This might surprise a lot of people, but it bothers me when someone says they don’t “see my wheelchair” or my disability. It’s taken me many years to figure out why this bothers me. Of course, I want people to recognize my humanity first, right? I want my friends and family to see me–the weird, “Lord of the Rings” loving, sometimes overly-emotional, funny, theology nerd they’ve known for 30 years–first, right? Right!
But here’s the thing: having been born with spina bifida and being a full-time wheelchair user has shaped me and who I am in the world. The fact that I have a disability is a part of my reality I want others to see! All people with disabilities are “whole.” Our realities don’t match up with a world that looks to ridiculous standards of beauty, wealth, physical and mental perfection. And that’s okay. People with disabilities have the same range of emotions, desires, and aspirations as those without them.
The thing is, I would not be the person I am without my disability.
This message is excerpted from a Women of the ELCA blog by Lisa Heffernan.
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