Finding my own Pace on International Day of People with Disability

It’s December 3, 2015 – International Day of People with Disability. The aim of today is to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability within the community.

It is also a chance for our disability community in Melbourne to honour who we are, what we stand for and to do it with pride. Paralympians will be showing off their skills at the Para World Sailing Championships; artists with intellectual disabilities will have their artwork on display at the Bayside City Council and the Quippings gang will be performing at the Richmond Town Hall. Tomorrow the disability community will be out there, strutting our stuff unashamedly.

Up until recently, I was unable to speak up for the broader community because I never fully accepted my own disability. I was too busy living a life of apology to my friends, family and colleagues for who I was.

I struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin, there was so much turmoil within my body trying keeping up with the world of the able-bodied; especially my peers from school. Completing year twelve, completing university and completing day-to-day tasks took me double the time it took my peers (and it still does today). It never occurred to me that it was okay to do things my own way.

Because of this, I was always saying “sorry” for taking up people’s time and space. People would tell me to stop apologising but I couldn’t stop. My mantra was keep up and apologise.

But this year, I have reached a whole new level. A level where I am ready to take part in International Day of of People with Disability. A level where I stop trying to keep up with everyone and finally be happy with cruising in the slow lane and enjoying the scenery along the way (and smelling the roses on the way).

This is the year that I am ready to go at my own pace.

For me, this is the Year of Nice ‘n’ Slow.

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