Shortly after my tweet went viral last month, an editor from Health magazine reached out and asked if I’d be interested in writing about my disability. I’m so glad we connected and the result is this essay about what it’s like to grow up with a disability. Hope you enjoy it, friends!
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I talk about how finally, after so many years of self-doubt, I’m starting to own who I am. And that is such a powerful thing, friends…
I realized that I do deserve to be seen, and that there’s power in owning who you are. I couldn’t stay silent this time, so I responded with my trilogy of selfies—basically doing the exact opposite of what they asked me to. It was a defiant move, for sure, but I also saw it as a celebration. A celebration of who I am. A celebration of my disability.
Posting those photos—and going up against my cyberbullies—turned out to be more empowering than I could’ve imagined. All the praise helped me see that people were listening and understanding what I was trying to say. It was validation after doubting myself and it made me realize that maybe the world was starting to see disabilities in a more accurate way.
That’s all I really hope for: that young people with disabilities will see my tweet and feel that same sense of pride in themselves and celebrate everything they are. It took me years to find that sense of pride in myself, but I’m so grateful that I’ve finally found it.
Plus…ahhh, another cool first with this piece!!! I got to do my first Instagram video EVER with Health!!! I don’t think the IG story is up any longer, but it was so cool to get to talk all about my disability. You can see their Instagram post about me, though.
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