Growing up, I didn't really like the word “disability” or even “Cerebral Palsy”. Yes, this might not sound like me, but this was the old me, the me that I was too ashamed to call a disabled person.
To have pride in you or to identify with the word “pride”, doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be in the LGBTIQ+ community, or even to be proud of yourself every day! I believe that pride is so much more than this, and that everyone has pride within themselves.
Disability pride month is all about celebrating your impairment or disability that you have and showing the world that you're not alone; and for me this is exactly what pride means. Being proud of yourself and the person who, you are. Rather than looking back in the past, look into the present and into the future you.
As some of you know (folks that have been following me for a while) I had a rough time during school. I would often be in between friendship groups looking for people who liked me, rather than dis-include me because of my cerebral palsy. There wasn’t many people that saw me for me, rather than my disability, and this has been a massive reason why I’m an activist.
I didn't like the word “disabled” because during that time it meant I was too disabled to have any fun stuff and friends in my world. I was just starting to see disabled folks in wheelchairs on TV, which I didn't know was possible. Having a laugh with non-disabled people and enjoying their life to their full potential. People like Dylan Aclott, Kurt Fearnley and Robyn Lambird are some of the many disabled activists that were an inspiration to me during the tough years.
Not long after watching these folks shine, as well as getting to know more and more people within the disability and cerebral palsy communities I realised that disability isn't a bad word, and for me this is what this month is all about. Accepting yourself, your impairment, chronic illness, mental health or disability.
If you know someone who might be in this situation of not accepting themselves, please reach out to them and be a friend of theirs. It can mean such a big difference in their life.