I got to hang out with my little brother, play games with my cousins, uncle and grandparents, and actually ENJOY Thanksgiving. A year of mine is missing, and everything seems only one year past when it’s actually TWO years past. It all feels so close, even though I just missed out on the last year. It doesn’t upset me. Life is so unpredictable, and I gained a new respect for myself and others.

 

A year ago, my 27th birthday was something I couldn’t see. It didn’t exist. But it’s tomorrow and now I’m surprised it’s already here. It feels like I just had one of these, but then again, it feels like it’s been forever since I last had a birthday. I just can’t make up my mind. I either lost a year or it feels like it’s been forever. It’s a mind-blowing feeling, and it’s an emotional rollercoaster. But it’s no use to look back and wonder what would’ve been different if none of this had happened. If the last year hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have made a trip to Florida, and my trip to Florida was my favorite thing I’ve evr done in my life.

 

In October, two of my best friends and I went on a “celebrate life” vacation to Florida, and I couldn’t think of better way I could’ve celebrated finding myself again. I’ll follow up with more vacation posts because there is A LOT to say about what happened. It was 10 days of constant events and I can’t explain how happy it made me to chase lizards on the sidewalk and lay by the pool reading a book with a margarita. Just being able to be independent, call an uber and go get some groceries at Target made me realize how much I had missed life.

 

This year is my golden birthday – I turn 27 on the 27th for those of you who have no clue what a golden birthday is – and we’re going to do the same thign I’ve done since I was a child, go to a movie. Disney movies always come out Thanksgiving weekend. We’ve always gone – from Lion King to Frozen.

 

Thursday, I’m celebrating life with my best friend since 8th grade doing the thing we haven’t done together since right after high school graduation – go to a concert. It’s not my first concert since the hospital, but I believe it’s the one I’ve been anxiously anticipating for a year. It’s essentially a repeat of my first ever show at the Ryman Auditorium – except it’s in Milwaukee, and I’m with a different friend. Regardless, that concert has a very special place in my heart and I’m sure this one will too.

 

It’s been four months and I honestly can’t remember 90% of the last year. It has taken me three weeks to write 500 words because I don’t remember most of what happened. I know it happened. It’s probably better I suppressed most of these memories. I still don’t remember calling my best friend right after surgery crying to her that I love her for an hour. But apparently I did. I do, however, remember that I thought I was fine when I wasn’t. I was telling myself I was fine when I definitely was having a week long panic attack. But – I survived it. I’m still here for a reason I haven’t found yet, but I’m thankful for every opportunity I’ve been given in 26 years. So, here’s to year 27. It’s brand new.