jewel-katsDear Diary,

“You’re such a confident woman DESPITE your disability.”

Cringe. Cringe. Cringe.

Yes, I actually heard someone utter the above phrase. And yes, these words were directed at me.

Cringe. Cringe. Cringe.

For the record, I have disabilities. Note the plural. Am I confident? Heck, yes. Though, I don’t understand why this is so shocking.

Take note: Disabilities and confidence do mix.

People with disabilities can have a high self-esteem. If someone tells you otherwise, it’s a big, fat lie. The disability experience doesn’t automatically mean you’re doomed to walk around with a pink barf bag around your head. Life can still be sweet. It’s all in your mindset.

I’ve learned a few things during my 30-something years on this green planet. Here’s the inside scoop on gaining confidence:

1) Positive thinking is contagious.

Likewise, perception is everything. If you believe in your abilities others will, too. Send out feel good vibes and they’ll bounce back. It’s the basic law of cause and effect.

2) Be a leader. Not a follower.

Don’t let others dictate how you should feel about yourself—especially in regards to your disability. Take the commander’s seat and fake a supreme regime if you have to. Eventually, you’ll believe in your infinite powers, too.

3) Give yourself some wiggle room.

Stuff happens. Life’s hiccups get in the way. Don’t blame your shortcomings—physical or not---if you go off course. Find a way to cross the hurdle—even if that means skipping it altogether with a quick side roll of your wheelchair.

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4) Don’t accept invites to honorary pity parties.

Disabilities are a fact of life. People need to deal with this age-old human condition. Politely asking society to cut their cry-you-a-river spiel is a-okay. After all, a victim’s cap is never chic.

5) Set goals and build on your skills.

Yes, it’s true. People with disabilities can have limitations. However, this doesn’t mean achieving things is next to impossible. On the contrary, hard work pays off. Fine-tune a skill and eventually you’ll reap its rewards. This could come in the form of artistic expression, building community relationships or excelling at school or work. Make the world your oyster and go for your dreams.

6) Dress the part.

Walking with a cane doesn’t mean you can’t be a fashionista. You can be. You’re a consumer just like anybody else. Even if catwalks and runways in Paris aren’t your thing, proper grooming should be.  Everyone appreciates a well put together package.

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As for the person who said: “You’re such a confident woman DESPITE your disability.”

You’re darn right I am. If you tell me otherwise, I’ll kick you with my stiletto. And make you…

Cringe. Cringe. Cringe.

Love,

The Original “DitzAbled Princess”

Jewel Kats xoxo