A Love Letter on Disability: Stop Feeling Sorry For Us. Start Fighting For Us.
Stop feeling sorry for us.
The onset of my disabilities began at 13 and I have been unable to engage in regular physical activities for years. Early on, I braced myself for a lifetime of chronic back dysfunctions compounded by the equally debilitating realities of depression and anxiety. The transition into my status as “disabled” and later to my status as “part-time wheelchair user” has been endlessly complex. I went from having a body that people celebrated—a body that fulfilled cultural obsessions with physical strength and performativity—to having a body that was rejected.
The precise moment at which my body became a “problem” will remain with me forever. It was when my first back specialist informed me that I had fractured multiple parts of my lumbar spine— not because of …
A Reflection on the 2016 Olympics Through a Disabled Lens
Credit: Corinne Singer
So much of my identity is contingent upon my strength. Before the development of my disability, I filled all of my spare time with sports. I played everything–competitively. My pride was deeply rooted in a rough exterior and an ability to perform physically that set me apart from many of my peers. At the age of thirteen, however, the discovery of stress fractures, joint dysfunctions, and other similar issues completely uprooted me from an identity I had worked so tirelessly create.. I am now unable to perform any sort of physical activity beyond the boundaries of physical therapy. My story is just one of approximately one billion of those of us who experience some form of a disability.
As the 2016 summer Olympics progressed, articles regarding sexism …
For three years, I lived alone with my mother. She worked long hours and was never really in a fit state for a conversation when she came home, so I kept myself company by writing stories. I typed line after line in a frenzy — words flew from my fingertips.
I especially liked the art of developing my characters. I felt like the master of a chessboard of my own making, willing the players to move in the directions I determined. In a way, writing fictional characters was a personal escape: I could create ideal people without broken pasts — characters that exuded perfection (not the arrogant kind, but rather the admirable).
Or so I thought. It never occurred to me that my creative outlet, writing, could actually be something …
Growing Pains: What Growing Up With Cerebral Palsy Taught Me About Life
What I learned from my operation.
Like so many others my age, at 14 I desperately wanted to be just like everyone else. But unlike most of my peers, I had spent 14 years trapped inside of a body that wouldn’t let me move. I was born with cerebral palsy and had dealt with mobility issues my entire life. These issues included spasticity in my legs due to improper neuron reception — an experience that led me to believe I would never live pain-free.
When the spasticity got even worse as I started to go through growth spurts, however, doctors told me I could have orthopedic surgeries to release the tension in my muscles. I chose to have them. I couldn’t be free while my muscles were in a constant …