Most of the time I am at odds with the narratives that are told about disability. We live in a world where inspiration and pity sell like hotcakes, so generally when media is developed about disability inspiration and pity are utilised.
Any disabled person you talk to (who isn’t a self-obsessed dickhead) will tell you that they hate both being called Inspirational and being treated with Pity. Being a content creator these things especially annoy me; because there is so much more to the story of disability.
Before you say that being called inspirational is a compliment, don’t worry I do know that people who say that are coming from a good place, most of the time, but to me the term only highlights the fact that people think I am unable of doing whatever it is I am doing and therefore by that logic, my doing it is inspiring.
Whereas my logic is that I am just doing it because I can and furthermore because I want to.
With that being said, I have brought into the disability narrative in some ways. At dinner the other day, for some reason the subject of weddings came up, and I said I didn’t want to get married which is utter BS.
Of course, it is something I want to do, but I can’t imagine myself doing it, because I don’t see people like me in that narrative often.
Logically I can see that this sounds stupid like I am a cool person [she says modestly] so it might be something I will do, but even though I can see this it doesn’t stop the fact that in the context of being a woman I often feel inadequate, because of the way my body is. It doesn’t matter how much work I do in fashion, a part of me always knows that I am different and that knowledge doesn’t always empower me [as it should] it rather sometimes makes me feel like I should change.
I think for all of us we can pin point a time where we have felt similar; like we should change a part of ourselves, our size, shape; to fit in.
But we shouldn’t have to feel this way, we have control over our narrative. We choose how we feel about ourselves.
I am trying constantly to grow out of this, by creating my own narrative through the content I create [about disability and otherwise] but until we shift the core of the narrative other people will feel like I have felt.
The core of the narrative is the idea that people with a disability need to be fixed or that being able bodied is better than being disabled.
We shift this narrative by empowering people in the identity that they have, instead of making them feel like they need to pursue normality. No matter who you are you can find success as you are and this fact seems to be lost in the disability narrative.
In all honesty, this is more a stream of consciousness than an article, because I have no solutions to fix the narrative entirely, all I can do is keep working.
Hopefully then, eventually, the prominent disability narrative will be turned on its head, because people will realise it holds no merit.