Resilience 101

G’day, and welcome to another week and another blog!

If you are new here, I am Rhi; I live in Australia and have Muscular Dystrophy. If you are returning, welcome back!!!

This week we are talking all about resilience!

Being disabled, you are often challenged daily. Even a simple thing such as cooking a meal requires thinking out of the box occasionally, especially if cooking pasta due to hot boiling water and a heavy pan or even opening a jar.

Growing up, resilience wasn’t something I was aware of; I just went about my life constantly thinking outside the box. I didn’t know any different.

a photo of me on my mobility scooter going down a hill in a paddock with a black horse. our backs are to the camera

However, I was blessed to be surrounded by and continue to be surrounded by some fantastic human beings who displayed incredible resilience in the face of adversity. So I knew what it sometimes takes to get through tough times.

My Late Grandfather was the epitome of resilience for me. A hobby farmer and Army Veteran, he would never complain about anything at all, or for too long, before he would roll up his sleeves and get the job done. When he became sick, he did something that I will never forget. That will stay between my family and me. Just know, it was the ultimate show of resilience.

Fast forward, and I have met amazing people who have every right to say how hard life can be, but after a moment or two will pick themselves up and get on with it.

My parents and brother have also had to endure a life they may not have been hoping for; a life without doctors or the worry of a progressive disease. Of course, we all sometimes shed tears; who doesn’t when they are on a harrowing journey? But we all rally together and get on with it.

These are the people I looked up to and who taught me resilience. They enabled me to try things my way before stepping in to give me a hand.

Resilience when you are disabled takes many forms. It could be anything from just going about day to day life, fighting for what you need, or even taking a stand on social issues being faced by Disabled People.

Me riding a beautiful white horse. Resilience is certainly needed here!

However, the biggest thing that people often forget about resilience, is that people feel as though they need to be resilient all the time, and anything short of it is wrong. That couldn’t be further from the truth!! It is okay to admit that things just suck on occasion. There are some people who say that admitting that disability life is difficult and sucks from time to time is classified as ableist… I respectfully disagree. It is called just being human.

And let’s face it you would be in denial if you didn’t admit things were tricky. Not to mention it isn’t realistic to live in the resilience mindset all the time. It does take a lot of energy. So taking time to recharge the batteries and even admit things are difficult is okay. It doesn’t make you any less of a human being. It certainly isn’t ableist.

For me, resilience isn’t just a term. It’s an attitude. It’s refusing to be limited by the cards you have been dealt and will find a way to do things your way… In a humbled way. Not only for yourself but for others.

Resilience is also a constant learning experience. I am not perfect in it by any stretch of the imagination. I still have my moments. But it also enables you to test the limits of what you are truly capable of and to enjoy everything life offers.

Resilience is also picking yourself up and saying, ‘this will not beat me. I have got so far; it’s time to get a reward from it.’ You get to a stage in life where you reach a limit of simply having your disability control everything and feeling like you can do nothing to stop it. However, once you decide not to let your disability hold you any more and start living alongside it and challenging it, resilience starts.

Living life with a disability presents so many unique challenges. But it teaches you gratitude for life and to roll your sleeves up and get on with the job. It also teaches you the ability to problem solve like an absolute champion!!

Now when presented with a heavy box to move, a horse to work with, a body that may not want to do as it’s told. I just have to think outside the box to get the job done. Because those things are things, I want to do. So I find a way to be able to do it. Even it takes twice as long. I simply won’t and don’t want to give that stuff up. And I am willing to put my body through its paces to do what I want.

Me when I graduated with my law degree. standing in a black chin length dress, black gown with a purple sash and graduation cap holding my degree.

Because to me, thinking outside the box and resilience is what I am used to. Like I said at the start of the blog, I haven’t known any different. I don’t know what it is like to lead a life without a disability. All I know is life with Muscular Dystrophy. And sure it may have its ups and downs, but now I just get on with life (sometimes after acknowledging how difficult life can be), and I won’t let it nor anyone tell me what I can and cannot do.

People have said to me in the past about my resilience. I just call it stubbornness.

For me that is called wanting to live abled your way. As you have every right to do.

Till next week,


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