Lessons I learned from my four abled sisters

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This is my sisters and I when we got our picture professionally taken. I would tag the photographer so I can give credit but I can’t remember who took them.

There is something that you can learn from pretty much anybody whether they are disabled or abled! Not everyone will be able to give you the same type of advice because some people may have experienced certain things so they won’t be qualified to give some pieces of advice. An abled person may not be able to teach about ableism to the extent disabled person if they can teach you anything but there are still tons of things abled people can teach you that is not disability-related. Disability-related topics, in my opinion, are best taught by actual disabled people but we can still learn from abled people because not everything disabled people will have knowledge about and be able to teach well. I have four abled sisters and although I probably haven’t learned much about disability from them there are many other things that my sisters have taught me.

Not all abled people are horrible– Sometime last year someone read one of my posts and took it totally wrong and thought I was saying that all abled people are horrible and that you should never socialize with them. Some of my posts I can see could be misunderstood or taken wrong and I working hard to improve that but this was not one of these posts and I would never say that all abled people are horrible human beings. Some abled people say things that are incredibly ableist and no matter how many times you call them out on it they still will do what they want but not everyone has that same mindset. My sisters happen to be one of those people and if I were to call them out on something that they were doing or saying about my disability that bothered me they would likely make an effort to try to stop. My sisters aren’t perfect and sometimes they may use language like retarded that really irk me but so do most abled people. Abled people aren’t bothered by some terminology like a disabled is so when it slips often times they don’t even notice. Decent abled people do exist and some people do try to change their terminology but it is not as automatic for an abled person as it for a disabled person.  I understand that abled people can sometimes do things that are very ableist and upsetting towards disabled people but assuming everyone is a horrible person and doesn’t want to change is unfair and not how we educate others about disability.

Electric outlets won’t kill me-  I have always had high anxiety and until I started this blog that anxiety did not start to lessen. Since I had high anxiety plugging in an electric outlet was something I struggled with for many years because I thought a tiny spark would electrocute me. Whenever I would plug something in I turned off all my power and plugged whatever I need plugged in and then plugged it back in. Luckily I have a sister who has knowledge in this area and to help me get out of this fear she told me that it is impossible to get electrocuted by a tiny spark by an outlet. At first, I didn’t believe her and kept doing what I was doing but then my fear got out of hand and effected the way I performed in my first on the job training.  I knew I had to do something about it so I told myself that it is impossible which helped me start to get over this fear. I didn’t fully overcome this until I started a blog and was able to relive some anxiety but I started to after I learned that it is impossible. I get over fears by logic but think for a second that if you tell me everything is impossible you will help me overcome my fears because it simply won’t work. Inspiration doesn’t help me overcome them but neither does lying and although that may work for a little while I will eventually catch on and won’t trust anything you say after I do.

You can disagree and be civil-  Everyone has different opinions but nowadays people tend to forget that and lose friends over something stupid like what presidential candidate you’re voting for. It is possible to have a difference of opinion with someone without saying something hurtful and offending someone. My sisters and I agree on something but, some disability issues we may not come eye to eye on and that is perfectly okay. We are all different people with different opinions and we don’t have to think like everyone else to maintain a good relationship. To be honest I glad we all are different because can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone thought the same way? I don’t agree with everything my sisters say but some of the points they make get me thinking about things from a different perspective which helps me grow as a disabled person.

A piece of cake won’t kill you- When I was in high school I seriously restricted my calories and I did for so long that when I wanted to recover from it I had a very difficult time doing so because I was so afraid of carbs. I don’t know if my sisters realized this or just went with what I was telling them which was I was trying to lose weight. I was doing some incredibly unhealthy and something like one piece of cake one kill may seem so small but if you say that enough time to me and don’t pressure me to eat sweets it can really help me through something. I still struggle some and overthink food more than your average person but with the help of my sisters and some from my parents I have been able to change my mindset so I can make healthy decisions without crazy sacrifices.

Exercises don’t have to be changed daily- When I first started working out I was obsessed with getting in shape that I did more physical activity than my body could handle. I was physically and mentally exhausted from my workouts and it never rung a bell that maybe I was working out too much. One of my sisters noticed this and that I was changing my routines and pointed out to me that I don’t have to change my routine daily. At first, I thought she was crazy and kept doing everything the same ways but after a year went by and I was doing all this exercise and wasn’t getting results I decided to maybe give that some thought. I cut back on my exercise and what do you know? I got the results I was looking for because I decided to give my body a break. It is important that you change your routines every once and a while so your body doesn’t get used to what you’re doing but it is also important that you rest your body. Resting is just as important as the workout because you build muscle on your rest days, not during your workout and failing to take them is cause for a plateau and feeling stuck. Routines don’t need to be changed or modified daily but according to fitness experts only need to be changed every four to six weeks which I knew but ignored. I eventually came to that realization with the help of my sisters because they know me more than any Youtube video.

Learn about different career paths- When you are disabled getting a degree can be difficult because of your disability and for some, not an option. If it’s not an option sometimes you just have to look for a job and hope you get hired. When you are disabled and have no college degree it is possible to get hired without a degree but it is more difficult because you have to convince employers you are capable. Not all disabled people looking for a job without a college degree have difficulty getting employed but some of them do because people judge us based on our disability. I was never able to find a job because of my disability so I don’t have much knowledge in many career paths but luckily my do and have gone down different career paths so I can learn about different fields and what they do.

As a disabled woman, I have learned a lot from my sisters and I hope that they have learned some from me too.  Everyone goes down different paths and is knowledgeable in different areas and although I do a pretty good job about educating others about disability there are some career paths that I know nothing and could not educate you on but my sisters could since they are in certain fields.  All my sisters are abled and if you asked them what Spina Bifida was they would be able to tell you what is was without googling it(at least I hope they would) but what they wouldn’t be able to tell you is what it’s like to live with it and the daily frustrations people with Spina have. If you wanted to know that you would have to read blogs written by people with Spina Bifida or have the condition. Everyone can teach you something even if it’s not always the same type of thing or what you would have expected. What have you learned from your siblings? Bonus points: If you know me personally do you know what lessons I have learned from which sister?

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