Who are you? redefining confidence

G’day, and welcome to another week and another blog. If you are new here Hi! I am Rhi, I was diagnosed with Ullrich Muscular Dystrophy and live in Beautiful Queensland, Australia. If you have been here before, welcome back!

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

For example, I think it is safe to say about 90% of the population identifies themselves with their career. 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 home owner, 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”. And she stopped me before I went further. She said, “The first thing out of your mouth was I am disabled, do you think you are your disability or that your disability is who you are?”. I replied yes.

After talking briefly, 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 was outside of the external things I described myself with or my disability.

She tasked me with coming back to her with things that I could say was who I was that didn’t rely on materialistic things or a disability.

That was something so tricky for me.

an old photo of me in 2016 after my high school years 12 formal. I am sitting on a black couch with my head resting on my hand leaning to one side. I am wearing a hot pink floor length dress with embellishments on the top

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 society norms and more often than not leading introductions with “this is such and such and they have a disability” at a function or even simple day-to-day chat. Or simply the first or second question asked is about your disability.

Why don’t we do that with every body? “this is such an such, they don’t have a disability and are….”. Simply put that would be so strange! So why do that to disabled people?

Because it is simply a major marker for society, which then you become easily influenced in thinking that is all that you are. Same as when people always lead with talking about what one does for a living. Reducing a person down to their career. Having said that though, more often than not, the questions comes from curiosity rather than anything else. Which is also a good thing.

So for disabled people I think we need to start rewiring our brains to determine who we are outside of our abilities, and find those quirky things that make us human.

me in my scooter looking up at a black horse. His head is in the palm of my hand almost falling asleep

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!

Being you has nothing to do with abilities. 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!

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!

However, as much as I am saying in the blog to find who you are outside of your disability, being you is just as much about owning every part of who you are, and be 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.

Being you is all about acceptance and celebrating what makes you authentically you… unless you are being a so-and-so.. Personal Development is an incredible tool.

a black and white selfie of me a few years ago. my hair is down and my hand is on my chin

Outside perception can also have a very negative effect on your self-worth in my opinion. So if people are reducing you down to your disability or whatever it may be, 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.

So for me who am i? I am kind, passionate, determined, strong, unique, a family person, a defender, a movie quoter, a gym person, horsey girl, academic, blogger, book worm, movie buff, AFL fanatic, a student, daughter, sister, niece, 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 truly own who I am and the part I want to play in society. I am proud of who I am and I will always be in development and constantly learning and evolving. But isnt that part of what life is all about? How will you live abled your way?

Till next week,


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