100: The truth about disability

What a special day! Today marks our 100th post on World Travaillers, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

For this special occasion, I want to share with you something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.

I know many people probably wouldn’t consider Crohn’s Disease a disability. In fact, 99.999% of the population wouldn’t hesitate to say that I am able-bodied. But the handful of people who truly know me well can appreciate my daily struggles. They try to understand, but the closest anyone can get is to appreciate. And that’s enough.

I had a conversation this week with some of my handful as they were trying to understand. I will be the first to say that it is not easy to open up. But the truth of the matter is that with any disability, no matter how thoughtful a person is, they cannot imagine all the difficulties you face.

thumbs up bandageWhen I get a paper cut, I feel completely useless: I can’t type, going to the bathroom gets more interesting, and you have to be attentive about how you handle objects so you don’t reopen the wound. It affects you in so many more ways than you can anticipate. So people can probably imagine and appreciate some of your struggles, but there are a half million more that they have never considered.

At this stage in my life, I’ve had to be brutally honest with myself about my limitations. And I’m not talking about physical limitations—those are much more easily defined (ie. If I lose my hands tomorrow, I won’t be able to hand-write another letter). I’m talking about how much pain you are willing to accept in your life. Pain cannot be easily defined, and somehow if you decide you can only tolerate so much, you (or others) will consider yourself weak.

So I have been thinking a lot about what sort of changes I need to make in my life so I don’t continue exceeding my threshold. These can be big decisions like changing jobs, moving cities, changing who you spend time with, letting go of dreams or hobbies so you can minimize triggers or exacerbaters. It’s scary to make these choices and not know if they will lead you to be cut off from the ones you love or stuck in a situation/job you hate!

I think this is why the weekly Starstruck series—on celebrities with disabilities—is the most loved by readers. These celebrities aren’t models for you to try to live up to or examples of how people overcame the odds. They are people that have had to make the same difficult decisions and sacrifices, and come out being successful and loved. That gives me hope.

Well, that’s my thought for the day. The World Travaillers community is so special, and I’m so grateful for all my lovely followers and readers, so I wanted to celebrate number 100 by sharing something a little more personal as a small THANK YOU!!

This is an issue I’m still working on and I’m sure others are too; so, if you have any tips or advice, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

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