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Society Doesn't Get to Decide Who I Am as a Person With a Disability

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The other day I was perusing the internet and I came across a whole bunch of cheesy, cliché quotes. Only one of these quotes managed to catch my attention. It simply read: “You decide who you are, not society.” This quote has essentially become my life mantra.

Because of my cerebral palsy and the fact that I am a wheelchair user, a lot of society has decided my disability will confine me and define me as a person. Society has said my cerebral palsy means that I cannot be intelligent, contribute anything of value to this world, live a normal life (whatever that means), etc. I’ve met people in my lifetime who have disregarded me as a person and/or doubted my potential. At times, these people were the voices in my head that told me I was worthless, that I couldn’t achieve what I wanted to, that society was right.

I still hear these voices sometimes, but over the years it has become easier to disregard them.  I eventually came to realize that I can decide for myself who I want to be. Who others think I should be is irrelevant. You too can decide who you want to be while ignoring stereotypes and the opinions of others.

Getty image by Kieferpix.

Originally published: May 23, 2018
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