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Being Born With a Disability Has Actually Enhanced My Life

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Being born with any medical condition or physical abnormality can be difficult for both the child and the parent. Being born with an incredibly rare condition like Poland syndrome, though, makes life even trickier to navigate at times.

In over 30 years of life, my condition has given me some interesting experiences. I’ve baffled doctors who didn’t even know of the existence of my condition, let alone any details about how it may impact my daily life. I’ve fielded questions regarding my body structure and taken torment from people who found humor in my physical deformity and struggle. Although there are days where I curse my body and the circumstances that caused my peculiar development, my condition has actually enhanced my life in the most interesting ways.

  1. My health condition has taught me flexibility and adaptation. I’ve learned to work smarter, not harder, and accept that there are some things I just do differently than “typical people.” People laugh that I bowl left-handed or that I require minor adaptations to play certain musical instruments, but for me it’s just the way it is. I’ve learned that where there’s a will, there’s a way… even if my way looks a little goofy, at least it gets the job done.
  2. My physical differences have allowed me to develop understanding and empathy for others. I appreciate people as individuals and try my best to always ask how I can best assist them or provide for their unique circumstances. I know how it feels to be picked on or belittled for something you have no control over, and I pride myself on having a heart that loves no matter what. I try to be respectful and ask about preferences. I seek to know people for who they are, not what their medical records contain.
  3. My condition has taught me the importance of advocacy and fighting for equal rights. Everyone deserves equal access and fair treatment, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities. Some of us need clothing or other items built to fit our bodies; others need buildings that provide accessibility and features that allow for maximum flexibility to accommodate their disabilities. It’s important to break down the “one size fits all” mentality of society and reach new heights so that everyone feels equally invited to the table and represented in their daily affairs.

Although I severely struggle with body image and self-love, my disabled body has provided me with valuable lessons that I truly believe have enhanced my life. Without my rare disease, there are many aspects of daily life for so many that I would have never even stopped to consider.

I feel “awake” because of my condition.

I see the world with my eyes wide open, and because of that increased awareness, I want each of us to help make the world a better place.

This story originally appeared on Project Wednesday

Originally published: March 29, 2019
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