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I’m a Whole, Strong, Creative Woman … And I’m in a Wheelchair

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
07/26/16  4:45 PM PST
In a Wheelchair

I’m a Whole, Strong, Creative Woman … And I’m in a Wheelchair By Angelique Lele for Invoke

I have been in a wheelchair for three years and six months. Long enough to feel the weight of it but short enough to know I still have a lot to learn about living with a disability.

After my accident in 2012, when I fell from my trapeze while training and fractured my spine, my disability became a part of my story—a part of what makes me different. And I try not to shy away from the differences in people. My father is from India and my mom is from Ireland, so half of my family is brown. I am proud of that. I love the differences in all of us, because that is what makes each of us so unique and interesting. But my disability is only part of my story, not all of it. And certainly not the thing I want you to focus on.

I became Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2015 in March of last year, and I see this title as a way to educate and advocate for the rights of the disabled, in whatever small (or large) ways I can. As disabled women we are all so different. Some of us have had our disabilities from birth, some of us are newer to the game, some of us are in chairs, while others have walkers, sight dogs, canes, etc. There are so many colors to what we are and to how our disabilities present. We are also mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives. We are actors, doctors, writers, nurses, teachers, dancers, lawyers … the list goes on. We are you. And that is how I want you to see me, when you see me. 

I have no illusions about being seen as disabled, so I’m not asking that you deny the obvious. But I hope you can see me as more than my disability. And so I will gladly pass on what I’ve learned these past three years and six months, with love and with hope.

Read the Full Article on Invoke.

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