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Respect My Independence as a Young Adult With a Disability


I talked about being true to yourself before, and I can’t highlight enough how important that is. It’s all good and well to have plans and understand what others may or may not expect of you. It’s more important to know what you expect and don’t expect of yourself.

I’ve struggled a lot with figuring out who I am and what I stand for — not only because of my disability and limitations associated with it, but because of the family that raised me, cultures that surrounded me, and who I was raised to be versus who I actually am. Disability does not define who I am. But it’s increasingly something I feel defines a large part of my relationship with others — particularly family.

I was raised to be a strong and independent leader, yet my parent struggles to let me see doctors and discuss my stuff on my own. I can handle discussing alternative treatment and whether or not I want that alternative, can’t I? Surely I can say something myself without input and inevitably a take-over that may not be in tune with my own thoughts?

I am at a point in my life where I feel behind my peers.

As a child, I had everything planned out, albeit not exactly and no definite time frames for anything except wanting a handsome man as a husband as soon as possible. As a young teen, I had more definite desires and thoughts about what I wanted to achieve aside from love. Later I started making plans and saving money. Now I feel I’m trapped in a life I did not choose but simply let choose me because I allowed control over everything to remain with others.

I let parental fears affect me and get into my psyche alongside the emotional guilt-tripping of someone who is so terrified of losing me and losing control of my life that she achieved exactly that a long time ago.

I’m picking things up now.

I’m still trapped in a way, but I’m making plans, saving money and generally thinking of ways to get my independence as much as possible while still remaining “there” for the household in terms of finances and anything else that may be necessary. I just wish the household needs were discussed openly rather than my attempts at getting to a moving out position being hindered because of both disability and money concerns. I am a child of the household, yes, but I am also an intelligent adult who understands responsibility — even if I do require a hand with certain things.

Think of me as such.

Seeing your child as an adult can be a real balancing act, and I know it must not be easy. I just hope that someday they will come to respect me in the way I want and quit using terms such as “can’t” or “just try.”

I know what I can and can’t do. I am no longer a child learning her limitations and strengths. Respect that and know the decisions I make are thought through, inclusive of jobs, travel and whoever I date.

Particularly for now, do not be happy for a breakup simply because dating raises the opportunity of sex. “No” and “yes” are both options inclusive of “not now” and “maybe in the future.” I can handle myself (and my hormones).

So can most everyone else, right?

Getty image by Diane39.