Sunday 3rd December 2017 was International Day of People with Disabilities and I had mixed feelings about this when I noticed it was coming up. At first, I was annoyed because I just saw it that people with disabilities were getting singled out but then I thought about it more. You get International Red Hair Day, International Dog Day, International Chocolate Day, International Hello Day….I think you get the point. There’s a day for everything nowadays so why I am annoyed? It’s a day to celebrate disabilities and to reflect on the type of person I would have been if it wasn’t for my wheelchair.
To be honest I don’t know where I would be right now if I was able to walk. There are so many directions my life could have went. I probably wouldn’t have moved to a new house when I was younger to go to a more suitable school, and if I hadn’t of moved then I wouldn’t know the amazing people that are in my life now. If I didn’t need carers to support me with everyday life then I would never have known so many I have had over the years, most of which I am happy to call friends. The university I attended might have been completely different if it wasn’t for my disability, doctors advised that I stayed in close distance to my local hospital, so I could not move away from home to university miles away. Or who even knows what I would have studied at university.
I used to be ashamed of my disability, dreamt of one day waking up and just suddenly being able to walk. Grown up though I learnt that this is not going to happen and started to embrace my disability instead. Being a wheelchair user, I have picked up traits over the years, one of which is improvisation. If I encounter a problem I can usually overcome it by improvising, you can read about one of those times HERE. Another particularly good trait of mine is being observant, from the simplest of things like walking down the street to, judging our surrounding area in which we live for accessibility. People I have met outwith my circle of friends have also commented saying, ” I did not realise how bad pavements, businesses, and general public areas and walkways were in terms of being inaccessible.”
Since approaching adulthood my thoughts focus more on the positives of having a disability and only on odd days they slip into negative. I try to conquer problems I have head on and this has helped by the traits i have had growing up. I have met some great organisations who I may have never known about if it was not for my disability. Who knows what anyone of us are like in a parallel universe……an astronaut?