As an individual living with a disability have you ever had the feeling that you were somehow less than or discounted because of your disability. As though you were less of a person. I have my friend. Several days ago, during a brief conversation with someone that I had not seen in about 6 or 7 years, she asked me if I was working.
She asked because she knew that my disability had previously interfered with my ability to work.
When she asked me if I was working, I told her that I was still disabled and receiving assistance. When I said that I was not working, I got the feeling from her that being disabled, receiving assistance and not being able to work in traditional settings made me less of a person. I got a feeling that as a result of being disabled and receiving assistance, I could not really have a place of significance in the world. A feeling of “Yes, but…”coming from her.
A feeling of what I was accomplishing with my life was trite and insignificant. A feeling of minimization and marginalization. A feeling of “that’s nice” after sharing with her what I have been doing and am doing through Second Chance to Live.
Although I realized that I did not have to own or take any of those feelings personally, I realized that I needed to remind myself that, “Yes I am disabled, but Don’t Count me Out”. Although I realized that I did not have to own or take those feelings personally, I realized that I needed to remind myself to run my own race, to stay committed to using my gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for me and to not lose sight of my mission and vision.
In the event that you are living with a disability, that interferes with your ability to work; let me encourage you with this my friend – as I need to remember. “Yes I am disabled, but Don’t Count Me Out”. Although you may have people in your life who leave you feeling minimized and marginalized stay committed to your course. Run your own race. Keep using your gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for you. Don’t lose sight of your mission and vision.
Some Quotes to Inspire
“I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do is shrug my shoulders and say, ‘we’ll just have to see.” Dick Fosbury (Olympic Gold Medalist. Inventer of the “Fosbury Flop” High Jump Technique)
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Christopher Reeve
“Show me someone who has done some thing worthwhile, and I’ll show you some one who has overcome adversity.” Lou Holtz
“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half- possession. Do that which is assigned to you and you can not hope too much, or too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Steve Jobs
“He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt..He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would have been enough.” Albert Einstein
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