Pain is inevitable
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. This is how Mya rolls with it.
Hello hello beautiful people! I’m Mya, a disability advocate, content creator, college student, and wheelie lady. I am proud to say that I am disabled and a wheelchair user as both are very important aspects of my identity. Living in a disabled body that requires a mobility aid means that every movement and every decision I make is based around my support and wheelchair access needs. Being disabled is not my personality, but it definitely shapes my experiences and the way I view the world.
I became disabled later in life, so I spent the first 19 years of my life with able-bodied privilege, completely unaware of how prevalent ableism is in our society. I never had people make assumptions about my mental ability based on my physical abilities. I was never denied access to public places because of my wheelchair. I realized that unless you, or someone close to you becomes disabled, it is near impossible to be aware of the reality and extent of the struggles that disabled people face.
As a digital advocate and content creator, it is very exciting to have a platform where I can address those issues with people. I can bring attention to all the things I was forced to learn because of my disability, I can tackle misconceptions, and educate about the reality of disability. I find it a little funny since I never actually intended to become a content creator. In fact I spent many years avoiding social media like the plague. About a year ago, I decided to post wheelchair dance videos on TikTok to fundraise for a service dog. One of the very first comments I received was about my legs moving and how I was ‘faking paralysis’. Wheelchair users often receive harassment online because of the misconception that wheelchair users are all paralyzed. This is fostered by a lack of awareness about the reality of disabled experiences.
I honestly believe this lack of awareness about disabled experiences is part of what enables ableism to remain so problematic. We live in an ableist society which means we all have some level of internalized ableism... but how can you fight against a problem if you don’t even know it exists? Ableism heavily ties into our education and healthcare systems, people’s ability to be employed, even physical access to society. Unless we are actively aware and combating these issues, it is impossible to act without our internalized ableism presenting in some form. This is why I continue to post and educate about topics relating to disability. With an increase of awareness and understanding of disabled experiences and the existence of ableism, we will better be able to support, respect, and include disabled individuals in society.
P.S. from the author,
If you were to ask my younger self where I would be today, I would not have guessed anything correctly or probably would have said ‘Not here at all’. I struggled with mental health my entire life, and did not see myself getting very far in the future. I am very pleased to say that now, with all my physical and emotional struggles, the last few years of my life have been better than anything I ever imagined. I had plans to be a gymnast, a runner, a surgeon, my disability took away the possibility of that reality...but even through all the struggle I am the happiest I’ve ever been. So here is a message for my younger self, for everyone: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. No matter how bad things get there is always a reason to smile, they’re just a little harder to find sometimes than others. Just don’t give up, keep on pushing, and let’s roll with it.