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Why I Call Myself 'Crippled, Cocky, Confident and Cute'

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I have a mantra, a belief, an idea, a vision. It makes me unique and different. It embodies me and it makes me stronger.  This code I live by has shaped who I am and helped make me better. It gave me hope and strength. All the words begin with the letter C: Crippled, Cocky, Confident and Cute.

I came up with this saying in my teenage years, and I would like to break down the significance of each word to demonstrate why it’s important to me.

Crippled — The word “crippled” tends to have a negative connotation. When you say crippled, the average person thinks hindered, or “invalid;” however, these definitions don’t have to be true. I have always tried to turn a negative into a positive, so I use crippled as a term of strength and power. I often say “I’m the Greatest Cripple of All Time.”

I also use crippled around my friends with disabilities who appreciate it to demonstrate a bond of brotherhood/sisterhood. Lastly, I’m trying to demonstrate an aura of brashness and nonchalance when I use the term within society. I tend to use it for shock value to get people to look at me, to make them think “did he really just say that?” and sometimes because I just like attention. Most importantly, I use it because I have pride in my disability and I don’t care what anyone thinks!

Cocky — I’m a competitor, and I strive to be the best at everything I do because I believe I can be! I reject society’s notion that I’m not supposed to succeed. I’m cocky enough to want to be the best person to ever sit in a wheelchair. Whenever I’m competing at anything, I want to win. I never give up because I just don’t know how! I believe that whatever I’m doing, I’ll do with enough swagger and chutzpah to catch people’s eye and get myself noticed.

Confidence — Confidence and cockiness seem similar, but to me they are quite different. My confidence comes from my ability to demonstrate emotion, to allow myself to show whatever I’m feeling. Whereas my cockiness makes me think I’m the best, I have enough confidence to admit when I’m wrong and don’t know something. My confidence also allows me to demonstrate what my disability is to society. If any able-bodied person has a question or doesn’t know what my disability is, I’m never afraid to explain honestly and directly. I think more disabled adults need to speak up and advocate so our disability doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Cute — I know I’m cute; I hate to be direct, but it’s true. Some women have complimented my eyes or my face, but being cute is more than facial features. I believe being cute comes from your ability to charm whomever you’re attracted to and succeed no matter what. Sometimes I try too hard when I’m around a woman I like, but most of the time I enjoy conversing with women and enjoying compliments and conversation. I also enjoy suits, and I know sometimes it’s important for a cripple to rock something nice and be handsome or pretty. However, I believe the key to being attractive is believing it.

So that’s my mantra — Crippled, Cocky, Confident and Cute. I carry it with me wherever I go to hopefully to change the perception of disability. Maybe I’ll make a hashtag on social media #CrippledCockyandcute. With this belief, I never stop rolling!

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Thinkstock photo by Majivecka.

Originally published: July 24, 2017
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