Writing a post like this is something that I have toyed around with pretty much from the start of my life as a blogger, but I have always been really unsure how to go about it. Right from the get-go - and particularly when I started YouTube - questions have been asked:
Why Is Your Arm Like That? Why don't you show your left arm in videos?
It's not something that's shocked me. Pretty much all of my life I've had the same questions. It is human nature to be curious, and I really don't mind talking about things. Being candid and extremely open about things is one of my quirks, so when it comes to addressing these questions, I'm not afraid to divulge, but looking back, I don't think I've ever done it on any of my creative or social platforms. And it's for the pure and simple reason that I don't want to be defined by something that I have never had any control over.
It would probably help if I went into detail wouldn't it? Well, in a nutshell, when I was born, there were difficulties, resulting in me succumbing to the affects of hemi-paresis. I don't know all the ins and outs, but basically it means that I have limited movements in my left arm, and my left leg is slightly shorter than the other, and I walk a little bit differently as a consequence. Movement in my foot is slighted affected too, and, I don't know whether this is related or not, but that foot has no arch.
I've never known life any differently, and have made it my mission to ensure that I can claim as much independence as possible. My One Handed Ways series on my channel is an extension of that mission. Society can be so quick to pigeon-hole us all because of our capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, background, race, gender or sexuality, when really we are all just as amazing creatures as each other, and have the ability to achieve anything we dream of. And I want more than anything to reach out and help and inspire those who may have life experiences similar to mine, and show that where there is a will, there always is a way. Having a disability has never ever stopped me from doing anything. With practice, I have learnt to drive, cook, paint my nails, tie my shoelaces, do trickier household chores, style my hair...you name it. If there's something that needs doing, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to go out there, give it a shot, and find a way to do it in my own fabulous way.
Sure, it can be difficult sometimes. Occasionally it can be really frustrating when I have to ask for help with something, or I catch people staring. It can be a real knock to my confidence. But that's what happens when you want to tear down those barriers, scribble over those labels, get out there, and bat away all those things that society would have you believe are impossible for you to do. But for one thing I can't quite do yet, there are a million others I can, and I am fiercely proud of everything I have taught myself over the years, and I have no intentions of stopping learning any time soon. My disability does not define me. I know that within me there is a power to do anything I put my mind to.
My disability is my drive. I empower myself through making sure I start every day with a positive mind, and the belief that I can get out there and kick ass in everything I do. And it's a message I want to spread. Nothing should ever hold you back in the dreams that you want to chase and the places you want to go. No goal is too big, and every pebble in your path you stumble on is only going to make you stronger. In my mind, there are no such words as 'Can't' 'Never' or 'No.' I refuse to sit back and let the world go by without making my mark in it. People have stared at me all my life, and this is my chance to give them something to bloody stare at.
Growing up, I used to be so self-conscious of my disability because I felt it made me stand out, but now, I strut around with a smile on my face and am proud of who I am. I've overcome stumbling blocks, climbed heights, and travelled along this road all my life, and every hurdle along the way has made me stronger, stand taller and laugh louder, spurring me on to face demons, battle dragons, and show everyone that there is just no stopping me.
It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. With a fire in your belly, and a hunger in your heart, anything is possible. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. You are capable of more than you know. You are unstoppable. Never let anything hold you back.
If you can dream it, you can do it. - Walt Disney