Disability Pride Month | Living a Life I'm Proud of
Hello! I’m Martina. I’m a thirty something year old. I’m a California native transplanted to Utah. I'm a wife and mom. I'm a project manager. I'm a cyclist. I'm a skier. I'm a world traveler. AND I'm in a wheelchair. 11 years ago, I was in a snowboarding crash that left me paralyzed from the waist down. Suddenly, a part of my identity shifted from walking Martina to wheelchair Martina, and it was a hard adjustment at first. But little by little, I’ve come to realize there is SO MUCH I CAN DO to FULLY LIVE a beautiful life and so many reasons to be PROUD OF WHO I AM.
July is disability pride month and I wanted to share the many reasons why I am proud of having a disability. This is not to say there are not hard days or that living with a disability is easy, but there is so much I have gained from my disability. I am proud of my disability and because of it:
I know I am a strong Bad A who can take on anything
I believe in people of all abilities I believe there is good all around us
I believe that anything is possible as long as we put our mind to it
I know I can do hard things. I am resilient and keep on going when times get rough
I am adaptable and I figure out other ways to do tasks that are seemingly difficult
I know I am valuable and I add diversity and perspective from my experiences
I know what it feels like to be lonely and different, and I treat people kindly because they, too, matter
I don't judge others so quickly because I understand everyone has a story. I give people a chance
I empower others who may be feeling less empowered
I am positive because I cheer on myself and others on the daily
I realize I am not perfect, and that is freeing.
I am GRATEFUL for what I have and what I can do
I feel like these things need to be discussed because my way of life shouldn’t evoke pity or shame when spoken of. I have worked for so long to accept every aspect of me and find the beauty in all all, and loving myself--Spinal Cord Injury and all. Living this new life in a wheelchair has become so much a part of my story and this life that I’ve built. It has shaped me into this person that I am today, and reminds me that this human experience is all about growth and understanding, with ups and downs all along the way. I am so PROUD to be living this life, and as I continue to progress as a human, I know I'll keep adding to this list.
In the coming days, I’d like to highlight the many opportunities that have come to me because of my disability, like that time I was part of a round table discussion about disabilities with President Barack Obama (read about it here)… right here on my blog, Instagram and Facebook.
If you’re looking at how you can educate and empower yourself on disabilities, support disability awareness, empower friends with disabilities, check out these cool resources for disabilities advocacy and awareness:
I hope that as we’re having this discussion, you become more of an advocate for disabilities as disabilities is all around us (1 in 4 adults in America have a disability). Share what you’ve learned from your disability, or having a friend with a disability. Speak up and empower!