Empowered Women Choose to Stand Out… with their Disability
What does it mean to “Stand Out” as an empowered woman, who happens to have a disability? We asked four women who embrace their disability and use it to make a difference for others. Here are their thoughts.
As a woman with a disability, to stand out is to disregard the notion of “normal”. Acknowledging that I am different but embracing that difference by adapting. It’s about using my platform to talk about various issues in the disabled community and advocating for inclusiveness.
My illness has made me the person I am today. I’m so much stronger as a result of years of set backs. I challenge myself more and push myself to the limit at any given opportunity and I do this because I can. I enjoy the thrill of the unknown and I think that is what makes me stand out. Fear doesn’t stop me from achieving my goals and the reason for that is because I was trapped by fear during my illness. I was constantly afraid of the pain and it was extremely debilitating. I made a decision in 2011 that fear would no longer be the deciding factor for me and thankfully I have stuck with that mind frame ever since.
By closing the door on fear we are opening the door to everything else. Adventure, travel, unique experiences and fun. I am happier now than I have ever been and I am proud of the person I have become. If I could have a second chance I wouldn’t do anything differently. Everything happens for a reason and my cancer diagnosis has led me to where I am now. Strong, positive and content.
I don’t see myself as an ’empowered woman’ I simply see myself as someone who is making the most of the life they were given.
To me, standing out as an empowered woman with a disability means going against expectations. Looking at your disability as an enhancement, whether it’s a different way of doing things or a different way of looking at the world, not because the able bodied world looks at you as “other.”
As a high amputee that never wears her leg, I stand out and have been seen differently since I was 13 years old. In turn, its given me the insight and confidence to act differently and this has been my blessing. As an ‘outsider’ in a world of two legged humans I’ve been forced to think critically if I’m to do everything I want to do… like snow shoe on crutches.
Disability tools are still antiquated and cool innovations are truly coming from disabled people and their families first. Simple, but important questions come naturally to me, and many disabled people. So, if there is a tool I need or a situation that doesn’t seem to be working well, I ask questions like: Does this have to be this way? How can I make this better? What do I need to know? What am I missing? Is there some other solution available? These questions not only allow me to be more creative, but have allowed me to systematically take a stance on many political issues in our society. My disability is this gift; to be comfortable ‘standing out’.