“Don’t dare to be different, dare to be yourself – if that doesn’t make you different then something is wrong.” ― Laura Baker

I find myself at a place where I am thankful for my disability, but that hasn’t always been the case. In my younger days I hated it. I had days where I hated God for making me different. I felt ignored, outcast, and unwelcome all because I was in a wheelchair. But the older I get the more I realize people’s reasoning behind their standoffish behavior. People were afraid of addressing the elephant in the room. It wasn’t until I realized such motives for peoples behaviors that my attitude began to change. I then wanted to be a part of the solution and not the problem. The fact that I had negative emotions about my disability further caused people to not want to address it. But that’s what needed to happen all along. Once I became comfortable with who I was I was able to have no problem talking about my disability, and once I started talking about it then I saw people start to be at ease and more friendly towards me. Yes, I have a disability. It’s a part of who I am and it will be for the rest of my life. But it’s a part of me not all of who I am, and that is the case with everyone with disabilities. A disability shouldn’t define a person, just like being tall or short, having blue eyes or brown eyes, should not define someone as a person. People with disabilities have the same aspirations that everyone else has. Many people with disabilities want things such as a spouse, a family of their own, and a job in a career field they love and are passionate about. People with disabilities have hobbies they enjoy, beliefs they feel strongly about, and life experiences not influenced by their disability that have shaped them. But you won’t know these things unless you ask. And if you’re a person with a disability others will be more friendly if you’re comfortable in your own skin. So be you and don’t be ashamed of who you are. God made you with a purpose and you are perfect to Him.

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