In schools recently I have had this question a lot - "If you could choose to be "normal" would you?" (or other variants on this idea). My reply is always this - "Nope, I would not choose to have two arms and two legs, even if I did have that choice."
You see, I like myself, I like who I am, where I am coming from, I like living in this world with a disability, and I like the opportunities that have risen my way because of my disability. I am the person I am now because of my disability and I would not like to change me (much . . . we always have space for growth and self improvement, as long as we continue to be true to our selves).
When I was a teenager I had a breakthrough moment, I realised that I was more concerned with my "jiggly-bits" then I was with my missing limbs. What made me look so different to others actually didn't make me different at all, in fact I was behaving just like any other teenager, moody, argumentative, eager, and wide-eyed. I was a teenage girl first, and then a disabled person. AND even though I still worry about my "jiggly-bits" now, I can see the farce that is the circumstance of worrying about "jiggly-bits." My disability has given me a body and self perspective that many able-bods miss out on = I am perfectly myself just the way I am, missing limbs, "jiggly-bits," and all.
When I do visit schools, I see lot's of students that are trying to "fit" in, that are trying to alter their appearance in the hopes of being "aesthetically" accepted. I hope, that when I visit, when I talk, when I answer questions, they can see that even when you look different you can be successful, confident, and most importantly, HAPPY! In fact, I hope that I am proof that being different defines these concepts of success, confidence, and happiness = if we were all the same, LIFE would be dull, contemptuous, and sad. Diversity should be celebrated in schools, as should an emphasis on being your best. But what does being your best mean?
Stay tuned tomorrow when I discuss this questions.
p.s. this blog post is about a week late. I am sure you will excuse though as my Auntie passed away last wednesday. She was my birthday twin, my "other mother," my inspiration, and one of my biggest supporters. It's been tough, but I know she wouldn't want us all to stop our lives, to stop moving forward. But please, send your thoughts to my family and hold us all in your prayers/best wishes.
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright