Wait! Before you think this is another shame bashing on inspiration porn or trash article (whichever one you find most offensive these days),it’s not. Trust me on this one!
For many in the disabled community, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Maybe this feeling has always been there, but disabled people didn’t know how to embrace it or admit it.
But we can! Yes, we can!
I want to shout it out at the top of a mountain (if I could ever get to the top of a mountain)! Repeat after me, “I am inspiring! You are inspiring! We are inspiring!” How did that feel? Refreshing right?
Relax. We are still anti inspiration porn/trash.
So what’s the difference?
The difference is greater than anyone can possibly fathom. It’s the difference between Hellman’s Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip (I’m on Team Hellman’s. You really don’t want to debate me on this one.)
There are nights when I wonder how I made it through the day.
I once said that in a group of non disabled people. They quickly nodded in agreement and shared their trials and tribulations. The laundry, cooking, cleaning, traffic, work, family issues, friend drama, and on and on. I totally understood them!
I nodded in agreement as well.
Then I said, “Yeah! Me too! And what about when people without a disabled permit park in the only spot you can use? Or what about when you go to the doctor’s office and you can’t see the receptionist because the counter is too high? Or what about when you want to go to the park but broken sidewalks and lack of curb cuts make it impossible?”
Then, it happened.
That’s when we all realized that I had their problems, but they didn’t have mine.
They didn’t have to worry about access into a store,a restaurant, a doctor’s office, a social event, or any other place because they weren’t physically disabled.
And so it happened. One of the people in the non disabled group said that I was inspiring because I had all of their every day issues on top of the disabled issues that you and I go through in life.
This is not inspiration trash!
This would have been a great time for those protesters on inspiration porn/trash to climb on their soapbox and lash out at the crowd. Except this time, I looked at them and agreed. Because it was true.
I am inspiring when I think about everything. I didn’t get mad when that person said it to me because there was a difference coming from them than a stranger.
You see, they knew me. They knew what I went through. They didn’t see me at a restaurant and feel compelled to say that I was inspiring because I was eating in public (which by the way is ridiculous to say to any stranger).
It was their way of saying “I see your struggle. I see your strength. I see you.”
So yes, there is a difference.
I shared this experience with two friends, Richard Alcantara who lives with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Lazaro Gutierrez who lives with a spinal cord injury. They agreed that there are times when they find themselves and other disabled people inspiring because we know the story behind the person.
Richard said that there are times when he has InspoFlow. I loved that term. He said it’s when he recognizes and embraces his strength in a world that sets us up with obstacles.
He is absolutely right. Now hopefully, he won’t read this article because I don’t want him to think I will agree with him on everything. This could be feeding his ego.
Lazaro says that he finds strength from his friends like us who share what we go through on any given day just to live a life with quality and dignity.
So from now on, I will share my Inspirational Flow on social media like Twitter https://www.twitter.com/audacitymagazin with the hashtag #InspoFlow.
Don’t worry, I have Richard’s permission since he is the creator of this audacious phrase, but if he isn’t the creator, that’s okay because I like his interpretation of it. Richard and I encourage you to share your inspirational moments with us. Why?
Because you and I can inspire each other to keep going until society wakes up and decides to include us in their plans.
You can catch Rich’s #InspoFlow life on Instagram. www.instagram.com/richalcantara
And you can see Lazaro’s Youtube channel on nature sounds at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrd3_q65NUZjeLEXZ49tifA/featured
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And if you want, click here to read my real feelings about those prying eyes.