The photo is of Rhylorien n’a Rose from Women En Large.
Eight years ago, I seriously resisted trying out and eventually selecting an electric scooter, even though a mechanical device would help conserve my limited energy. The scooter gave me membership in the disabled community; I could now experience the multiple humiliations and frustrations society directs at those outside of the range of normalcy.
In the days following, I thought I learned about how important it was for me to develop a thick, strong, impervious, and protective exterior to shield me. Accompanying my psychological shell’s growth was a physical weight gain which added another dimension to the adjustments being made. In ways both subtle and overt, my family and the world at large let me know I was now a fair target for their expressions of scorn and disgust relative to their personal phobias related to obesity and disability.
It took time to find out and be comfortable with who I am – right now, this size, this disabled. When I found myself feeling okay with myself, I noticed I was able to stand my ground firmly, to assert myself, and to give off vibrations of power not related to physical strength. I no longer needed my previous shielding. I understood that beyond the fat, beyond the disability, beyond the missing body parts, what really matters was how I felt about who I am. I don’t need approval from anyone but myself. I am not what others think of me. I am what I think of me. My world is now quite different from what it was yesterday; the difference between now and yesterday is my frame of reference. My body may be fat and physically challenged, but I am strong and beautiful. … Right now.