My last blog post was about my feelings of self indulgence regarding blogging about myself. I’ve managed to kind of figure out where the feeling comes from. I don’t wish to offend anyone, but I feel that this needs to be expressed with regards to any form of writing that could be considered inspirational.

I’ve been writing about disability biographies, memoirs, informational books, and textbooks for several months now. I’ve realized that the narrative structure of ‘miserable literature’ and ‘disability inspiration’ are very similar.

In a work of miserable literature, a girl is abducted and abused, she eventually gets out of it, and she finishes the book with a happy marriage and four healthy children. The work is meant to inspire you in times of sadness and hardship. Works classifiable as disability inspiration or overcoming adversity are laid out in the same fashion: a person has a challenging time because of disability brought on by trauma or illness, she somehow finds a specialist, cure, or treatment plan, and then emerges from the experience healthier and touting the message of, ‘if I can do this, you can too.’ Abuse sufferers, accident victims, and people with disabilities often speak motivationally.

None of this is wrong, bad, unhelpful, or useless. I’ve just come to terms with the fact that these narratives are alike and realized that it’s not how I want to be portrayed or thought of. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with my disability and to accept that I will always have to manage it in some way, regardless of my physical progress and the effort I put into my rehabilitative regime.

People often tell me I am strong, brave, determined, and amazing. I don’t think they would consider me any of these things if they took my disability out of the equation. I don’t like being thought of as ‘amazing because I have a disability and work two jobs’ or ‘determined because I have a disability and went to London for my education.’ I work two jobs (and freelance) because I have to, and I went to England for school because I wanted a British husband. I never considered my disability a factor in either decision.

I don’t want to be an inspiration to anyone. I don’t want to be considered inspirational because of what I’ve done (and, worse, have it correlated to my disability). If I were to inspire anyone, I would want it to be because of my creativity or my heart, and not what I can do or have achieved as a person with a disability.


About Norah

writer. aspiring editor.
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2 Responses to #hashtagurgh

  1. ht says:

    I love this post. When we first found out my daughter would likely have CP, everyone wanted to tell me about people who beat the odds – the triumph over adversity. But she did not beat the odds. As with most babies with her type of brain incident, she has CP. But she is very much worth celebrating! She does not need to overcome it, at least not for me.

  2. Norah says:

    Certainly. I am finally coming around to that perspective. You can work to overcome it if you choose, but you don’t have to. And you shouldn’t be considered inspirational because you’re still doing what we all do: doing the very best you can with what you have. That’s all anyone can do. She’s worth celebrating because she’s your girl, and that in itself is more than enough.

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