Inspiration Porn

You Said What?

What does it mean to be an inspiration? As a disabled person that question can be a little complicated. There is a fine line between true inspiration and inspiration porn. If you’re not surrounded by the disability community than you might be a little confused. You ever see those motivational posters with a disabled person doing normal tasks like swimming or running and it says “no excuse” or something like that? That is inspiration porn. It elevates mundane things disabled people do in order for able bodied people to feel better. I recommend reading this well written article for a better idea of what it is. I guess disabled people aren’t expected to do much. In a lot of ways it diminishes and devalues our accomplishes. The funny thing is I can tell if someone really knows me based on how they are inspired by me.

Child with prosthetic legs running with a excited positive smile with a text saying “the only disability is a bad attitude “

True Inspiration

Inspiring someone just for having a job or being outside is a low bar. My closest friends take inspiration from me for the right reasons. It took about a million people to tell me before I believed it. I have a likable personality and part of that is no matter what I go through I would do anything for good people. Wanting to help others succeed has a habit of being contagious. Shouldn’t we be supportive without envy? We are all on a separate path. You never know what part you’ll play on someone’s journey, or yours. In the end you may not remember every kind act but it may be with that person forever. That is my type of inspiration.

The Low Bar

Getting out of bed is not inspiring and neither is “overcoming” my disability. I’m not some extraordinary person because I’m disabled. If that inspires you then ask yourself why. Many truly terrible people also get out of bed yet hate everything including themselves. Pretty low bar. Kindness grows and pity dies. At the end of the day ask yourself, if the disability wasn’t there would you still be inspired?

Knowing is Understanding

Part of why people subscribe to inspiration porn is because they don’t understand disability pride. They cannot imagine being something other than normal. People sometime tell me to my face “I couldn’t do what you do” or “I would probably kill myself”. I laugh because they don’t understand the pride the disabled have within themselves and their community. Empathy not sympathy is what is helpful. Find a disability pride event and listen. Visit an independent living center and ask what you can do to help, volunteer, maybe even donate. We don’t want nor need pity but respect, understanding, and most important we need opportunities. 

Think

If you believe someone will succeed they have a better chance. If you feel sorry and pity towards someone then you can’t help nor learn. 

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