Watching secret millionaire last night really moved me, the way Matthew Newbury spoke about trying to avoid being stereotyped as disabled really hit home for me.
It was a two part whammy I guess, firstly with Livvy we faced a lot of discrimination. People saw the syndrome not the individual. So many times we had to fight for services and equipment it was crazy. Once we were even asked ” What was the point ?” in the sense of the fact that she was never going to improve. This as you can imagine made me so mad, I had to prove my child’s potential, her ability.
Secondly it’s been a personal,journey for me into the world of disability, like Matthew said I don’t see myself as disabled, yet if you read my medical reports I am.
Yet what does being disabled mean, how does it define us and should it be a stereotype that I’m afraid to be part of?
To be honest the term disabled is strange one as the scope of disability is vast ranging. A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.
I know I am personally lucky, yes I do live in constant pain and my days of dancing are far behind me, but I’m mentally fine (yes that’s open for discussion another time) and I’m also able to live a “ normal life“. I’ve highlighted that word normal as its one I hate as I always ask the question ” who defines normality”. Anyway what I’m trying to say is that I am blessed.
Yet even in my knowledge of disability I find myself shying away from allowing the term to be given to me and I should know better.
Disability doesn’t define who we are!
Barriers are being broken down and I’m so inspired to see this. The world is slowly beginning to see the people beyond the disability.
For me it’s been a journey of acceptance one that to be honest I’m still travelling on. It’s a place where I have to let go of the old me and embrace the new one. Yes it’s a little different but yes it could be a hell of a lot worse.
I am inspired by the courage of the stories that were told on secret millionaire just as I was daily inspired by Livvy’s courage.
Now I just have to find my own courage and my own acceptance.
Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.
Franklin D. Roosevelt