What is a disability?
According to Marriam-Webster, a disability is "a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions."
It's so much more than that, though. It's a community.
I have people on my Snapchat that I only really talk to about Diabetic stuff (which, yes, I am Type One Diabetic). we complain when we have bad days or annoying people, and we go to each other when we have good news, like a doctors appointment that went really well.
In fact, for years and years as a child, I went to a day camp specifically for Diabetic kids. It's called Camp MIDICHA. A few years ago I went again for overnight camp. It's one of the best things I've ever done, even if I did get a little homesick now and then. I made lifelong friends there who understand me and I understand them.
There have been people in my life who, unfortunately, have wanted to put me down and insult me because I'm different. Some people are scared of different, I think, because they don't understand it.
Some also see us disabled people as a waste of resources or money or fill-in-the-blank-here. That's why a lot of politicians and popular people have wanted to take away funding for research for a lot of us, ignore us, make fun of us, or even go so far as to say that we are worthless.
How has the disabled community stuck together through this, though? I mean, we've spent years and years being discriminated against and it still happens and we still suffer from this prejudice against us day-after-day. The simple answer is that we are strong enough to push through all the other things that we have to deal with.
We deal with our disabilities every day. Yeah, sure, as much as we think positively and all that, it still sucks and we all have rough days. So we know how hard it is to just deal with that. This gives us so much strength itself. Then we have the power to connect with each other who also have disabilities, which is so empowering when you do it. If you haven't ever been in a room full of disabled people or people who have the same disability as you, do it! It's such a good feeling.
Knowing that you're not alone gives you the power to rise above those who want to hurt us.
I think that that is one of the most influential reasons that I am proud to be disabled. I wear the term "disability" with pride, and I will forever hold the term close to my heart. I hate that I have one, honestly, but I can't control that I have it. There's no point being mad about something I was diagnosed with almost 15 years ago, so I decided to have turned my hate into appreciation.