I do not usually consider pride to be a good thing to have, but in this case the word “pride” is necessary.
July is Disability Pride Month and it is time that people with disabilities be proud of who they are.
People with disabilities are constantly seen as less of a person just because they are different. Society sees a disability as something to be ashamed of.
I have a disability myself as I am visually impaired.
When I think of being proud of being disabled I do not mean have an arrogant or conceited attitude, because that solves nothing. When I think of pride, i think of coming to a place where you are happy in your own skin.
I think it means stepping out into the world confidently using your white cane.
I think it means going out into the world confidently in your wheelchair or crutches or hearing aids or any other assistive device.
Disability pride is sharing your life and gifts with society even when you are told you don’t belong.
So to everyone with a disability: do not let other people’s comments keep you down. We are here with a purpose and we have unique gifts to contribute to society.
Take pride in your unique life and shine!
I wrote this poem to encourage myself and others not to be ashamed of using a white cane.
This month I am taking part in the May Linkup for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. This linkup is hosted by Sheryl, founder of the blog A Chronic Voice. She provides 5 writing prompts to use to share updates on life in general but also may include the aspect of disability. When you have a chronic illness or disability it will make an appearance in every part of life. Here are my responses to this month’s prompts.
There are several things that I am pushing myself to do and I have started working on some this month and I am starting some soon. I am pushing myself to learn new things.
I hope to resume my journey to learning braille. I know the basics but I want to improve and I need a review. I know half of the alphabet but the second half has been more challenging for me to memorize.
I am also pushing myself to learn Greek. I am using the Textus Receptus to learn. I use a screen reader or an audio Bible to study as I am visually impaired so this has been an adjustment for me in learning a new language but I am becoming more familiar with words the more I listen. I have also found some lessons on youTube that are helpful. I will be posting more about this in an upcoming post.
I am pushing myself to exercise more. I have fallen into a rut the past few months and have not been exercising at all. I want to begin walking at home again.
I am stretching out when it comes to my blog and poetry. I hope to be able to be a full time blogger in the future. I have made two YouTube channels, one for my poetry and one to go along with this blog. I am very shy so this is a stretch for me but it is time for me to just do it. I hope to improve my poetry site and start a mailing list and grow my audience all around. It may be a stretch for me but sometimes you just have to aim for big dreams.
Here are my YouTube channels if you want to check them out.
I want to be healthy and step away from the candy. I have already explained that I want to exercise more but I also want to eat healthier. I have recently been eating too much candy and I must stop.
I also want to have a daily schedule that will give me set times to study braille and Greek as well as to work on my poetry and on this blog and on YouTube and all that goes along with that. I have a lot to keep track of and I need to stay disciplined to get it all done.
My Christian faith is very important to me and I want to be disciplined in this area as well in reading my Bible and praying and spending time with God. I set time apart in the morning before I do anything else and at the end of the day.
Well I am preserving my sound mind by staying close to God and keeping myself busy and also by loom knitting. I am used to being at home most of the time but sometimes it can get frustrating. I would like to go for walks but my neighborhood does not have accessible areas which is to say that you need a car to get around and I do not feel safe walking on my own.
I am thankful that I am in good health and my family is in good health. I am thankful to have a home to be in even if I do not get out much. I am thankful to be able to blog and reach others with my story.
Some extra thoughts
I hope that your May went well. Feel free to share your answers to these prompts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.
In honor of Women’s history month I want to highlight the life of a young woman that has made me reflect on the value of life, her name is Claire Wineland. She was born with Cystic Fibrosis and sadly her life ended at age 21 but she left us all with important life lessons when it comes to the way society treats those that have a disability. I would recommend that you all watch the documentary on her life.
One of the main messages that Claire tried to get across to everyone is that people should not pity those that are sick or have a disability. She shares from her point of view how this only makes the situation worse and makes life harder. She says that people that are sick or have a disability need to know that they are “more than just a cause for charity”. She also says that what kept her fighting on was that she had a purpose in life and goals to accomplish.
I completely agree with the point she makes. I have a disability myself and the last thing I want is for people to feel sorry for me. I also believe that it is important for those that have a disability to be given the opportunity to follow their dreams and to have high goals. Many times people with disabilities are looked down upon and not much is expected of them as they are immediately written off. The disabled community needs to lift each other up. The truth is that you have to believe in yourself first and it should not matter what other people think. I have learned that you have to stand up and advocate for yourself when you have a disability and you have to create your own path when society does not open one for you.
Another important message that Claire shared is that you have a purpose and you have a valuable contribution to make even when you are sick or disabled. You do not have to wait for a cure, you are valuable just the way you are. I think that we can let the opinion of others shape our thoughts and life and we stay stuck in that hole that is made by others. We have to find it in ourselves to rise above the negative views and show them what we can do.
This has taught me to appreciate the life that God has given me and that i must use the time he gives me to make the world a better place. I may be visually impaired but I have a purpose. I have valuable contributions to make. I should not spend my time here feeling sorry for myself, instead I have to push on and give the best I have to offer. I am a Christian so for me that means I can share the gospel, I can pray for others and so on. I started this blog to encourage others through sharing my story along with helpful tips. I do not want to just watch my life go by and waste this gift God has given me.
I hope that this will encourage you today. I believe that you have something of value to give even if you are lying in a hospital bed. I believe that if you are alive today you have a purpose so do not give up on life for it is a precious gift.
Society’s definition of beauty has become more shallow as the years have gone by. The media and magazines have defined beauty. The standard is to be tall and thin with a perfect face. This standard of beauty has only further excluded those that are different including people with disabilities.
There is very little representation of the disability community in the media and society is not being educated on what inclusion truly means. The reality is that the media is the place where most people get their information and that information helps to shape their opinions.
The reality is that it is actually rare for someone to come in contact with a disabled person in their every day life. The first exposure they may have to a person with a disability will be via the media.
It is time to redefine the meaning of beautiful in our society today. This must begin in the home but sadly the education is happening through the media.
I want to highlight five examples of how the disabled community is being represented in the media. YouTube has come to be a very large part of culture and has at times taken the place of television for many people and has opened the door to many opportunities for the disabled community to gain a foot in the media world. It may not be the big screen, but it is a very good start.
Six Blind Kids
Karen and Joe adopted six children over the years. They are all totally blind and 5 of them have other special needs. This family gives the world a look into their life. They show the world that a person who is blind can be independent. The kids are adults except for one and they make it a point to instill independence in each of them. This is evident in the videos they share. Get a glimpse into their lives.
The Killen Clan
This family adopted two children with special needs and share a glimpse into their life through videos on YouTube. They share the good and the hard days and share the reality of it all. Altogether, they have 3 children with special needs.
Special Books by Special Kids
Chris Ulmer started Special Books by Special Kids as a way to provide a voice for people with disabilities whether visible or invisible. He wants to bring attention to their stories and has gained a large audience. Here is an episode.
Let’s Make the Change
There are many other people with disabilities making their voices heard and breaking into the media. We can all contribute to further inclusion by spreading the word about these creators. I hope that one day disability will be seen as a beautiful and valuable aspect of society.
A few accommodations can go a long way when you are seeking to include a blind or visually impaired person in the workplace.
Lucy Edwards is a UK based broadcaster, Youtuber that also happens to be blind. She made a video discussing the accommodations that help her do her job as a journalist. I want to point out that every person that has a vision impairment is unique and may need different things. I think that this video gives a general overview of what is commonly helpful in these situations.
I hope that more workplaces will take these first steps to inclusion and consider expanding their group to include people with disabilities.