A reminder this Valentine’s Day:
Loving your disabled self is a powerful act of defiance and resistance.
We’ve been conditioned to feel we are unlovable since the doctor said “I’m sorry” to our parents – or us – as they delivered the diagnosis. Disability is seen as the worst outcome – only, it’s not.
Medical photography never captures joy – only fear. The experience is cold and clinical, and your bodies are dismembered by way of cropping and inclusion in a medical journal.
It’s hard to feel confident when you’re asked intrusive questions, told ableist statements and you face ableism day after day after day.
And when the lives of people like you are only ever portrayed as a tragedy or an inspiration, rather than ordinary, you come to believe that’s true.
The heavy shame and stigma put on disabled people can be hard to shake off. But it’s possible.
Being happy with your body and mind is not something that’s expected of disabled people. We must work hard at happiness.
Curate a world where you fit. Find others who look like you – or who experience the same barriers as you. This can he on social media, through books, posters on your wall and online and IRL connections. Your outlook on disability will change, I promise.
Show yourself love by knowing that resting is productive, not pressuring yourself to conform to a non disabled world, speaking nicely about yourself, cutting those toxic people out of your life. If a “friend” is trying to sell you essential oils to “cure” your disability, they’re not a friend.
Put on your favourite music or film, have a hot bath or shower, dress fabulously – or not at all – and snap some selfies that show how beautiful you are.
Your disabled body and mind deserves to take up space and be seen and celebrated in this world. Every day.
You are worthy of love – by others and especially by yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves.