Tuesday, September 6, 2016

25 Life Lessons that I have learned due to my disability

   
  So today is my 25 birthday.  I have been on this earth 25 years! For me 25 seems so old.  I mean I  remember being a 21 year old and still feeling like a teenager and people in their mid 20s being so old but now the  jokes on me because  I am 25,  a quarter century old.

 Over the past 24 years I have learned a thing or two about disabilities.  I have had 8,640 days  of living with disability.  As a result,  I have had a unique experience being on this earth.  It is different than my parents or any of  my siblings.    There have been  lots of hard days but  not all days have been difficult.  In fact, there have been many life lessons that I have gained by having  a disability.
Here isa my count down list of 25.

 25  There will be hard days.   



 There will be  hard days for everyone life is hard at times. Sometimes it will be a hard day due to having a disability and some hard days happen because  life is just plan hard.


24  Hard Days do not last forever.


   
    Sometimes in the mist of  a bout of very strong OCD  I have hard weeks or months.  As hard as theres things might seem day after day,  there will be a day where it becomes better again.  



23  Laughter  makes everything better 



    On those hard days its important to have laughter.  A little joke and smile might be all you need  to make you  feel better.  Laughter has been crucial for me because it gives me a small break from  my fears and troubles.

22   Never take anything for granted 


  I know some people out there,  I know because unfortunately I have had to deal with them, think that humans beings are naturally able to walk talk  and do a verity of things independently and take those things for granted. I do not because I know  a lot of people who can not always do these things and they are not broken people.   

21  Disabilities are not something to be sorry about 


 One of the things I hate a lot is when people  apologize after I have told them that I have CP.  Those people I have found are the nice people who just do not know what to say.   There is nothing to be sorry about. I have a good life. 


20.  Kids are curious about disabilities,  so it is important not to dismiss their curiosity.




Both growing up and now as an adult,  kids are curious about why I speak differently.  I  know that it  is important to be honest with kids and give them the vocabulary  and knowledge to embrace people with disabilities.  I am not going to be publishing a book on Cerebral Palsy  this year but I am hoping  it will be at a later date.


19. Being in the right environment is critical for success.
  

 I have experienced this from jr. high 'til today . When I am in the right environment, I am able to do well and when I am not  it is hard for me to meet  expectations.  It is key that more  environments try to accommodate those with disabilities like my Jr College and CSEB did.

18. Words matter.


Despite what the saying, "sticks and stones" says,  words can and do hurt.   It is important  to be respectful to each other.  You can do this by ending the R word and listening to minority communities about what words or phrases mean to them.

17.  Friendships are critical.


Friendships are important. I did not have a lot of good friends growing up, so I treasure the friendships that I have now.  I am friends with my old professors, service providers, and some peers. These relationships are important because they allow me to have experiences outside of my family. 

16.  Inspiration is not necessarily a good thing. 


    Being disabled and having disabled friends online has allowed me to understand  that Inspo Porn       is not always the best  way to represent people with disabilities in the media.  ( For more click here
15 Ableism is real.


      While we learn about a lot of other stuff in school and college we rarely learn about Ableism.  I  have experienced ableism  and it is not fun.  It does exist  and as a young adult I now have a responsibility to speak against it and make other people  aware of its existence.

14. Disabled people have made contributions.


  Something else that you do not learn about in school is the story of the disability rights movement.  Helen Keller was not the only disabled individual who made a difference to American  History.  There have be others.  These  stories  need telling. I learned about the 504 protests that happened in SF in the seventies and the Capital crawl  to help  push through the ADA. 

13.  Media is slowly  changing.


   There has never been a better time to be a person with a disability.  Shows like Born This Way, Switched at Birth, and Speechless and the modeling industry advocacy organization, Changing The Face of Beauty are showing  the world that being disabled is ok. They are doing this by allowing real disabled actors to be portrayed in these roles. This is very exciting. 

12.  Being Brave is a crucial.


  Sometimes it is hard to be brave but it is important. When  I decided this summer to go back to Speech Therapy at 24 I was being brave and I am seeing the  results.

11.  Be Assertive 


  You have to speak up if things are not going right. Back in middle school, I was told to ignore bullies now I know that was wrong information.  You have to speak up, not only for yourself but for  others coming behind you. 


