Over and again I hear people who are hurting cry out that they don’t want their brokenness (whether body or soul) to define them. There are other parts of them which they want people to see first, and sometimes only see those other parts. I get that. I hear that. And for the most part, I agree with that.
But then I also see some people for whom their pain is a good chunk of who they are, and they choose to allow that to be what their identity is. (note the difference there: they did not choose their illness, their abuse, their brokenness or their pain, but they do allow it to be a huge part of their identity). Who are these people I hear you ask? They are some of the advocates for change, the voices who speak up, the trailblazers and the writers and the teachers and the people who allow the spotlight to be placed on them so that life can potentially be better for others. I applaud these people too. I don’t want them and all that they do to get lost in the cry to be seen as “normal” by everyone else.
I am a writer and I want to be seen as a writer in my own right. I don’t want to be the-disabled-lady-who-writes. I want to be the writer who some people eventually find out is disabled. Which I am not sure is a reality because I write about my life and my life is broken, in both body and soul. And I want to be a voice and an advocate and a trailblazer… and that puts me, and my photo and my stories out there. I am not sure that I get the privilege of deciding what hat I get to wear and when. But I want to embrace it all. If anyone treats me badly because I am disabled, or talks down to me or trivializes me then they need a slap regardless of whether my disability is a small part of me or a massive part of me.
The truth is, writer, disabled person, broken person, survivor … they are all part of me, and whether I like it or not, I need to wear all those hats in order for people to see ALL of me. And that is the important thing for me … ALL of me!