New Disability.Blog: Why I Don’t Mind Being Considered an Inspiration

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From: “disability.gov>
Date: November 10, 2014 at 4:38:38 PM EST
Subject: New Disability.Blog: Why I Don’t Mind Being Considered an Inspiration
Reply-To: disability.gov

New Disability.Blog: Why I Don’t Mind Being Considered an Inspiration

Why I Don’t Mind Being Considered an Inspiration

By Guest Blogger Mel Finefrock, Editor and Freelance Writer

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of negativity and scornful comments surrounding what our community has coined as “inspiration porn,” and have found it quite troubling. Many people with disabilities believe that classifying people as inspirational on the basis of disability is demeaning, objectifying and oppressive. Though I firmly agree that not one population should be objectified or placed on a pedestal, I also strongly disagree with this perspective. It seems to suggest that being considered an inspiration to others within the context of disability automatically equates that level of condescension, without examining the intentions of the individual without a disability.

Furthermore, I don’t think we get to decide what does or doesn’t, should or shouldn’t, inspire others. As a person with a disability myself, therefore, I feel the need to peaceably impart my opinion as well, though I admit I may be in the vast minority in this regard and may meet with a fair amount of criticism. Not to worry, I have a relatively thick skin.

Every perspective begins with a story, so here’s mine: two years ago I experienced a domino effect of very unfortunate events which were ultimately life-changing. For whatever reason, it seemed like anytime I put my hope in anything or planned any course of action, the floor fell out from underneath me. I was in pain for a very long time, because I thought no matter what I did, I couldn’t be happy.

One thing that got me through this time, though, was finding inspiration in anything at all: a sky blue enough for me to see it, a particularly gnarly tree with character, a poem or song I really related to … and, you guessed it, other people.

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