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How I'm Finding Serenity Amidst the Political Storm as a Person With a Disability

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I didn’t expect the inauguration to be as difficult as it was for me. I didn’t expect tears. I didn’t expect anxiety-filled phone calls to family. I didn’t even expect to stand two feet from the TV staring at the news holding my emotional support dog tight. And for those few minutes, I didn’t expect to snap out of it.

This election affected everyone in their own individual way. Whether it be because of medical and disability reasons, religious beliefs, economic purposes, or the country you were originally born in, there was more personal passion throughout the past couple years than I’ve ever seen throughout an election period. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – that’s the beauty of the 15th Amendment. We all have the right to vote and use our voice.

But back on November 21, 2015, we saw with our own eyes a nominee publicly mock New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski who has a congenital condition called arthrogryposis. Suddenly, my “invisible” disabilities were the last things I was thinking about. Watching this man on a podium flailing his arms and distorting his voice seemed like a dream. More like a nightmare that millions of people were witnessing. It didn’t seem real. “No way did I just see what I thought I saw, right?” I had 14 months to digest the ignorant behavior, calm down, and hope this was a lesson for all those who were ill-informed about disabilities. Serge Kovaleski is a reporter who has arthrogryposis. He isn’t the arthrogryposis reporter.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

While I didn’t think I’d be able to “snap out of it” the morning of January 20th, all of this defeats the purpose of being an American. We may not always be able to change things in life, but I believe we have the God-given right and freedom to try – and that’s more than many countries in this world have. So I wiped away my selfish tears, put on my red, white and blue outfit, hugged my emotional support dog goodbye (who knew to be especially calm that morning!) and said my favorite prayer – The Serenity Prayer.

I believe we are blessed to be here. To be Americans. And that is a good thing that will never change.

Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

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Originally published: January 29, 2017
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