So I’m thinking of just renaming this week Wheelchair Week on the blog! In addition to my new wheelchair making its debut on Tuesday, I wrote an essay about being in a wheelchair and independence — remember when my old wheelchair broke down last month? Smack dab in the middle of a soccer field. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a very pretty sight.
My essay “What Being In A Wheelchair Has Taught Me About Independence” went live on the Vitamin Shoppe’s health and wellness blog yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited! You all know I’m obsessed with writing about pop culture, but writing about my life with a disability is really and truly where my heart is at! I’m slowly discovering that speaking out and sharing my story is one way that I can be an advocate for the disability community. My philosophy is becoming something like this: If you don’t speak up, who will? Well, consider this ME speaking up! And, now that I’ve started, I don’t think I’m ever going to stop!
Here’s an excerpt of the essay, which proves that sometimes, the best inspiration for writing comes directly from your own life…
I was forced to come to terms with my physical disability as a teen, and being stranded in that field forced me to come to terms with it all over again. I really thought these feelings were well behind me, but I was wrong.
For so long, I equated asking for help with a lack of independence; I thought if I asked for help—even just a little bit—then that meant I was giving up all the independence I’d carved out for myself. But that day, while I strained to gain some perspective, I realized something pretty poignant: Maybe things don’t have to be so black and white? Maybe I can ask for help and still maintain my independence?
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo