group of people running next to a man in a marathon wheelchair

5 Reasons how you can rock Disability

G’day friends. Hope you are doing well. Having a Disability can be considered to many people as something not to celebrate. However, I feel that it is about time we celebrate being disabled in all of its glory. Having a positive outlook on life is crucial to how we live our lives.

In a world that is dominated by images of size 6 women with long legs strutting the catwalk and men with contoured abs, we quickly loose sight of what is achievable and how we are meant to feel about ourselves.

No one is perfect. We all have flaws in one way or another, and that is something not to be ashamed about. Yes even the six feet tall size six models have their flaws! However, you must know that being ‘flawed’ or having ‘impairments’ can be a blessing. Purely because it is what makes us stand out as individuals.

However, once we figure out our so-called “imperfections”, we are very quick to start picking ourselves to pieces. As a result, we then turn to our good friends called carbs and sugar for relief which then turns into more comfort eating. Yes, we have all been the person sitting on the couch in our dags with a bag of chips, and a tub of ice-cream crying over a horrid Rom-Com! Sorry, I digress.

However, this year has really made me re-evaluate my life. I think for everyone, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and we have been made to press pause and to re-evaluate our lives. This pause I think has also forced us to sit with ourselves as well as our thoughts and feelings. For most, it has been a really testing time emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, and financially.

Although it is not all doom and gloom, unless you view it that way. One of the biggest things I have learnt this year is how important perspective is.

I think this year has taught us so much about ourselves, and for that I am so grateful. One of the many mindsets that has changed this year is my feelings towards my Disability and body.

So, I thought as we are approaching the end of the year, that it would be a great time to talk about how you can rock having a Disability!

Rocking Disability 1: outlook is always key.

Disability is all about outlook- picture of a spiral stair case in a forest with two people walking up the stairs.
Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová from Pexels

Like I said before, I hated my Disability and what it was and still is doing to me mentally.

However, as I sat with myself this year, I reflected upon some of the highlights that has occurred in my life thanks to my Disability.

We can all look at our lives as one big never-ending mess. That is easy to do, but how does that make you feel internally? You begin to hate yourself and those around you right? Which then in turn opens you up for people to attack your vulnerability.

So, when I realised how easy it is to hate everything in life, I really started to try being focused on the good things. However, I couldn’t do this until I had some really great conversations with my mum and therapist. They both shared the same outlook on situations that I thought were world ending. So, this really made me think how much I have been magnifying problems in my life or in the world around me.

I began to slowly rewind and replay the events in my life that has caused me the most heartbreak and anger. I tried to find a way to see the other side of things, and to not be so judgmental and harsh upon myself and others.

When it comes to my Disability, I used to view it as the most horrible thing to every happen to me. I used to cry myself to sleep over the relentless bullying in combination with watching myself deteriorate, and knowing the doctors didn’t have a good prognosis for me.

Now that more research is coming out, and more doctor’s visits later, my prognosis has drastically changed from my 20s to hopefully being stable until my 40s or 50s. If that isn’t a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is!

I now look at my Disability as one of the biggest gifts and tools that I possibly have. It has enabled me to do so much, and for that I am grateful. I also remember that compared to others who have MD, I am incredibly lucky to still be on my feet. The thought that I have ignored this fact for most of my life, really made me wake up and learn the art of outlook and perspective.

So, all in all, perspective and outlook are always important if you are to love yourself unconditionally. Try and view things from a positive perspective and how you can use the circumstances or cards you have been dealt to your advantage, and to serve those around you. One of the ways to do this is watching motivational videos, listen to podcasts, read books, have conversations, and even delve deep into faith. The one thing I learnt in all of this is that being quiet is never going to go down well for you mentally.

Rocking Disability: The perks!

soccer players with disability running past a goal post with aids.
Photo by Anas Aldyab from Pexels

I have the saying ‘if you are disabled you need to have some perks!’. Here in Australia, if you are disabled, you have access to fairly good Disability care. Whether it is disabled bathrooms, disabled parking, quiet hours at shops, sign language interpreters, NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), Government Pensions and other incredible discounts and facilities.

Now, I know that for some people, the NDIS is a pain in the neck, but for me it is the best thing that has ever happened. I can now afford to go and get the treatment I need without worrying about my bank account. Add on the optional private health care and bulk billed medical services, and you have a winning formula for I think a pretty decent health care set up. Feeling like you are supported in this way, is massive in terms of improving your health.

Oh, I did forget, priority parking and seating at venues! That is something that is always a win in my book! Seating and parking are always a major issue at sporting events. Stairs and I go together like Orange Juice and Milk, yeah, I know not good. So, to be able to have the option of accessible seating without climbing what feels like Mount Everest in stairs, makes the event more enjoyable and less embarrassing.  Also, direct access to the main gate of a stadium or venue never gets old.

