2020 was hard on all of us.
The new lives we’re living.
For disabled people, the pandemic is reaffirming embedded ableist views in our society. It weighs heavy on my mental health, as I’m sure it does for the entire disability community.
I’ve always approached life with a “can-do” attitude. I told myself that my disability and society’s ignorance about disability would not stop me from living the life I want to live.
“I can’t control others, but I can control myself.”
I think this rings true, especially during the pandemic and this time of uncertainty that we are all experiencing.
To keep my mind on track and continue on the journey I’m on of living my best life, I find ways to remind myself of the good.
I follow writers and creators who inspire me with their words. I find solace in relatability and human interaction. The innate human need to connect with others and feel seen is something we all desire. Even if they aren’t disabled, I can relate to their stories and that human connection keeps me grounded.
Another thing I do to keep myself grounded amid the chaos of living a life with a disability--where something can change at the drop of a hat--is to pursue what inspires me. To create. I can’t tell you how many screenshots I have on my phone of things I come across while mindlessly scrolling that inspires me to create something, write something, or do something new.
“What I have to give back is my creativity.”
In college, I studied rehabilitation services. In short, that involves working with people who have disabilities and providing education and services to help them live independent lives, in order to arm our clients with the knowledge to be successful – however they define success. This job gave me purpose. It gave me a creative outlet to give back to my community.
I find having a network of people who are supporting me and being able to use my creativity as an emotional outlet is what keeps me sane.
Life is messy, and disability is not excluded. If anything, disability makes life more messy.
My grandmother always used to say, “A dirty kid is a happy kid.” I found it to be extremely true, even in my adulthood.
Life is messy, whether figuratively or literally, and that’s the best part. We never know what to expect. And this has been a year of the unexpected.
We are growing, learning and evolving.
Resilience comes in many forms, but I think finding what brings it out within oneself is what the best part of the journey is. For me, this was finding my purpose, my job, where I can help others.
“Finding my purpose gave me a ‘why.’ Having a why means everything to me.”