Disability Pride: We are Super Human

G’day, friends, and welcome to another week and another post! If you are new, Hi! And if you have been along for the Living Abled journey thus far, welcome back!

If you didn’t know, July is Disability Pride Month!! So to all my lovely humans with some form of disability, happy Disability Pride.

It’s safe to assume so many people are shocked that there is such a thing as Disability Pride. But I feel it needs to be spoken about more because I didn’t even know there was such a thing for the disability community.

So I have been reflecting a little, as I tend to do more often than not, on what disability pride is and how it’s shown without people knowing it.

Many people and definitions of Disability Pride say it’s about protesting against ableism and disability discrimination, along with ‘promoting disability as an identity, community, culture and the positive pride felt by disabled people’. Thanks, Open Style Lab, for that quote!

I honestly think there is so much for us to be proud of when it comes to those in the disability community, whether friends, family or strangers. And one of those things to be proud of is simply refusing to let any barrier get in the way of living the life we want! That then led me to the tough that I feel that those of us with a disability or with Muscular Dystrophy are a different breed of human.

If you didn’t know, I had an old childhood friend pass away about two, almost three weeks ago. He had the same condition as me but a more severe strand called Duchenne. It’s the most known type of Muscular Dystrophy because it is simply the most researched.

Sitting at his funeral, listening to all the funny and heartfelt stories and looking down the row and seeing all of us in wheelchairs and scooters with pretty much the same condition, I honestly couldn’t have felt more proud of my MD and disability community.

Simply because being in that room, at a funeral of a person we all felt was so special, almost an icon for living life unapologetically and authentically, and knowing that soon enough, we will all succumb to MD one way or another despite our best efforts, it takes a lot of humility, guts, and courage to do that.

I know I talk about mindset constantly like a broken record. However, there is just something I find so incredible and mesmerising about those of us with MD or any disability who continually break barriers, never take pity, and push forward with life. It’s almost like we are superhuman.

We take life so seriously that we live it with a ‘take no prisoner’ mentality. We never accept defeat and continually strive to achieve what we want.

For me personally, I have reached a point in my life now where I no longer strive to be the same as everyone else. I love the logistical challenge of trying new things and pushing my limits. Yes, I still yearn for when I can climb a flight of stairs two at a time or jump in the car and head off on a road trip just by myself.

However, finding ways to adapt and constantly evolve makes us powerful. Yes, we may all occasionally take a hit when our condition declines again, or our disability takes something from us. However, we constantly roll with the punches and never take pity for too long.

That is what we, as disabled humans, do so well. We get up and try again and again. Nothing annoys us more than the look of pity and sadness on people’s faces when they see us.

Nothing is more refreshing than living abled my way, on my terms, and throwing the middle finger to my disability as a sibling would. Yes, it has given me amazing opportunities, but realising what it is doing is simultaneously trying to take that away from you fuels the hunger to keep going and trying every day not to let it take anything else from you.

We see the hardships and challenges that our disability throws at us as lessons to grow and evolve from and to pass on to fellow MD warriors who may feel uncertain and worried. Taking these hardships and lessons and turning them into something useful takes great skill and vulnerability.

Often times I would get frustrated by people saying ‘Wow you are inspirational’. But yeah I think we all are inspirational because we are so determined to just enjoy life and never see something as an obstacle but rather an opportunity.

We are bred tough and unrelenting. Constantly facing fear and uncertainty with charisma and courage could make Mohammad Ali shiver (in my opinion).

A powerful thing I will take away from last week was someone saying that my friend got so angry when he heard the phrase ‘confined to a wheelchair’. They said he responded by saying he wasn’t confined to the wheelchair. The wheelchair gets him everywhere he wants to go and do the things he wants to do; without it, he would be stuck.

I sat with that thought momentarily and truly agreed with him 100%. We are never confined to a wheelchair or a scooter. They are our legs, our transport. Without it, we are quite simply at the mercy of our disability.

Among all the trials and tribulations that disability life often brings, we are also really good at enjoying the tiny moments in life, just as much as the milestones. And for most of us, we have found our purpose through our disabilities.

If you have Muscular Dystrophy, you won’t have had a choice to be dealt the cards you have been sold. But we sure as heck respond in a way that can only come from a sheer refusal to give up and throw the towel in. We may say it’s hard, but we never quit. It’s not in us to stop.

We can all love and hate our disability at the same time. But it gets us up every day to make positive changes in our society and do everything we can to ensure we can live the life we truly deserve and provide those who come after us do the same. Once we realise that we can have a lasting impact on those around us, we tend to celebrate and move forward with love and courage regardless of what is ahead of us. And that is priceless and what I feel Disability Pride is all about.

A quote that says "I choose: to liv by choice not by chance, to be motivated not manipulated, to be useful not used, to make changes not excuses, to excel not compete, I choose self-esteem not self-pity, I choose to listen to my inner voice, Not the random opinion of others'. That is disability pride right there in my opinion!
A quote by Miranda Marrot

If anyone should take anything away from this, let it be this. Be proud of who you are, be proud of your successes, your milestones. Be proud of the people in your community for living the way they want to live, and for finding harmony with their disability with a side of a curse word to it. Continue to inspire and Iive abled your way.

I am so beyond proud of every single person I know with a disability, who is living abled their way. I am so proud to be surrounded by such an incredible community who in my opinion, are legendary humans.

Happy Disability Pride, my friends!

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