Whenever I do a speaking engagement, people never fail to ask me the same questions: “Does it ever get easier?” and “How do you stay so positive?” By “it” they mean being wheelchair-bound. At first, I am not quite sure how to answer this question because well… I’ve been in a chair my entire life so I don’t know that my struggles are any different from an able-bodied person. Or, I guess, I don’t see it as being different. I’ll admit, I have a few more physical limitations and I have to learn how to do certain things a different way, but everything is a process and everyone has a different way of doing things whether they’re in a wheelchair or not. I’ve never seen it as “hard”. When they elaborate on the question and bring up the whole “being bullied” or “stereotyping” problem (I love this part of my presentations), I tell the audience that for me, being bullied so much when I was younger and still dealing with stigmas and stereotypes today, has made me understand one thing:
You can’t change a person’s outlook on life and you can’t worry about their attitude towards you. They are who they are and if they can’t see the person in the chair, then okay. If I worried about every single person and every snide remark they made, I would just quit school and public speaking entirely because trying to change the perspectives of others would become a full time job.
I realized after a speech I did yesterday that my perspective about my chair has definitely changed over the years. When I was a youngin’ just trying to find her purpose in the world, I hated my chair for setting me apart from the rest of society. I hated the constant gawking, the whispers, and the smartass comments. As I have gotten older, I have chosen to see the world through a more positive lens. Yes, I’m in a wheelchair and yes, sometimes it sucks, but at the end of the day, I’ve got so many blessings in my life that living with a positive mind-set is the only way I can live. Plus, I’m sitting on a pretty kickass pair of 24’s! Now, who can be mad about that?
My point in this post is to remind all of you to live as positively as you can every single day. You are alive, you’re well, and God gave you another day. Go out and live it!
Happy Wednesday, lovelies!