This article is an excerpt of writings regarding validation and acceptance in a society that is not fully inclusive. As a young woman in my early twenties with a physical disability, I've come to understand that I validate myself regardless of society's pressures and conception of able-bodied beauty.
I am not broken.
I'm not a broken doll that's aimlessly waiting for validation on a dusty, old store shelf. My home is in my heart, and regardless of all the outside noise, I refuse to believe that I'm disfigured and made out of leftover pieces.
I'm not here to ask for redemption or comforting words from people who find pleasure in damaging my vulnerability.
I'm not here to be validated by you. I'm not here to be scrutinized in your presence. I'm not here to feel broken. My strength is pure and valuable. My validity does not lie in your hands. My voice is more powerful than what you can say or do to me.
My inner core is sacred. It's heavily guarded and protected -- something that I've learned over the years. But I'm not bitter and made of stone. Your negativity has not hardened my soul. You've made me angry enough to change the system and make something right in our world. This passion burns within me, like a forever flame; like a forever purpose.
Instead of hardening hearts, I will continue to ignite deep curiosity, laughter, and gratitude for ourselves and our world. I will continue to unveil the ever-flowing love that exists within all of us; the kind of deep love that engulfs every living, breathing being. I will continue to teach others that they are talented and have a specific purpose. And I will continue to show young faces that they are beautiful and enough regardless of all the negativity you perpetually tell us. These young faces will realize that they are whole and sturdy, despite the backhanded compliments and unnecessary opinions you continue to proclaim.
Soon, your words and actions will no longer have value.
Your images will no longer hurt hearts and inner perceptions of young girls and boys.
And soon, you'll realize how dysfunctional you actually are.
Despite the judgments and comparisons, we are all here for each other. Why? Because I'm no different than you; because we're no different from each other; because we're all interconnected and codependent. I fall and pick myself up out of love. And with love, even the most hopeless people can turn themselves around. A fully inclusive society is possible. There will be a day when a body is celebrated for its inherent beauty instead of photoshopped and judged for its imperfections.
Because I have hope; because I do not oppress others, even the ones who once oppressed me.
And even if there are limits that I encounter, let me be the one who determines how to solve my roadblocks. Let me be the one to choose the resources I desire to seek help from. Let me understand my problems on my own. Excessive opinions are now outside noise, useless and distracting. I no longer care what others think. I've realized that much of their perspectives are based on their own limitations- don't limit me on what you think I can't do. Watch me fly.
Allow me to try and drastically fail. Allow me to completely fall flat on my face. Allow me to crash and burn. And through the agony and pain, watch me crawl and kneel. And watch me finally stand on my own two feet with all the inner strength that I have. Watch me stand on my own; from no one else, just me.
Because I can. Because I will.
You may never realize how you continue to hurt others, but I'm no longer going to idly stand by.
Next time you call me broken and disfigured, I will gladly unleash my inner thoughts:
That I'm perfect in God's eyes. That I'm beautiful. That I'm enough, just as I am. And no matter what you may say or do to me, I will not be swayed or pushed to my knees. My validity does not belong in your hands.
Thanks to you, I've realized one thing: I am unbroken.