It’s been awhile. Since I even sat at the keyboard. My words have been wrapped inside me. Questions become doubts. Quiet feels easier.
Yet, the questions swirl and stories persist. The words don’t go away. They get louder. And while silence seems easier, I don’t really know if the short-term easy is actually long-term easy.
Having an invisible disability (one which is not obvious) can be a great gift and challenge. It’s a gift in that people don’t see the disability at first, so hiding limitations is entirely possible. And, yet, that’s the challenge! Because I am in charge of my limits.
Honestly, I worry that sharing my stories will cast a shadow over my life. I worry that my opportunities, my potential clients, even my friends and family, might change ideas about me. When, in truth, my challenges impact me the most. I show up. I arrange schedules. I eat well. Give myself extra caffeine when necessary. I figure out ways to make my life work.
Society can define a person by their disability. Not talking about disability gives me freedom to be photographer, writer, crafter, mother.
How will anything change if I hide?
How will people see that having a disability doesn't change that I am a photographer, writer, crafter, mother? Having a disability doesn’t diminish anything. Having a disability adds a layer of challenges, sure, but don’t we all have challenges? Perhaps my challenges give me a few more limitations, a few more obstacles…
But the strategies to compensate or work around those limitations are universal. The feelings that rise up as I face ongoing challenges are universal. We all hit walls, find ourselves in storms, and we all appreciate moments of joy. We can find common ground.
So I have decided to stop letting the words swirl around inside me. I’m going to share stories again. The light and the dark. The difficulties and triumphs. The wholeness of living with disabilities.
I know I’ve come to this place before. I’ve felt strong and capable. Then I worry. What if people worry? What if people don’t want to hire me? What if they see me as always tired or broken?
Or … what if they see my strength and creativity? What if they see my unbreakable spirit? And my willingness to try and try again? What if they see the chance to support me and my family when they hire me? And what if they trust that I have the tools, skills, and ideas to make their images beautiful? What if we can meet authentically?
What if we can change the stories? Change the world?
Hiding won’t change anything. And I seriously would love to change the experience. Own our story instead of hiding our story.
Let the adventure begin. Again.