How do I feel about the word disabled?

Hi everyone! πŸ™‚

Today I’m going to be talking about identifying as disabled and how I feel about the word itself, the meaning of the word disabled and also what it implies.

I have noticed throughout my life that many people are unhappy to use the world disabled –  admittedly, I was once unhappy to describe myself as disabled, too.

I’d like to say that these opinions are 100% my own, and that I am NOT asking that anybody feels the same way as me!
Whether you are happy to use the word disabled or not, the choice is totally up to you and nobody can take that right away from you. πŸ™‚

What Is PFFD?
Proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), also known as Congenital Femoral Deficiency (CFD), is a rare, non-hereditary birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the proximal femur.
The disorder may affect one side or both, with the hip being deformed and the leg shortened.

Because of this condition, I personally have had to wear a prosthetic leg from birth, and undergone operations to fix the deformed leg including having the foot amputated.

I was inspired to write this blog post because of the lovely lady @whentaniatalks and discovering her article on the same issue.. I felt inspired by her wonderful and educational post so of course, I wanted to give my own approach to this subject, too!
Click HERE for Tania’s post!

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Picture showing my prosthetic right leg (it’s considerably thinner)
The definition of: DISABLED
(of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities.

Growing up I completely despised the word disabled.

Being young, I truly felt like it was a derogatory term because I saw it as the ‘abled’ being taken away?
I just thought it meant something extremely negative and unkind.. and every time my family or doctors/healthcare professionals would refer to me as disabled I’d absolutely hate it.

I remember plenty of times that my family would be, say, booking something up and I’d overhear them say something along the lines of “And one disabled space please” and I very clearly remember that I would angrily tell them not to do this because I hated being considered disabled or people knowing that I had a disability.. I was totally ashamed.

I believe that my previous negative feelings about the word disabled all stemmed from my low self esteem and the fact that I had never accepted my disability at all.

I felt so desperate to be normal; I would try my best in every aspect of my life to hide my prosthetic leg and any sort of pain or discomfort that I would be in because of it.

When I was a young child in all honesty I didn’t even feel disabled!

In my young mind I could walk (though not too well) play, and do everything else all the other children would do so I didn’t see why I’d have to be called disabled – again, I felt like it was saying I wasn’t able.. which I felt I most definitely was!

My friends and family would always encourage me to make myself more comfortable by sitting in disabled areas on buses or coaches, and to bring along my wheelchair when we planned to walk along distance just in case it was too much for me however I very rarely accepted their offers because of how I felt about the word.

Now that I’m older I do look back and think that I was being extremely silly!
The amount of times that I was being stubborn by refusing to sit in a disabled seat even though inside I was craving to sit there due to pain was unreal!

As I’ve said previously, I believe that I felt so negatively towards the word disabled because I had not accepted my disability.

Now that I have accepted my disability – and am even wholeheartedly proud to be different, I feel the complete opposite to how I used to about the word disabled.

Once I had learned the official definition (at the top of this article) It describes me to a T.. wearing a prosthetic does affect my movements and activities.

So.. I am officially disabled.

And you know what? I’m totally fine about it!
It’s true that I’m not as able as others – I find many things difficult because of the way I was born and that’s OK. That’s just who I am!

I see little children with disabilities and I think to myself; would I ever want those children to be ashamed to identify as disabled?

I would never want any child to feel the way that I used to about the word disabled!
I’d love to teach them that it’s OK to be disabled – we can still be able in our own unique ways.. and most importantly, we are still an equal member of society no matter what labels we do or don’t identify with.

Of course I understand too that many people still dislike to use the word disabled or to identify as disabled – and that is their choice πŸ™‚
I do however believe that far too many people see the word as a negative – when we can in fact make it a positive.

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Twitter poll
Above is a twitter poll that I created to get an opinion on this subject!
As you can see, I received 514 votes total and 67% of those did not feel uncomfortable with the word disabled.
19% said they were and 14% felt unsure.

I did not specify that you had to be disabled to take part in the poll so a few followers did suggest I take this into consideration when looking at the final result.

However confident I feel about referring to myself as disabled right now, I still would like to learn more about the 19% that are uncomfortable with the word – what words do you prefer?
I’d love to hear your responses! πŸ™‚

Feel free to reach me through my social media at the top right of this page!

I’m happy to say that I am proud to be part of the disabled community! πŸ™‚ ❀

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “How do I feel about the word disabled?

  1. Such a fantastic post Amy! I feel honoured to have inspired it. I feel like a lot of people’s discomfort with the word ‘disabled’ is that it has been used in a derogatory way in the past. Not only in terms of the use of the word itself, but also in the way disabled people were treated. I’m saying this like it’s in the past. I know it’s not, but things are slowly (very slowly) improving. And people like us have a great chance to show the world that there’s nothing wrong with being different and that ‘disabled’ isn’t a dirty word. I personally feel slightly insulted by terms like ‘handicapped’ or ‘handicapable’ as they seem to be to b created by non-disabled people to appear more PC. But in trying to appear more PC, they actually imply that there’s something wrong with the word ‘disabled’.

    I’m so proud of how far you’ve come on your journey of acceptance and self love. You’re a very talented and special (in the right sense of the word) young lady.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Tania for your lovely comment πŸ™‚ I totally agree with you! I hate the word handicapped it feels so forced and fake.
      And yes – it does imply that disabled is a bad word! When in my opinion, it’s not πŸ™‚
      Again thank you so much! I’m so thankful I have met you on this journey πŸ™‚

      Like

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