Last week, I wrapped up my time with my counselor. (Many tears were shed!). She is leaving for a new job. In our short time together (about a year), I grew so much. Her impact will carry through my life.
In our second to last session, she explained how embracing my identity as a disabled person will, in turn, allow me to have greater impact.
So, how does this work?
As I embrace my identity as a disabled person, rather than trying to hide my disability or function as a non-disabled person, I both feel and become more authentic.
When I am more authentic, I can create deeper connections with others.
And when I create these deeper connections, I will have a greater impact.
Read that one more time for your own journey:
Embracing your identity leads to you feeling and being more authentic. As a result of you being more authentic, you are able to create deeper connections with others and expand your impact.
I always thought of myself as a pretty authentic and vulnerable person who created deep connections with others. But I was still hiding such a large part of myself from so much of the world.
I've already seen how writing this blog and working more on Rowe's Research Runners has been more impactful since I began embracing my disability identity. I'm writing more honestly about disability, I'm using the word disabled, I'm connecting to other disabled people in more meaningful ways. I'm becoming a better ally,
I'm expanding the reach of Rowe's Research Runners. Myself and fellow patients support one another and engage in activities like a book club centered around a book with disability representation. I'm not afraid to use my story as a way to raise awareness, create connection and raise funds for Dr. Rowe and his team.
Because I'm no longer trying to hide my disability, I can fully immerse myself in the work that fulfills me--work that is centered around disability and chronic illness. I love RRR. I love the people I've met, the work we do, and the ways we do it. I'm no longer trying to run a fundraiser and act non-disabled. I'm finding ways to do things differently, but still effectively.
In the past, I would have tried to find ways to engage that were not connected to my illness or disability. Now, I'm settled into a place where disability is at the center of how I live my best life. It won't always be easy, but it will be worth it.
Photos: Evening visit to the arboretum in the Rolls.