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.
My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and I hope to squash misconceptions about blindness and low vision. Today’s post may be a bit of a rant but I just want society to stop belittling people with disabilities.
Yes, Helen Keller was real and she accomplished much more than learning to write, read, and use sign language. Yes, she was deaf and blind but she was much more than that. Last May #HelenKellerWasntReal started trending when many began to call her a fraud and question her accomplishments. This article in Slate magazine explains the full story.
I do not want to focus on Helen Keller’s accomplishments but there is enough evidence showing that she was in fact a writer and a public speaker. I want to focus on why people would even question her accomplishments.
I would think that in 2020 and 2021 society would be educated enough to know that a person who is blind or has low vision or is deaf is capable of doing almost anything that a sighted or hearing person can do. It is sad that in our society a person is almost immediately written off when they have a disability. They are seen as less than everyone else just because they do things in a different way.
When you learn to problem solve you can find a way to accomplish almost anything. A person that is blind can read and write using braille. Aperson who is deaf can communicate using sign language. I think that the issue here is the wrong assumptions about people with disabilities that get passed down from generation to generation. This is the assumption that people with disabilities are not smart and that they are not a valuable part of society. The lack of representation of people with disabilities in the media and even in daily life such as employment has only helped to further these misconceptions.
I am writing all of these posts in this series to have a small part in ending these misconceptions because it will take time and we are not close to the goal but every step counts. Every new person that i can educate on these issues brings me and the rest of the disability community closer to this goal. Thank you for reading this post.
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.