Well, I’m a bit ashamed, friends. It seems I’ve missed a very important day for my people. And by people, I mean those with disabilities. Yesterday, the world over celebrated the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The yearly observance began in 1992 as a way to raise awareness and address issues related to the disability community.
An estimated one billion people worldwide live with a disability, according to the UN. I’ve talked quite a bit about misconceptions and such, but here are a few more things to keep in mind…
1. I am a person first: My disability, as hard as it is for some people to believe, comes second. I’m beyond passionate when it comes to “people first” language because it doesn’t reduce the person to a mere label or set of disabilities, but instead recognizes who they are.
2. I do have a full life: Even now, I’m still so taken aback when people seem to be surprised that I live a full life. And — gasp! — that I actually have a job. I often wonder what they think I do all day. I laugh just like everyone else. I love just like everyone else. But most importantly, I love just like everyone else.
3. I don’t sit around constantly feeling sorry for myself: Really, who on Earth has the time for that? I’ve known people with disabilities who constantly complain about this or that, and I’ve always vowed that I’ll never be like that.
4. I’ve got an oversize personality: I couldn’t help adding this one just for fun. Don’t let my pint-size body fool you. I can be loud. I tend to be very opinionated — and, as my family would say, even a bit stubborn at times. And, of course, I’m NEVER afraid to be who I am.
I’d love to know, friends: How has a disability touched your life? What issues do you think are most important? Are there any other disability-related questions you have for me? Let’s chat, shall we? xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]