Laura: The Writer

In Columns, Life With Laura by Laura Stinson

I’m not interested in being Laura Stinson, disabled writer. No, I just want to be Laura Stinson, writer. I hate the idea of being identified by my disability, with my chosen career being just happenstance. I don’t want to be Laura with the disability who just happens to write; I want to be Laura the writer who just happens to be disabled.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent months because the magazine

where I was doing my internship officially hired me as Editorial Assistant. I’ve never been a published writer other than in Audacity, in my local newspaper and this magazine. And, as far as Audacity and my paper have been concerned, my writing and my disability have been inseparable.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this! I love what I do for Audacity and my paper! I truly enjoy being a voice for the disabled community, and I enjoy educating the non-disabled about what my life is really like. These things give me a real sense of purpose in my life, something I was seeking for a very long time.

Still, there is something refreshing and reassuring about being recognized for my talents as a writer without having to correlate them to my disability. It reminds me that my dream of being a writer isn’t just a pipe dream. I really do have the ability to write about all kinds of things, in all kinds of situations and no one has to know I’m disabled!

Maybe it sounds like I’m denying my disability, but I’m not. How could I? It’s everywhere. There are always reminders of it. It’s made me who I am, and I’ve come to a point in my life where I like the person I’ve become. But, if I am being honest with myself—if anyone with a disability is honest with him or herself—then I must admit there are many times every day when I wish I could deny my disability, when I wish I could literally walk away from it all. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t. I’ve accepted the fact that having OI is the cards I’ve been dealt, and I’m living fairly happily with that fact. I know that nothing short of a miracle is going to change my situation, but, no matter how “okay” with that I am, there are days when I long to separate Laura the person from Laura the girl in the wheelchair.

I know that it’s really not possible to do this since one affects the other. But, hasn’t everyone felt this way from time to time? There is something about us that affects the way others see us. For me, that one thing is my wheelchair; I wish that there were a way for people to see me as the person I am rather than the wheelchair I am in.

That’s what I mean when I say I don’t want to be a “disabled writer.” Although my disability has shaped the person I am, I’ve said many times before that it doesn’t define who I am.

I am a writer, plain and simple. Hopefully, I am a good one and those who read what I write are inspired by my words. I hope I bring joy to readers when I write as a writer, but I also hope I bring knowledge to those who read the articles I write about being disabled.

I am so grateful for the chances I’ve had thus far, and I am eager to continue with my writing career, bringing my words and ideas to the masses.