Stop Putting Me In A Category

Stop Putting People With Disabilities In The 'You Shouldn't Do This' Category

I'll never stop writing about disabilities, even if it does make you uncomfortable.

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It's quite common to be told it's probably best if you didn't do this or that when you have a disability. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of people telling me I should "stay back" or to not "overwork myself." You wouldn't tell the "average" person that stuff. You say it to me, though. Maybe it is because you care, but maybe it is also because you don't want to have the trouble of me on your hands.

I simply want to inform you of a few things. First, just because I have a disability does not mean I can't travel. I am capable of riding in a car for hours on end. I am capable of sitting on a plane for hours on end. And I am capable of taking my medicine when I need to. Thank you, though, for checking in and making sure I am alright.

Second, I can exercise. I can still go on a run. I can still play sports. I can still go on bike rides. Crazy, right? Actually, it's not. I remember back in the days of physical education when we had to do the pacer. I had people ask me if I was going to be okay. Yes, I was. And if I wasn't I knew what I had to do. I am quite similar to you, and I can do the same things.

My next reason to make you uncomfortable is simply talking to people. My disability did not change my personality from before. I have always loved people. I have loved learning people's stories. I can communicate with people just like you do! Another crazy realization!

Moving on, my disability has affected my education, but I have never let that stop me. I have never let my disability decide my success. Sure, there have been many times when I wanted to throw it all away, but my disability wasn't going to get the last say. My disability does affect my education, but it does not hold me back with what I want to do in life.

Furthermore, I have been told that people weren't sure I was going to "make it this far." What a joke. People have thought I wouldn't make it to where I am today because of my disability. They put me under this category of disability = failure. I am here to say that is false. A disability, no matter what it is, does not claim you as incapable. I have seen it again and again in my life that people with disabilities have the power to succeed.

I ask you to stop saying "Oh, you probably can't [or shouldn't] do this because of, well, you know why..." It is terrible to hear that. All we, people, want to hear is that you believe in us. That's it. We don't deserve to be told we are incapable. We are just like you. Treat us like we are.

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Lazy Girl's Guide To The Gym

Also, everything else you should know if you're a slightly out-of-shape girl (like me).

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With my freshman year coming to an end, I realized a lot of things. I made new friends, I found new hobbies, and I learned a lot of lessons. One of them being that the "Freshman 15" is very real and very scary.

While my friends and family have attempted multiple times to convince me that I'm just being dramatic (I am), I still want to make a change in my lifestyle or I will, in all seriousness, be on track to the "Sophomore 20".

Here is a list of my best gym and healthy lifestyle tips that I am slowly attempting to live by this summer in order to resurrect Emily's 18-year-old body and health.

1. Increase water intake.

2. Find a gym buddy.

3. Start off with cardio.

4. Don't stop on your cardio until you're dripping in sweat.

5. Chug a LOT of water an hour before the gym.

Do not do it right before, or you will be in pain.

6. Eat light beforehand but just enough to hold you over. 

7. Plan out what your routine will be BEFORE you get there.

My routine: Elliptical for a mile, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, ab HIIT workout for 10 minutes, 5 more minutes on Stairmaster.

8. Buy healthy foods while you're feeling motivated.

9. Find a gym that isn't too far from your house. 

10. Don't get mad at yourself if you don't see results in a day.

I know this is a hard one.

11. Try fitness classes. 

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