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Living With a Disability Doesn't Make Me an Inspiration

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Because I use a wheelchair, my disability is very apparent. Strangers often give me looks of curiosity and pity and the occasional invasive questions. These things are commonly accompanied by the comment “you’re such an inspiration” or something of that nature. While I know these remarks are made with the best of intentions, they tend to irritate me rather than provide me with a self-esteem boost. Keep in mind, I’m referring to remarks made by strangers — people who know nothing about me or my life, except for the fact I use a wheelchair.

When strangers tell me I’m an inspiration, it feels as though they’re congratulating me for getting up in the morning. They know nothing about legitimate things I have achieved in my life that might actually qualify as inspirational. I’m seen by strangers as an inspiration because despite my disability, I’m still living life. Many people think living with a disability makes someone exceptional. The way I see it, anyone can choose to get up and live life despite whatever challenges they may face. That’s not what makes someone inspirational. The things they accomplish while living their life and facing the many obstacles it brings are what qualify them as inspirational.

If you are a person who is aware of some of my genuine life achievements, I will gladly accept an “inspiration comment,” but there is no need to point out how inspiring I am if you are referring to my ability to live life like anyone else.

Getty image by Natalia Shabasheva.

Originally published: March 15, 2019
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