Being a disability advocate is something that I’m so proud of now, but it wasn’t necessarily a label that I would have claimed for all of my life. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always been a self-advocate out of pure necessity – my parents were always strong advocates for my needs, but as someone with a disability, you learn quickly how important it is to stick up for your needs if you want them to be met. But beyond advocating for myself, I wasn’t always super active as an advocate for the larger disability community.
Part of this, I think, was that I wanted people to see me beyond just my wheelchair. I was afraid that if I focused too much on disability issues, I’d be pigeonholed and stereotyped. But as I learned, and grew, and became more comfortable with myself, I realized that I didn’t need people to see beyond my wheelchair. What I actually needed was for them to see and accept my wheelchair, and understand that my disability was a part of me, but that there was more to me, too.
And this blog – and my Instagram – were my first steps (if you will) towards doing this. I figured what better way for people to understand how my disability fit into my life than to write about it, and to share snapshots about it? It seemed like the perfect way to share my life with my disability, but also my life with my dog, and cute dresses, and anything and everything else.
So that’s why I’m so excited to have been nominated for a WEGO Health Award for Best in Show: Instagram – because it feels like people understand what I’m trying to do! It’s a reminder that there are many ways to be an advocate, and one of those ways is sharing my life on my blog and Instagram. I feel really honored that other people are seeing that, too.
I’d really appreciate if you’d be willing to endorse me – just a short note about what you follow me and why you think I deserve to win! The endorsements will be read by the judges, to help them decide who should be finalists, and are open through Friday. As a bonus, if I get enough endorsements, I automatically move ahead to the next round. You can click here and then click the thumbs up icon that says “Endorse this Patient Leader” to leave me an endorsement – your support in this (and everything else) means the world to me.