In saying that, if you are not disabled, please leave the disabled parking spaces and toilets to those of us who need them pretty please! Unless you are nearly bursting at the seams and no one else in a chair needs the bathroom. Go use your own small cubical toilets! Too far?

Rocking Disability 3: The opportunities

Two people in road wheelchairs competing. Disability comes with some awesome opportunities
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels

For a few of us disabled folk, we have the opportunity to be a part of some incredible things and see incredible places.

I was fortunate enough to be granted a Starlight wish. I chose to go to Sydney for the Hunger Games Catching Fire Premiere. I was fourteen at the time, so no judging on choice of wish! This experience was truly a once in a lifetime and I honestly couldn’t imagine anything more special and fun. So many other experiences were included in this trip including Taronga Zoo, Adriano Zumbo’s dessert train and, and what trip to Sydney would be complete without a trip to Bondi Beach?

I have also had the opportunity to speak at schools, business conferences, and local footy charity matches. I have enjoyed all these experiences, as I feel as though it was a way in which I could spread my story and raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy and Disability. Here in Australia, MD isn’t a well-known condition so any awareness I can spread is always a win.

So it is fair to say, without being disabled, I would have never been able to experience any of these absolutely amazing opportunities. These are all something I will cherish forever.

Oh and lets not forget the awesome Para-Sports that are becoming even more prevalent on our TV’s and those participating! without those sports, the disabled community may have not been able to meet the likes of Prince Harry or even go to the Olympics! That alone is also something to go nuts with pride over!

Rocking Disability 4: My Relationships

Photo by Judita Tamošiūnaitė from Pexels

I think one of the biggest things about why I love my Disability, is the fact that I have some incredible relationships.

One that is most important would be the relationship with my mum. She is pretty much my carer, friend, confidant, sister, and mum all in one.

She is the one that I call if I need to get off the floor, get me off the toilet, tie my hair up, put my shoes on, get me out of the car, take me to work, help me get out of wet togs, and much more. For your ‘average’ 21-year-old, your parent/guardian would stop doing most of these things for you by the time you reach six. So, for me to still need assistance with things that my four-year-old cousin needs help with used to be embarrassing to no end, but now I remind myself how lucky I am, and laugh it off.

Because I rely heavily on people around me, I have no other option but to trust those around me from the get-go. If I fall over, need help getting off a chair, or carrying heavy boxes, I need to ask the first person I see, and have faith they can help me.

I think this is one of the most important benefits to being disabled. The relationships you form are reliant heavily on Trust. What relationships aren’t though right? However, I feel in this instance this kind of trust in completely different. You trust people to be in your personal bubble, and to help you and then not make a fuss about it. When you trust people like this, knowing they won’t ask questions and will go about live as per usual, it makes disabled life a ton easier. This side of trust is something I learnt super early on, which I feel is a bonus!

Rocking Disability 5: The Biggest takeaways

3 people with different disability having a drink and enjoying life with a ramp in the background
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

I think when it comes down to it, being disabled can on the outside look like the biggest curse imaginable. That is purely because the stigma in society surrounding quality of life. Most people still think that if you are disabled, you can’t amount to much and we will be stuck on the Pension and receiving what they call ‘government handouts’ for ever.

However, I truly believe that we are only limited by our thoughts about ourselves, and by those around us. It doesn’t matter what cards you have been dealt in life, it only matters if you let it impact you negatively. Everyone is dealing with something, but I believe that if you can flip the switch, and view your struggles and cards in life as an opportunity to teach and to grow, you can go far.

Being disabled doesn’t in any way mean you are limited in life. It only means that we have to adapt to our surroundings and figure out smarter ways to go about life, that isn’t focused on the mantra of ‘I can not’. Yes, we may not be able to join to Defence Force, Emergency Services or in some cases become Nurses. However, we sure can become Lawyers, Psychologists, Artists, Speakers, Authors, Coaches, IT Wizards, Laborers, Carpenters, Husbands, Wives, Teachers, Parents.

We are only limited by what we feel. Use your Disability as the steppingstone but not the finish line. Once you realise how important you are, and how your Disability can be the catalyst for incredible journeys and opportunities, you will feel a sense of empowerment.

That in a nutshell is how you can rock being disabled!

Just remember, one step at a time.

P.s. with whispers swirling around when Cruising may start up again, check out my blog about cruising while being disabled!!

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons how you can rock Disability”

  1. Pingback: Valentine's Day: 5 Ways how to smash being your own Valentine! - Living Abled

  2. Pingback: Run For Strength- My Insane Journey To 5km! - Living Abled

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.