The month of March is National Disabilities Awareness Month. During this month I wanted to take some time to emphasize some individuals in my life who have never let their disability slow them down or define them. My cousin, Mackenzie Strong, for instance who has albinism and is considered legally blind, however, she is a true rock star (and no I am not just saying that because we are family). She is on her college’s swim team and competes regularly, she has been in many pageants, dance groups, and choirs, and is also an advocate for those who have disabilities. When we were little and did not fully understand what her disability was, it was a little harder because she couldn’t play or do the same things as we could. However it has been a true honor being able to see her grow up and become such a strong woman; accomplishing every goal and never being negative about the things that she cannot do. Her positive attitude is one of my favorite things about her!
Another important person in my life who works through her disabilities each day is my mother. She battles Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, Fibromyalgia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis each day. Although she is unable to work a true nine to five due to her disabilities she has never let it slow her down as a mother, friend, or daughter. Her disabilities literally force certain areas of her body to shut down, mainly her hands and feet. Yet, even when her hands don’t move the way she wants them to or she loses her balance and falls, she always gets back up. As I have gotten older and am truly seeing how hard daily tasks are getting for her to do, and then seeing how she surpasses the boundaries that her disabilities try to set for her, I realize that even when I am feeling down or weak I can find the strength that my mother has always found and push on.
Now, the purpose of this blog is not to boast about my family although it may seem that way, its true purpose is to bring awareness and emphasize that even though you may have a disability you are still important, still perfect. It is to reiterate that disabilities can seem like a barrier in your life or seem as if they set boundaries that you don’t agree with or want. Yet, that does not have to be the case. No matter what disability an individual faces she/he should still strive for her/his hopes and dreams, and find the path to living her/his best life. Why? ...because no matter what people may say or think, disabilities do not define who you are.