Last month I put on my best outrageous vintage lavender gown, complete with built-in capelet (as one does) and headed for costumer extraordinaire Manuel's Christmas Party. The party took place at The Standard which, according to their page on Yelp, is wheelchair accessible. But it isn't. Not even close. So I sat there in my lavender gown feeling left out and foolish. I had to leave.Read More
You may wonder what a fashion and style blog has to do with compassion. After all, these things are often thought of as frivolous and superficial and having nothing to do with any deeper context. But I have a unique point of view that is accompanied by an unconventional opinion about fashion and style as it relates to people with disabilities. Namely, that we are entitled to both, even though they may be harder for us to come by. I believe that fashion and style can not only change the way society views a person with a disability. It can also change the way they esteem themselves.Read More
Then you are going to absolutely hate this post.
The holiday season can bring out the best in people. Sadly, it can also bring out the snark. I recently received some lovely feedback from someone whose name I will not mention. Their intent, I think, was to provide me with a fresh perspective concerning this blog.
"U look like s**t," was the opening salvo. "U r fat and old u lok like a retard. Stop it."
I am so grateful for these pearls of wisdom. I think my eloquent friend deserves an explanation, don't you?
First of all, I'm crippled, not retarded. There's nothing wrong with being intellectually disabled, however, I am only physically disabled.
Secondly, I'm well aware of what I look like. If you think I'm doing this out of some arrogant sense of self-deluded ideation (lots of big words; Google them) you are mistaken. I know that I twitch and shake. I know that I'm round, aging, spastic, and that I don't photograph or film well except on a fluke. Believe me when I tell you that I am keenly aware of every physical flaw I possess. But, I've come to terms with how I look. I will never be thin, or young, or graceful. I will always be round (although I'm working to be a little less so), I get older every day, and I am a spaz. I write this blog not out of some misplaced conceit. I do it so that every other woman who may be round, or old, or palsied, can hold her head up and feel beautiful.
Finally, I can take comfort in the fact that I am not you. I do appreciate your candor, but I've been called worse names by better people - and in person, not hiding behind a computer screen. Vitriolic comments sting at first, but they tend to only make me stronger. So no, I won't, "Stop it".
Thank you and Merry Christmas.
To the rest of you; thank you for everything. It's good to be me!
And we should work it out. I don't care how mild or how severe your CP is we Palsies deserve to look as good as anybody else.
The way you dress reflects how you feel about yourself. It doesn't determine your worth as a person, but it does determine your estimation of your own value. It lets other people know how much or how little you think about the package you're presenting to the world. I think it's really, really important for those of us with Cerebral Palsy to understand that we have the potential to be as valuable as anyone else. It's equally important to understand that we are being judged for our physical appearance far more critically than our able-bodied counterparts. It's not because people are jerks - although some people clearly are. It's because as human beings we are physiologically hardwired to notice differences in our environment and that includes people who look or move in a way that is radically different from the norm. In other words, people are going to notice you because you are handicapped. All the political correctness in the world isn't going to change that. It's just going to make others that much more hesitant to approach you for fear of saying something offensive.
Do you want someone else's first impression of you be of nothing but your disability? Are you so nicely wrapped that people are staring at you - in a GOOD way - because they'd like to interact with you? Or do you look like you either think little of yourself or wish you owned Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility?
Why deny anyone the opportunity to get to know you? Change their preconceptions with that first glance, that first impression. You can do it. I have done it, and I know that for a fact because people I've met that have become friends have told me so.
It took me far too long to come out of the shadows. Don't waste another day of your life waiting for the world to change. Change your world - today.
I want to get to know you! I want to start a movement with you. I want to recruit you as a fellow Spashionista. I want us to help each other look like we're worth our weight in gold; because we are!