Monday, 27 November 2017

Me, My Disability, And How It Defines Me

Rushden Lakes - Northants - Northamptonshire - Rushden - shopping - disabled - powerchair

This project on Identities got me thinking about how I identify and what my identity means to me. My identity is really important to me. But then again, isn't everyone's? I guess when I really analyse myself, when I get down to the nitty-gritty, there's nothing unique or special about me and yet I am multifaceted (just like everyone else, right?). However, when I describe myself, no matter who I'm talking to, no matter how the conversation is going, I always mention that I'm disabled...I mean that's if the wheelchair didn't give it away already.


Being disabled is not all that I am; I don't stop at my impairment but it does define me. Were you expecting to read that my disability doesn't define me? We're often told 'don't let your disability define you', but why shouldn't we? What's so wrong with embracing your disability? Absolutely nothing, in my opinion.

My disability encompasses every single aspect of my life. I can't get up and spontaneously go somewhere; I need to have planned it a week in advance and to make sure that there's nothing else on that week as I'll have to rest when I get home. I spend a lot of time at doctors and hospital appointments, I'm in nonstop pain and rely on medication to function. I require help for the most simplest tasks, I spend more time in my pyjamas than clothes and I'm defeated by stairs. My everything revolves around my health. And I'm not mad at it. I used to be. I used to want to be healthy but my disability has taught me so much about myself and others. If I wasn't disabled I would be a completely different person and I don't like the thought of that. I'm also pretty bloody awesome because of my conditions, and you can check out a list I compiled of reasons why my disability makes me fab here.

This is my life, it's the only one I have and I don't intend on wasting it dwelling on what I could have been or could have done as there's no way of changing that. Instead I stand (okay, I don't stand, I sit) wearing my badge of disability pride and have no shame in being a disabled person.

It was an extremely empowering moment when I took control of my identity and acknowledged that I am disabled and I am not embarrassed, angry, or sad about it. I found a sense of peace and strength from accepting myself and who I am. It's the biggest part of my life. It impacts everything. And it's okay.

Of course, of course, I am not just my disability. And yes, I am so much more. I have plenty of interests, and an array of sides to my personality - good and bad. My other labels are a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, an aunt, a friend, a writer, a photographer, a chatterbox, and a sarcastic cow. There's so many parts of me. There's so many boxes I fit in. But I am always, always, always disabled, and it's crucial that I recognise that and highlight that it's one of the best things about me.

Rushden Lakes - Northants - Northamptonshire - Rushden - shopping - disabled - powerchair

Disability is often perceived, (mainly by abled people) as a negative thing. It's viewed as one of the worst things that could happen to a person but I'm here to tell you that it is so far from it. There's nothing wrong with the word disabled. There's nothing wrong with being disabled. Disability is not a bad word. Disability is not a bad thing.

If disability was such a negative, I wouldn't have had these incredible opportunities; I've worked with BBC Three, Scope and many more (check my press page here). Honestly writing about disability and raising awareness has opened so many doors for me and I am so grateful for all of them.

If you're not defined by your disability that is absolutely fine too. We are all different. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to self-identifying.

My disability defines me. My disability is who I am.

Check out these interviews with Umber, Laurence and John who discuss their disability and identity and what it means to them.


What defines you?
*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored

7 comments:

  1. I love this Sarah, you're much much more than your disability and you prove that time and time again. Keep being you, you're bloody awesome xx

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  2. this is beautifully written! Truly an inspiration!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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  3. I really loved this post, you're such an incredible person and you've just shown how amazing you are within this post. Keep doing what you're doing, because your doing bloody brilliant! <3

    Taylor Jane ox ¦ www.taylorjane.co.uk

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  4. Such an empowering post! Go you! X

    Amina xx

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  5. I absolutely adored reading this post. It's so empowering! I wish I'd read something like this after my accident. I'm proud to be part of the disabled community & my disability does define me too.
    Kate x
    www.kateiscoveting.wordpress.com

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  6. I love this! So many people make me almost feel guilty for embracing my disability and letting it be part of who I am but it is and always will be so why should I not rock it! xx

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  7. You’re just amazing!! My SSS 😉 on that note when is my sidecar coming? But seriously I so wish I was more like you, I struggle so much with accepting my health & disability & still can’t seem to be ok with it. Maybe one day, I’m sure you’ll knock it into me one way or another 😂 I’m proud to be your friend ❤️ Xxxxx

    www.mammafulzo.com

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