10   People you meet  online are not always creepy.



 I have met the best people online who are connected to disability.  We are truly a global community and are using  our voices and life stories to help each other.  I am hoping to attend the NDSC  conference next June to meet more of these awesome people.

9.   No one has a crystal ball.



   Though out my life well meaning people have tried to paint a future for me.  They said I couldn't go to college or live on my own.  This past year I graduated college with a GPA above 3.0.  This has proved to me that I make my own future just like my sisters and cousins. 



8.  Do not assume.

   I think humans tend to assume a lot of things about people. I have done this too and feel bad. I know that having an open  mind when meeting new people is important.


7.  Great expectations.




     My parents taught me this one. They  never seemed to be bogged down by what professionals said to them. They expect me to be my best. They pushed me to go to college and have advocated for me  to have the best life I possibly can. Sometimes when I start listening to nay sayers  they are the firsts ones to say no, that I can achieve success in life. 

6       Two wheel bikes are overrated 

 While  I can successfully ride a two wheeler on flat lands.  I much rather zip around on a three wheel bike. Although it has been broken for a few years.  I love that bike a lot. 

5.  Celebrate  the little things  

 When I am  able to  do something new. I tense up and get so excited, it is the best feeling because I know how hard I had to work to get there. 

4.  Community matters.

  I have found community  in therapy centers, Special Olympics and online.  I love making the World CP Montage  and mentoring kids with developmental disabilities.  The disability community is my tribe. I love being a part of  this great community.

3.  Hugs are not used enough.

 Being involved in the disability community has taught me that hugs are great.  It is the best thing that people can do. It feels great and is so easy. I  love giving hugs!


2.  Sometimes you have to be creative.

This could be called  different ways to do things.  Recently I have used a nickname for myself and it has worked well.

1.  Inclusion is key.


 Inclusion in life is so important. I know I am biased, but I think the best job in the world is advocating for inclusion of people with disabilities!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

If by chance then do not judge

  So, I am in speech therapy again and  am working hard and sometimes , ok a lot of the time,   I drool.  Once  while saying the /th/ sound  I accidentally  sprayed  my speech  therapist .  I got so embarrassed and rushed to apologize . She wasn't mad and  said that I couldn't help  it.

 This week  in America two  black men were shot by the police.  This  is not new, but this is the first time I am talking about it.  Black lives , not all lives in particular  because black lives have been tossed away  without  public regard for all of America's history mater. They matter because they are  people who are a part of families. They matter because  the person killed by the police  is someone's son, brother, lover, friend. They matter.

 One of the reasons that it seems silly to me to judge someone based on a characteristic , such as race, gender, sexual oreantation,  religion  or ability.  Is that  these are characteristics  that the person  themselves     has no control over.  The individual person does not  chose these characteristics yet in America we tend to  punish certain groups for a characteristic  that  they themselves did not have control over.   Just like disability, my mixed  race identity  has  contributed to the person that I am.  I am  a disabled women of color.  I knew about slavery  before it was taught to us.  My mom has stories of the Jim Crow south as do my grandparents.  It shapes me into a more conscious person.  It is not something I chose, but it has shaped me into the person that I am today.

 To judge someone because they are  different for whatever reason is wrong.  Because it is all by chance.   Random Chance.  The bad thing is that some people think they are better because of chance.  There  is one race the human race.  We are better together.


  Remember the Golden Rule:  Treat Others The Same Way You Want to be Treated 


  My deepest condolences to those that have loss  a person to police violence 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Last Final

Just finished my last final of college undergrad. 17 months ago I was told that I could not complete a degree in Liberal Studies at NDNU. Eight years ago I was told that I could not go to college to do behavior problems and I really should work in a back room. But yet tomorrow I will get my BA. Impossible is nothing. Never underestimate anyone. Have high hopes and use inclusion to get there.

6/10/16

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Legacy


   Once upon a time there was a young women  who went to a grad fair.  Seeing  all the graduation ceremonies  they  left because there were things for other graduations , Black Grad,  Asian Grad but no graduations for those with disabilities.  Being  a disabled  advocate she went to the disability program and  mentioned it to the staff.  The staff liked it so they  put it on. Today was that day.  It was a fun day. This will be an annual   celebration   at the school. This is pretty good legacy to leave behind.  

 For those of you that are worried that this means  this graduate will not  be included  in the traditional ceremony, Don' t worry she will walk across the stage in  ten days.