Noting a lack of comics featured disabled people, the two created a blog on Tumblr – The Disabled Life – to showcase their talents as artists, as well as connect the disability community.
“It actually started as a Twitter account, where we’d make fun of things that had actually happened to us, or just make up some funny pop culture references,” Jessica Oddi, 24, said in an interview with The Mighty.
Both Jessica and Lianna live with an undiagnosed genetic condition and use wheelchairs. Their illustrations reflect their personal experiences navigating life as disabled 20-somethings.
Their wrecking ball illustration, for example, was inspired by how they feel when they use their lift.
Each illustration is done with exceptional care and provides a thorough written description for those who are visually impaired.
“[Image Title: Me vs. Crop Tops. Image: A mannequin wearing a crop top, and next to it a girl in a wheelchair wearing the same crop top that is way too long and looks like a regular top, saying in frustration ‘ugh stupid scoliosis’ ],” the description for their “Me vs Crop Tops” illustration reads.
The sisters also post humorous captions, giving further insight into the inspiration behind their drawings. “Shout out to our peeps who also can’t get out of their chair to tan. Always half done, never fully cooked.”
So far the pair has created 15 illustrations, and each sister has her favorites. “I can’t pick between ‘What I Think My Butt Looks Like’ and ‘Personal Space,’” Lianna, 26, said. “Both are just true things we all think about, or have to deal with.”
Through their comics, the sisters have reached an audience far beyond their hometown of Ontario, Canada. “The best part is reading through all the messages, seeing that they could totally relate, or that they love our posts,” Jessica said. “We try to keep it to our own experiences, but it’s really cool to know there’s a community out there who just get it,” Lianna added.
As humorous as many of their illustrations are, they raise some important points about the ignorance people with disabilities face.
“I wish people would just see us as human beings, like the rest of society,” Jessica told The Mighty. “Sure we have limitations or differences, but we’re all people. Just because my random mutation at birth changed some cells around, doesn’t make me less than any of you normies.”
“Personally I feel I’m stronger because of what I’ve dealt with,” Lianna noted. “I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
All illustrations are credited to Jessica and Lianna Oddi. To see the rest of the series, visit their blog The Disabled Life.