How I Tell My Story by Amy Sequenzia.
Living my disabled life: My Story Is Mine to Tell Part 3. (Part 1 Autism: My Story Is Mine to Tell and Part 2 Love, Respect and “Autism Parents” )
By living my life.
I am me.
I am disabled and I am a perfect being, despite the bias and oppression imposed on me. I am a perfect being despite my human flaws.
My story is mine. The life I live is the one I have.
I don’t like what non-disabled people believe my life to be.
Because what they believe to be doesn’t say anything about me. It says a lot about them.
I don’t tell my story to teach. That would be free emotional labor.
If anyone learns from my words, that’s because they choose to listen.
But I don’t want my story to be a series of teachable moments.
I tell my story because society forces me to reclaim my voice.
I tell my story because I will not allow others to define, grade, and assign value to my life, to me.
I don’t tell my story to inspire. I refuse to be an inspiration, unless the inspiring feeling turns into action against oppression and silencing of disabled people.
Inspiration is an action.
Inspiration that doesn’t lead to action doesn’t have anything to do with my life.
Anyone who “feels inspired” and does’t act is just looking for an excuse for their lack of empathy.
I tell my story because I am the only one who holds the truth of my life, of living my disabled life.
Other people can listen, learn, ignore, or even judge me. I cannot control that.
They can agree, or disagree, with things I do.
What they cannot do is to impose a narrative of what being me is like, or to decide how much worth my life has.
I define myself, and I value myself.
Other people’s opinions can make me happy, or annoyed, but they don’t change who I am. They don’t change my human worth.
I tell my story because I have a voice, and I am loud.
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