GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Maddeline “Maddy” Thomas ’18 is a disability activist and will be contributing articles on disability awareness in the workplace and beyond. This is her third article for the blog.
Proud of My Disabilities
By celebrating Disability Pride Month in July, I wanted to tell you why I am proud of my disabilities. I wouldn’t be who I am without my disabilities. I became fierce, brave, smart, curious, loving, outgoing, bold, and motivated. I am a well-balanced person because I enjoy helping others, working, spending time with friends and family, staying active, and doing self-care.
Who I Wanted to Be
While learning how to accept my disabilities, I had many
restrictions and limitations during my childhood. These made me claustrophobic
because I felt trapped. Then I started to have realistic dreams and goals. I
wanted to be intelligent, stylish, outgoing, and funny. I hoped to get my college
degree and have a stable job so I can support myself. I always wanted to work.
I wanted a squad of close friends. My parents did everything to make me
successful, and I want to give them the support back. For a long time, I never
thought my dreams would come through until I believed in myself. I jumped into
good and bad situations. Bad situations taught me to get through things when I
faced with conflict and discrimination. This bumpy road taught me how to stand
up for myself.
Skills with Disabilities
My disabilities make me excel in my life. I enjoy consistency
planning and organizing. Because of my speech impairment, I have to read people
to see their tolerance to differences. With each person I encounter, I have to
adapt my way of teaching them to communicate with me. I have a great intuition
because I can sense what others are feeling.
Currently, I am taking steps to follow my dreams. Dreams are not one-stop, and that is it. You have to maintain what you want. I am fortunate that I have my bachelors degree, two jobs, and close family and friends. I got what I wanted, but it takes work, patience, and effort to maintain your dreams. There are moments of happiness ever after, but you have to face the tough times of reality too.
How to Power Through?
Having pride in your disability means being proud of who you are. Disabilities are an extra ingredient to someone’s life, which the person has to adapt as anyone else would. People with disabilities do things differently, but that is the way they feel comfortable.
You might have a hard time getting a new job or navigating different types of relationships. If you keep pushing for what you want, eventually you will get it. Maybe you don’t get it, but you can take different avenues to get you to your end goal. Your career, all your relationships you have, and your bucket list do not need a timeline.