A Letter From the Editor on The Mighty's 2-Year Anniversary
Two years ago, we launched The Mighty. At the time, it was just a few people scattered across the world who believed in our founder Mike Porath’s idea to create a space for people with disabilities, diseases and mental illnesses to share their stories. Today, we’re a team of 20, we have an office in Los Angeles, our 7,000 stories have been read by more than 100 million people, and in this month alone, our videos have been watched more than 50 million times.
But the bulk of The Mighty is our contributor network — the nearly 2,400 people who share their heartfelt, honest stories with us. People of all backgrounds and perspectives who write to offer others support, to educate the public, to break down stigmas and stereotypes, to let others know they’re not alone.
We have a lot of plans for the next year, and we’ll keep you updated on those, but I suspect as we celebrate each anniversary, our accomplishments will always revolve around our contributors.
If you’re new to us, welcome. If you’ve been with us from the beginning, thank you. It’s humbling to read and edit your stories every day.
It’s next to impossible to choose a list of my favorite stories, but below are a few I’ve been so proud to publish on The Mighty in our first two years. Here’s to many more.
“I know I don’t talk about these black clouds often, but I want to. I hate the silence it forces me to keep. There’s a certain freedom when it comes to talking openly about the monster. Help me find that freedom.”
“I’m autistic, and I have an assignment to show the world, to show autism parents, children and other autistic adults that we have a variety of gifts to give to the world. I show up in the work place and the market place, ready to perform no matter how exhausting it is and no matter how unable I am to hide my fatigue. I show up every day ready to perform because the world needs my voice. The world needs autistic voices. When our voice is absent, a void is present. So yes, I look tired, and yes I am tired, but I’m OK with that because it means I’m leaving it all on the stage.”
“I have found that disability binarism is one of the biggest driving factors for the ableism I have experienced. I think that this is because I was once able-bodied and I have transitioned into a period of my life where I am now in the grey area. Those around me weren’t always part of the transition so they do not understand my life in the grey area.”
“Your kindness, your compassion, your willingness to help a stranger in need have stayed with me until this day. And no matter how many times my mind takes me back to that horrible life-altering moment, it is not all darkness. Because you reached out to help, you offered a ray of light in the bleakest moment I’ve ever endured. You may not remember it. You may not remember me. But I will never, ever forget you. And though you may never know it, I give thanks for your presence and humanity each and every day.”
“I want to tell you, though, to keep fighting for me and believing in me because without you both — my best advocates — I’m not going to be the person I am today. There’s hope, and you both play a huge part in that. Things are going to get better, and without you that wouldn’t be possible.”
“It boils down to this. Be kind. Compassion is missing far too often in this world. You may say, “I didn’t mean your kiddo,” but here’s the thing. You referred to somebody’s kid. Another human being who has a family and friends. Likes and dislikes. Strengths and weaknesses. Something to offer this Earth we all live on.”
“It’s not always easy. I have days when I’m so down, I don’t know how I will ever get up again, and so I allow myself a pity party, get some sleep, and guess what? I get up again. Get up, dress up, show up and never give up. This is what I try to do.”
“The sensationalizing of reporting overly heroic gestures to include those with special needs is a reflection of our world. Hollow good deeds and instantaneous 15 minutes of fame is raising the wrong kind of awareness… but it sure makes people feel good and it garners thousands of clicks.”
“Our fears may not be the same, but we all fear something. You can quite possibly allay another’s greatest fear today by assuring them their child will not be forgotten. It may not seem like much, but it may keep them above water for one more day.”
“But here’s the truth. I’m not sure how the world will be after you’re gone. I don’t know if it’ll be a better place or not. I can’t guarantee I’ll survive it but, I also can’t guarantee I won’t be able to do something with this tragedy. I don’t know how this’ll affect me, because I rarely know how the morning will, or the night or my next meal, I can’t even begin to comprehend losing a friend. Because you are a friend, I can guarantee that. I can also guarantee that even if life is easier without you, it won’t be better. Everything else is hearsay.”
“Thank you for reassuring me that there’s nothing wrong with me. Thank you for loving me with tight squeezes and direct language and morning coffee with one perfect teaspoon of cinnamon. Thank you for parking in the same spot at Target every single time, even though it’s not always convenient. Thank you for listening intently to my monologue about dragonflies.”
“This little person came into my life and rocked my world — for the better. I was a little bit of an arrogant, ignorant, naive, judgmental, selfish control freak before Julia. And while I am still all of these flaws and more, I know I am getting better. And the turning point was Julia’s arrival.”
“There is a fine line between TMI and NEI (not enough information). It’s hard to talk about this stuff, so we don’t, and then it’s lonelier and scarier than it needs to be. I’m not suggesting we all post our continence status on Facebook. Ew. But whatever. It’s just pee. It’s mostly wine water. Get on with it.”
“We pulled ourselves out of it by realizing one thing: it is not the misfortune that happens to us that matters. Rather, it is our perception of what is happening to us that matters.”
“So when I am asked, “How do you do it?” I may not always have the best answer, but I do know I will make it because I don’t have to do it alone. I know I am loved unconditionally. And this is the most important thing you should know about my story: True love is not conditional, true love sees past differences, disability, fear, sadness and disease.”
“I know you’re busy and don’t always have the time to explain everything to your child right when they ask you. You probably didn’t think this trip to the store was going to involve a teaching moment about explaining differences. You were just hoping to remember everything on your list. I get it. However, if you don’t mind on your drive home or before bed tonight, can you explain my difference to your child? Children need to learn that being different is OK.”
“We came to some sort of understanding that this short existence was to be her story. A long life wasn’t her tale to tell. We turned her brief time here with us into a gift, a blessing to us that we were even able to know her (in the womb) and hopefully for a short time on her birthday.”
We’d love to have you join our community. Please visit our Submit A Story page for more information.