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Sisters Create 'The Disabled Life' Comics Highlighting Life With a Disability

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Illustrators and sisters Jessica and Lianna Oddi have a lot to say about living with a disability – but have decided to draw their thoughts instead.

Noting a lack of comics featured disabled people, the two created a blog on Tumblr – The Disabled Life – to showcase their talents as artists, as well as connect the disability community.

“It actually started as a Twitter account, where we’d make fun of things that had actually happened to us, or just make up some funny pop culture references,” Jessica Oddi, 24, said in an interview with The Mighty.

Both Jessica and Lianna live with an undiagnosed genetic condition and use wheelchairs. Their illustrations reflect their personal experiences navigating life as disabled 20-somethings.

[Image Description: drawing of a girl swinging across in a ceiling lift and sling, kicking out her arm and legs, singing “I CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL!”]

Their wrecking ball illustration, for example, was inspired by how they feel when they use their lift.

Each illustration is done with exceptional care and provides a thorough written description for those who are visually impaired.

[Image Title: Me vs. Crop Tops. Image: A mannequin wearing a crop top, and next to it a girl in a wheelchair wearing the same crop top that is way too long and looks like a regular top, saying in frustration “ugh stupid scoliosis” ]

“[Image Title: Me vs. Crop Tops. Image: A mannequin wearing a crop top, and next to it a girl in a wheelchair wearing the same crop top that is way too long and looks like a regular top, saying in frustration ‘ugh stupid scoliosis’ ],” the description for their “Me vs Crop Tops” illustration reads.

[Image Title: Tanning. Left Image Description: A girl in a wheelchair is tilted back in her chair, with a bikini top and shorts, tanning. Right Image Description: That same girl is sitting on a counter, looking back disappointed as only the front half of her body is tanned.]

The sisters also post humorous captions, giving further insight into the inspiration behind their drawings. “Shout out to our peeps who also can’t get out of their chair to tan. Always half done, never fully cooked.”

[Image Title: Personal Space. Image Description: A drawing of a girl in a wheelchair and another person at a casino table. On her left, a woman holds on to her handle bar. On her right, a man is leaning on her arm rest, as the girl in the wheelchair looks terrified.]

So far the pair has created 15 illustrations, and each sister has her favorites. “I can’t pick between ‘What I Think My Butt Looks Like’ and ‘Personal Space,’” Lianna, 26, said. “Both are just true things we all think about, or have to deal with.”

[Left Side Image: Text saying “How I think my butt looks” with an illustration of a perfect round bum in a purple bikini. Right Side Image: Text saying “How it probably looks: with an illustration of a dimple flat bum in a purple bikini with a curved back]

Through their comics, the sisters have reached an audience far beyond their hometown of Ontario, Canada. “The best part is reading through all the messages, seeing that they could totally relate, or that they love our posts,” Jessica said. “We try to keep it to our own experiences, but it’s really cool to know there’s a community out there who just get it,” Lianna added.

As humorous as many of their illustrations are, they raise some important points about the ignorance people with disabilities face.

[Image Title: Online Dating. Image (Left): A girl in a wheelchair smirking while checking her phone with the message “You matched: Some Hot Guy”. Image (Right): Same girl in the wheelchair now with a disgusted look on her face while reading a message from Some Hot Guy who said “Hey u r pretty 4 some 1 in a chair though… lol Can u have sex babe?”]

“I wish people would just see us as human beings, like the rest of society,” Jessica told The Mighty. “Sure we have limitations or differences, but we’re all people. Just because my random mutation at birth changed some cells around, doesn’t make me less than any of you normies.”

“Personally I feel I’m stronger because of what I’ve dealt with,” Lianna noted. “I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

All illustrations are credited to Jessica and Lianna Oddi. To see the rest of the series, visit their blog The Disabled Life

Originally published: June 17, 2016
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