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The Disney Movies I Relate to as Someone With a Disability

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While laying on my bed doing homework on my laptop, I decided to watch a movie on Netflix. As I was going through the list of the recommended films, “Cars 3” was on the list. I thought OK, I’ll just put “Cars 3” on for some background noise since I’m not going to pay attention to it. It’s a Walt Disney film, and I’m a bit too old to be watching it anyway.

But as I started to do my schoolwork, I began to listen and follow the plot. Lighting McQueen was retired, but he didn’t want to give up on the one thing he loves most — race car driving — despite everyone telling him just to quit and enjoy retirement. While Lighting McQueen is determined to prove everyone wrong, he faces obstacles and challenges along the way. In a society where everyone once loved and admired him, everyone seems to have turned on him.

I could relate to that, and I know the feeling because when I left public school to be home schooled everyone doubted I was going to become successful and get my high school diploma. The people I considered my friends didn’t hang out with me anymore, and the young man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with dumped me on Valentine’s Day. I had the odds against me at that point, but I didn’t stop until I reached the finish line, holding up my nice shiny trophy — my high school diploma.

The Walt Disney Company did an excellent job with the storyline, plot and message of “Cars 3,” which is: “No matter what obstacle you face, don’t give up.” It’s a message everyone should remember when they feel like giving up on themselves. You just have to keep going no matter what — as I like to say, keep on stomping on your obstacles.

The next Disney movie I relate to is 1989’s “The Little Mermaid.” In many ways, I see myself in Ariel since Ariel had the desire to be a human and forget about her life under the sea. Meanwhile, here I am, a 22-year-old woman, wanting to be free from cerebral palsy, wondering what it’s like to step my feet on the sidewalk without having wheels as my legs. Or what my life would be like if I weren’t physically disabled and I was able to explore the world on my own without needing an assistant. If it weren’t for my physical disability, I would be stationed overseas somewhere because I would be serving this country. Then again, my life would be entirely different if I were just “average.” I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities if it weren’t for my disability.

I think Ariel learns the hard way that you are made the way you are for a reason, and that’s the way I look at it too. Yes, cerebral palsy is a pain, but it’s a part of me, and I’m proud to say I’m a mermaid. I wouldn’t change my life for anything, even if I had an evil villain like Ursula come to me and tell me she has the answer to curing my cerebral palsy. I would say “no thanks” because I’m happy with the life I have.

Image via Disney.

Originally published: June 25, 2018
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