When I was eight years old, a doctor told me I had a disability,
And deep inside my heart, it didn’t bother me;
What bothered me was how the world portrayed it to be.
I didn’t want to be seen as the disabled girl,
I didn’t want anyone to bully me,
I didn’t need another label,
Because I was already labeled enough.
The word disability is made of the prefix “dis,” which means not,
Preceding the root word “ability” which means able—
It is hard not to notice that the word literally means “not able”;
How could we have used this word for so long?
It is a word that doesn’t fit our daily lives,
A word that limits and doesn’t let us thrive.
What you need to know about someone with a disability
Is not that they’re not able:
We are more than capable.
We have to work twice as hard in anything we do;
We must keep going regardless of any struggle that we go through;
We have a kind of determination that most will never know;
We have a tolerance for the intolerant that continues to grow,
Because there will always be ignorant people out there in the world.
The list of people who’ve made assumptions is so long;
I’m just trying to constantly prove them wrong.
I must work to prove myself, which is incredibly unfair,
But I would rather work hard because I care,
Than for people to see a version of me that isn’t there.
If it has been so hard for me,
I cannot imagine what other disabled people go through.
My burden is not as big
As the burden that others are forced to carry.
I know that disabilities come in different ways and my words do not always apply,
But these are strong beliefs that I cannot deny.
All my life the world has made me feel small,
But that will not continue.
I will stand for myself and others.
My disability does not define me;
It is simply a part of me.
I used to be afraid of you, but I no longer fear.
I hope that this poem has made one thing perfectly clear:
People with disabilities are more than capable . . . we are able.