I wrote a blog post a couple years ago on my thoughts and feelings about being handicapped. If I could wave a magic wand and have my disability erased how would my life be different? Who would I be without a disability? I can’t answer that because I only know who I am today. I am Shawna Mattinson and I have a disability. I’ve done a lot of things during my life, and that’s affected who I am today. I am a writer, a blogger, a web designer, a friend, a sister, and a daughter. Would these be different if I didn’t have a disability?
I am a normal person inside, and I have dreams and goals like everybody else. Yes, you can see my disability, but that doesn’t define who I am as a person. I saw this on my holiday because people were extremely friendly with me. Is it because they are friendly or is it because of my disability? There were servers who would talk to me like I was a baby and couldn’t think for myself. I wish people wouldn’t assume I am stupid. If I could, I would like to see people not make any assumptions. People who have a disability like me are looked down on because we don't act the same way.
Everybody has a disability. There are physical disabilities but also nonphysical ones like anger management issues, drug addiction, laziness, mental illness, social anxiety, lack of self-esteem, and others. In our lives, we need challenges to prove that we can overcome them.
Sometimes, we can’t overcome the challenges in our life by ourselves. We all need help in some way, like doing a paper for school, or helping someone move out of their parents’ house for the first time, or buying a car, or getting your own house. If we don’t have family or friends to count on, who can we count on?
Just because we need help, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own independence, like moving out for the first time. When I was younger, I always told my parents I’d move out when I was 18. My mom didn’t know if that was a good idea for me, but I proved her wrong. For others with physical disabilities, they’re not given that chance. They’re kept at home because their caregivers don’t know if they can handle the real world.
How do you respond to people who have a disability? The answer is, if you have someone who has a disability in your life, the disability doesn’t matter. For me, my family and friends only see me, Shawna. I really like that. I love the way they see me as a normal but bright girl with a sense of humour and many capabilities. I feel sad for the people with disabilities whose families don’t let them spread their wings and keep them home.
I wish that everybody in the world could see through a disability and see what’s inside not just what is in on the outside. This will never happen but it poses an interesting question of whether or not the grass is truly greener on the other side.