What advice would you give to high school students with various about following their dreams?
The most important advice I’d give them is to find something that they’re passionate about. Whether it’s sports or painting or volunteering, find what you’re good at and do it. You’d be surprised what you can do when you put your mind to it. Plus, if you’re going after something you love doing, it doesn’t feel like work at all. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one can do everything by themselves and there’s no shame in asking for help. I credit much of my independence to my parents, who taught me never to let my disability define me. It may have been a factor, yes, but it was only one piece of the puzzle.
Have you had to adapt or make any accommodations to reach your goals?
I couldn’t go away to college, but at the same time, I never really wanted to. I’m sure accommodations could have been made, but I felt more comfortable staying close to home.
What would you say to students who feel there are impassable roadblocks to their dreams?
Everyone — disabled or not — has something that they feel is an impassable obstacle when it comes to their dreams. And sure, there are just some things I’ll never do, like become a ballerina or an MVP basketball player, but so what? I’ve found something I love to do, and that’s the key to it. Everyone has a passion, so find yours and be determined to make it happen. It takes work, but you’d be amazed what you can do when you put your mind to it.
Some students may feel like they can’t be independent or have any personal responsibility especially if they require assistance in daily living tasks. What is your opinion on this?
Oh, I’ve definitely struggled with this in the past. Whether I like it or not, there are just some things I’ll always need help with — bathing, getting dresses, meal prep, etc. I used to look at my friends and think they were “so farther along” than I was was and that they were so much more independent than I was. But it’s something that I can’t change, so I can either obsess over it or realize that it’s just something I need help with. Everyone has things they need help with, and those are my things.
What type of personal goals do you set for yourself relating to your blog or to your life in general?
Well, one of my big on-going goals is to continue to be as independent as possible; I’m a lot more independent than, say, 10 years ago. Also relating to life in general, I continue to work through my grief following my father’s suicide in 2003. That’s taught me so much, like the fragility of everything and the importance of love, family and happiness. As for my blog/writing, I’d love to start pitching to magazines again — I haven’t done that in a few years and would love to be published again. I’d love to see my blog continue to grow and perhaps introduce some new columns into the mix.
Catch up on Parts I and II, and look for the last installment next week, friends. And as always, if you ever have any questions or if there’s something you’d like to see on So About What I Said, feel free to email me ANY TIME!!! I LOVE hearing from you!!! xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]