A Site for Persons with Disabilities

(First, my apologies for my long absence from the blog! What can I say, work has been killer busy but I promise to try and do better!!)

Do you ever notice how people always seem to want to “fix you”? This makeup will hide your skin imperfections, these pants will hide your stomach, contacts will hide the fact you need glasses… the list goes on and on. Somewhere along the way what has become socially acceptable is to make yourself look like everyone else. Why is this?

This month I will be participating in the Bluenose Marathon, for the 4th time. (I would like to add that I truly HATE running… I hate it with a passion to be honest, but for some reason I LOVE participating in the Bluenose Marathon. It’s the excitement of the event, the crowds, the medals, and the fact that I’m running for a charity. My charity of choice this year is the Easter Seals.)

Knowing that the worst thing I could possibly do is decide to buy new sneakers right before the big day, I go to the shoe store WELL in advance. I’m a bargain shopper at heart, but a wise friend once said to me that anything that comes between you and the ground (a mattress, shoes and tires) you should always buy quality rather than price. I go in to be properly fitted for a good pair of cross trainers that will last me for a while.

As I’m having my foot sized, the salesperson points out that my feet seem to be turning in an awful lot, and she isn’t sure they will be able to find a shoe that will correct this properly. She recommends I come in for a free screening on my feet. Now, this is something that has NEVER crossed my mind before. But, in the spirit of making sure I’m doing what is best for my body, I make the appointment.

When I go in, I basically have to walk, and then run back and forth along a line. After this a doctor examines me and determines that my ankles are very unstable (for the reasons why, see a previous blog post about my numerous ankle sprains!!) and he tells me I need orthotics. Because my insurance covers this, I figure what the heck, and agree to get them.

Once they arrive (I won’t bore you with the whole foot casting process!) I dutifully put them in my newly purchased shoes and start walking around. In a matter of a couple days, my knees, ankles, hips and back are ALL in AGONY!!! Now in fairness, the doctor did warn me that this would happen, as my body “realigned properly”. I started thinking though, was I REALLY so bad off before that something like this was necessary?

The breaking point came for me, when after about a week of agony, I took a look in my closet and realized that with these new additions to my shoes, my sandals and flip flops would all become unusable as well. Well, that was enough for me! Right then and there I decided that my feet had gotten me around thus far with no real difficulty and I wasn’t about to rock the boat now!

In light of all of this, I have decided to celebrate my differences rather than try to conceal them. So, no more spending a bunch of money trying to make my hair look “silky smooth” like the models on TV. My hair is curly, and sometimes frizzy, and while I do flat iron it occasionally for a different look, it is what it is. My ankles apparantly flop around more than Flipper’s fins. My solution for this? I don’t wear heels. Is it really so bad not being able to hobble around in 3 inch spikes which hurt your back and leg muscles anyway? I think not. My skin has uneven tones, my stomach isn’t as flat as it used to be, and my legs are stocky. My nails are cut short (this in part due to the fact I’m learning how to play guitar. Also, I HATE having to constantly clean under my nails when they’re long!) My front two teeth are quite big. Not sticking out or anything, but just the size, and because of this I used to always smile with my lips closed. Not anymore! Do these things make me less perfect? I don’t think so. They make me, me. Now, I will say that I have pretty straight teeth, thanks to being stuck in wires for a total of FOUR YEARS as a teenager. (That wasn’t traumatizing at all… kids can be SO cruel!)

I think that everyone should celebrate their differences. It is the differences that make us all unique. People who have differences from other people should never be made to feel that they should hide, or try to change who they are. The most beautiful works of art aren’t the ones that look like everything else. They are the ones that stand out and are different. The differences are what make them beautiful.

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