The Selfie That Shifted My View of My Life With a Disability

As a 23-year-old young woman who utilizes a power wheelchair, it can sometimes be difficult to “fit in.” Many days, I try to appreciate this. But many days, it can also be challenging. Many days, I’m clearly reminded that “inclusion” is much more than just a word. Many days, I’m working to improve something about myself, especially in terms of my physical abilities — even if it’s something seemingly small.

One day as I went in front of the mirror to work on my posture, I decided to take a “selfie.” In that moment, I completely forgot the flash was on. The resulting picture left me, and still leaves me, feeling a genuine appreciation for the body and person that was — and is — staring back at me.

Looking at that picture of myself, I completely forget about my posture. I forget about wondering if my legs or hands look strange for some reason. I’m less focused on the cloud of grief that completely weighs me down at times. I’m less focused on the darkness surrounding me.

Instead, I am focused on the light in the photo, which looks as if it’s radiating from my head and body. Instead, I’m focused on my own light — and I try to think of how I could use it to radiate more hope and positivity within myself and others. Instead, I’m focused on the fact that this life I was given is worth so much more than my looks and abilities. (I also know it’s healthy to work to improve myself and my abilities.)

Instead, I’m focused on remembering that just a little flash of light can be incredibly powerful when contrasted with the darkness — especially when realizing the light was there all along… I had just forgotten to notice it.

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