I'm a Person With a Disability and My Body Is Not a Mistake

This article is an excerpt of writings regarding body acceptance while living with a disability. As a young woman in my early twenties with a physical disability, I've come to accept and own the body I've been given regardless of society's pressures and conception of able-bodied beauty.

Life has given me twists and turns, and at times I've been confused as to which way is up.

People have told me that I'm weak -- that I won't measure up to anything, that my dreams cannot be fulfilled. And science cannot treat or stop a progressive disease. I've been left to fend for myself. My innocence stripped away and abandoned as a child, afraid and conflicted in the eye of a storm.

I've been searching for answers and looking for serenity for years; whether that's in a human connection, scriptures, or quotes in hopes of making peace with a card I was not expecting to be given.

For years I thought I was living a nightmare, aimlessly waiting to be awoken and told that I was experiencing a horrifying hallucination. I felt crushed and hopeless when thinking about a future, and if there was one, when living in a body that may fail my dreams and aspirations.

I cried.

And I cried for nights.

Since then, I've questioned where I've belonged -- in relationships, friendships, in my community, in society. I've questioned my talents. I've questioned my opinions and capabilities. I even questioned how I can measure myself in a body that conflicts with my desires.

But as inner turmoil may come and go, I've come to realize that my body is pure, specifically designed, and not left to be abandoned. That my body is a dimension of myself, and something of power and strength. Whether society, strangers, friends, lovers or family understand the true perception of me may or may not matter. What matters is how I see myself.

It doesn't matter if science ever has answers for me.

What matters is that I continue to push forward.

It doesn't matter what society thinks of me.

What matters is that I see my body's pureness.

It doesn't matter if I use a walker, wheelchair, power chair, or any medical devices.

What matters is that I can move freely and independently.

It doesn't matter what doctors tell me.

What matters is that I own my body and that I'm my own advocate.

It doesn't matter.

None of it matters.

What matters is that I continue to live.

Like my finger to the wind, I will continue to live on. I will continue to chase after and live my dreams. Because I can. I am autonomous and it's my prerogative to live the life specifically designed for me, guided by my inner light. That light, an inner flame that has guided me from a child in the eye of a storm to now, taking a stand and owning my body.

My body has taken me to places I once dreamed of. My body has traveled across the world through different time zones -- the Acropolis, Olympic stadiums, the Andes Mountains to Nelson Mandela's hometown. My body has a powerful voice-- from attending the United Nations, Capitol Hill, the White House to meeting a president. And my body has broken records; shattering preconceived limitations of the human body. With every stroke and deep breath, my body has pushed passed every roadblock and closed door; and will continue to do so. My body is beautiful. My body is an incredible gift

My physical dimension is a magnificent piece of artwork; carefully painted, sculpted, and drawn to its truest form. Every freckle, mole and piece of skin was intentionally designed. My body is not a mistake. It has carried me through every chapter of my life and will continue to do so; regardless of not knowing what the future holds. My body is miraculous as it molds into different phases of my life and carries me through moments of pain and exertion to times of peace and relaxation.

My body is incredibly strong. It was not made of porcelain and intended to easily break. My body is cohesive and sturdy -- like water and the trunk of a tree, and perfectly blends with nature's elements. Its bark may be rough and torn around the edges, but its inner being was specifically created to withstand all storms in any season.

My body has always been there for me. It will never leave me and it will always do its best at whatever we encounter together. My body is a dimension of myself and will forever stay by my side. It's time to fully own my body as it's one incredible creation.

My body is a gift.

A gift I am grateful for.

kristin duquette


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