'Don't let your disability define you.'
I can't tell you how often I hear this, whether it's said directly to me or it's just a general comment made on Twitter. Disabled people are forever being told not to let our disabilities define us or take over our lives, ever since my health got worse I've constantly had this message thrown at me. You know what though? My disability does define me. It has an impact on every part of my life and I embrace it as much as I can, it really does define me and that's okay.
I'm sick of people, especially able bodied people, telling me that my disability shouldn't define me, that I'm so much more than that. And yes, I am so much more than it but it's the biggest part of my life and it would be difficult for it not to be. I have hospital appointments every week, I take a large amount of medication daily and I'm constantly in pain which means that my disability defines every part of my life. It gets to decide whether I can get out of bed and whether I can leave the house, just to name a few examples.
I'm not ashamed of the fact that my disability defines me because it's helped me to achieve so many things. I've talked about the issues myself and others face on my blog, I've written for other websites and publications about it, I've gained charity work from it etc. That doesn't sound bad to me! I've never seen my disability defining me as a bad thing and I'm sick of people giving out this message that it is bad.
My life revolves around my disability and not always in a bad way either. Of course it means I go to a lot of hospital appointments which means I sometimes miss out on things but it's not all bad. I've worked with charities like The British Heart Foundation and The Hypermobility Syndromes Association, educated a lot of people on disability issues and ableism and raised awareness of my own condition, Marfan Syndrome. My disability defining me has helped me to do these things, it's my unique selling point if you like.
So, if you're disabled and it defines you, your personality and your life: don't feel bad. Embrace it and ignore anyone who tells you that you shouldn't be defined by it, it's your life and your disability. Make your own rules.