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When People See My Work as Good 'for a Disabled Person'

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I’m a 17-year-old author and history enthusiast. I’ve already written a post about the backlash I’ve received from writing with a range of characters, disabled and not. But I have come across another side of the spectrum when it comes to readers. These are the people who praise me for continuing to do what I love, even though I have fibromyalgia.

At first, this reaction confused me. Why do they think of me as a hero? Have I persevered through a struggle? Yes, but everyone has something they must overcome. The more it happened, the more I understood. They didn’t think of me as a hero; they thought of me as the lowest common denominator. The words “if you can do it, I can do it too” have been repeated over and over to me. It doesn’t sound enthusiastic, it sounds like pity. It sounds like “well if this disabled girl can do something, then obviously I can do it too.” These people aren’t looking at my achievements clearly. They look at them through the mindset of “that’s pretty good for a disabled person.”

But I didn’t want this reaction. I wanted to be viewed as like everyone else, not looked at through lenses that make me feel like my best is everyone else’s worst. People imply it’s OK if my work isn’t as good, because I’m not capable of it. I have had to change how I view myself because of this mindset, to realize that my work shouldn’t be thought of as “that’s good for a disabled person.” To remember that if I try my best, it doesn’t matter what other people think of it.

What struggles have you been through because of this mindset?

Getty image by Grandfailure.

Originally published: September 24, 2018
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