My Problem With the Word 'Inspiration' as a Person With a Disability


To the people who use the word “inspiration” to describe people with disabilities,

“Larissa, you’re such an inspiration.” I have heard this for as long as I can remember from friends, teachers, etc. As much as I appreciate being called an inspiration by people who know me, it also bothers me a great deal when strangers or sometimes people I know say it all the time. Why me? Just because I am disabled, or because of my outlook on life and whatnot?

Here’s my problem with the word inspiration. People use it far too often to describe people with disabilities. I don’t know why; is it to make yourselves feel better? To me, being called an inspiration is like putting expectations on someone to be a person they can’t be all the time, because we are human. So instead of using the word inspiration to describe people with disabilities right off the bat, get to know the person — the good, the bad and everything in between. Because we are a lot more than just an inspiration.

Sincerely,

Larissa AKA not your inspiration

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Thinkstock photo by Zoonar.


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