I cannot afford to enjoy a life of spontaneity. If you know me, you know I am a calculated person who is very risk adverse and values being in control. It’s not a “power trip,” it’s the only way I can feel a sense of independence and have a voice when it comes to my quality of life.
Born in Manhattan, New York, I entered this world with a bang. Diagnosed with diastrophic dysplasia dwarfism and an extreme case of scoliosis and kyphosis (my spine curves at more than 90 degrees), doctors did not bank on me living past the age of 6. Standing at only 2 feet tall, many everyday tasks most people take for granted such as showering, getting dressed, driving to the store for a box of cereal and milk are executed for me by the hands and feet of someone else. As a young lady who is in the prime of my life, with a great personality, big sense of humor, and might I add extremely cute, having to rely on others for such basic activities is a big pill of humility I must swallow every day.
Many people who are in similar situations as mine suffer tremendously with regards to self-esteem, depression, and self-worth. Society paints a picture that people with disabilities are incapable and unable — not to mention the weird stares, bullying, and taunting we often receive, ranging from the little kid on the playground to those in high positions of government. Our lives are definitely not a cake walk.
Reading about my condition might make you want to feel sorry for me, but don’t. Just as I have been created with unique physical attributes, I have also been equipped with boldness, courage, and a positive outlook on life. I have found ways to use my disability for my good and the good of others. My life has given me the drive to attend college and to press on to graduate from law school. With this knowledge, I’ve become equipped to advocate for individuals with disabilities, but even more so to stand up for the rights and empowerment of all people.
Today, I am proud to say that my story is being used triumphantly to help others see the meaning in their own lives. As a co-founder of Made 2 Soar, I travel the world in my motorized wheelchair sowing seeds of inspiration, making a difference, teaching people about the disABLED community, while living my best life without apology.