Who am I? redefining ‘you do you’

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

I have been thinking a lot these last few weeks about identity and what people decide what values and attributes they hold dear.

For example, I think it is safe to say about 90% of the population identifies themselves with their career. That is just a number I plucked from mid air so don’t quote me on it! And when they either retire, are made redundant or decide to leave their career, they suffer a big slump of not knowing who they are.

Outside of a career, hobbies, marital status, whether you are a homeowner, and many other things also take up part of your identity.

Same with an illness or disability.

For years I always Identified myself with my disability.

My Psychologist asked me a while back “who are you Rhiannon?”. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “i am disabled, I am a student, a daughter, a sister”. And she stopped me before I went further. She said “the first thing out of your mouth as I am disabled, do you think you are your disability or that your disability is who you are?”. I replied yes.

a photo of the book called Sacred Powers by David Ji and a cup of tea in my left hand. The photo is looking down on the book and tea
Self development is a must!

After a little while talking she asked me again “who are you?”. And I broke down in tears. Because for the first time, I had to admit that I didn’t know who I truly was. What did I stand for? who was I outside of the external things I described myself with? What else what I apart from my Disability?

She tasked me with coming back to her with the answer to the question, “Who am I?”.

Trust me, it is easier said than done!

I have always associated myself with my disability, and I feel as though so many of us do.

For a lot of us, the idea of disability is who we are. Whether or not that comes from societal norms. That’s always up for debate.

Because it is simply a major marker for society, which then you become easily influenced in thinking that is all that you are.

It is the same as when people always lead by talking about what one does for a living. Reducing a person down to their career.

For disabled people, and essentially every human being, we need to start rewriting things, rewiring our brains to determine who we are outside of our abilities and find those quirky things that make us human.

Sure the external things are as much a part of you and your identity, but what about the inner self?

I am talking values, not materialistic things. Because if all those things were taken from you, you would just be left with you. So it is so important to learn what it is to be you! And to truly love what that is!

Being you has nothing to do with abilities I believe. Being you is about being unapologetic in your values as a human being and what you are and are not prepared to deal with, and also being unapologetic in the things that truly make you stand out from the crowd.

Being you is essentially doing life your way! Or as I like to call it Living Abled your way!

Some people even say, “you do you boo,”.. which also works too.. no judgment here!

Let’s be honest, though; being you or ‘you do you’ is such a terrifying concept, and especially confronting if you don’t know who you are and are asked that question in a Psychologist’s office! I regretted wearing non-waterproof mascara that day! Hello, Panda Eyes!

However, as much as I am saying find who you are outside of your disability, being you is just as much about owning every part of who you are, including your disability, and being proud of the resilient human you are. The only caveat to that, though is when you know there are parts of you that need to be worked on, you work on it for no one else except yourself.

An old photo from a panel i did last year. 4 humans sit next to each other at the front of the room. I am on the right of the photo speaking into a microphone
Advocacy – will forever by my thing!

Being you is all about acceptance and celebrating what makes you authentically you… unless you are a so-and-so.. For your sake and everyone else’s, don’t be a so-and-so. Personal Development is an incredible tool, I highly recommend.

So how did I really try to discover who I was? I first asked myself, do I love everything I am at the moment? what parts of myself could do with a bit of spring cleaning and moving? What do live do want to live moving forward? What is meaningful to me? And the hard-hitting one. If I died tomorrow, what would I want people to say about me?

I realised I was relying too much on outside perceptions. I was the prime definition of a people-pleaser! I put everything I needed or valued aside to allow everyone around me to shine. I was desperate for the wrong people’s approval, and peer pressure, especially in high school, made me crawl further and further away from my authentic self.

Outside perception can also have a very negative effect on your self-worth, in my opinion. If you aren’t unapologetic in what you stand for and who you are, you can easily feel as though your identity is what everyone says it is or just what people think of you. So if people are reducing you to your disability, there is a fair chance your self-worth can take a massive hit because like I said before, you can lose sight of who you actually are.

Since I left school, I have been challenged constantly to find who I am and believe in the outside noise rather than finding and embracing who I am.

Through a lot of self-questioning, evaluating, journaling and counselling/coaching I can confidently say I know who I am. Are there days that I am challenged? you bet! I am not perfect. The only things that can ever be 100% perfect is maths equations or a straight line on a piece of paper! So perfect is BS! Yeah, I said it!

So who am i? A mentor for my degree asked me to write 25 words to describe myself. A few of them were; self-development nerd, strong, confident, stubborn, daredevil, problem solver, kind, passionate, determined, strong, unique, a family person, horsey girl, graduate, blogger, book worm, movie buff, AFL fanatic, daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, friend, proud Aussie, disabled, a woman.

I own every part of me, the good, the bad, the quirky. Because that makes up who I am. I am finding more ways to own who I am truly and the part I want to play in society. I work on the things I need to work on; for myself, not anybody else. I am proud of who I am and I will always be in development and constantly learning and evolving. But isn’t that part of what life is all about? I am enjoying the journey one lesson at a time.

Till next week,


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