My first piece of 2021 came out this week!! I wrote about four disability truths I want you to know for HealthyWomen — a publication I’ve never written for before!! Consider this your perfect primer on disabled people. And that headline says it all: “Melissa Blake Is Disabled and Proud of It”
I’ve written a lot about disability misconceptions before and sometimes, I really wish I didn’t have to in the first place, you know? Half the time, I feel like a broken record because I’m just repeating myself. Over and over and over.
As you can imagine, it’s just incredibly frustrating because some people still don’t get it. Why, I wonder?? Why don’t they listen to us, the disabled people who — surprise, surprise — know exactly what we’re talking about?? After all, disability is something we live with day in and day out; I mean, we’re the experts here!
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I reveal four truths I wish everyone knew about the disability community…
When I was young, I found myself internalizing a lot of these messages, especially as a teenager. I felt unworthy and constantly compared myself to my non-disabled peers. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more self-confident in my disabled body. And that new sense of confidence — and, yes, pride! — have helped me become an activist, pushing back against ableism and all those harmful, outdated narratives about what it’s like to live with a disability.
Being disabled is part of my identity and always will be. Speaking up about ableism is one of the greatest joys of my life; my hope for a brighter, less ableist future is the reason I continue to be so visible and vocal, especially on social media — to educate, to stomp out ableism and, yes, to clap back at ignorant internet trolls. Maybe someday, we’ll live in a world where I’m not seen as “other” and “less than.”
Listen to us!! That’s what disabled people need right now. I feel like we’re so often dismissed by society, underestimated by society and just generally left out. But we have a voice and so much ableism could be eliminated if people would just LISTEN to us!
Here’s the thing about me: I’ll never stop speaking out. My voice matters and disabled people demand to be heard, seen and accepted just as we are! Because remember…
“Melissa Blake Is Disabled and Proud of It”
You can read the full piece 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 I see your tweet and we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo
Great article! I am one of the people who was very concerned about using the word “disabled.” I even contacted the disability office at work a while back to verify correct language (they agreed with you, of course!). Confirmation is much appreciated!
Krysten Quiles says
This is such a powerful piece Melissa, you should be very proud!
Brilliant piece! Thank you so much for sharing. I found the first truth the most eye-opening, as I’ve been guilty of thinking that way! Appreciate your approach to helping others learn & understand. 🥰
Shelly S says
I like what you wrote in that being disabled is part of who you are and that you are proud of who you are. I can related to this especially because we have a 50 year old daughter who is disabled. Hers is a mental disability. She was quite “normal” until her early twenties when she developed a mental disability. She began having psychotic episodes and it was diagnosed as schizophrenia!
Today she has accep;ted her disability. Yes, she is on medication, but does not function in her thinking or actvities as a “normal” person might. However, she says that she likes who she is and that she “enjoys
all the colors of her personality.” We think that is wonderful, to like and appreciate who you are, your talents along with your so called disabilities.
She enjoys playing piano, taking walks and taking care of her cat in her apartment complex.
Darla Nagel says
Thank you for writing and sharing your piece, Melissa! You have such a friendly, caring, down-to-earth voice. I have accepted my disability as part of my identity. I have written blog posts encouraging disability pride and encouraging others to listen to people like us. Cultural change may be slow, but it can happen if we keep writing about and working on it. Keep writing!
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