The daily challenge of helping Chelsea to believe in her future is overwhelming, it requires total positivity often in the face of a world that sees only her “disability” and lack of potential. As a middle schooler she is the ultimate outsider whose daily life and struggles to fit in are both sadly ordinary and unbelievably extraordinary.
In the inspiring video below amputee athlete Aimee Mullins highlights the enormity of the challenge. At the beginning of the video she presents the standard dictionary definitions of the word disabled and explains the devastating impact these words, and the thoughts they evoke can have. When the world around you sees only “hurt, diseased, damaged, not whole, imperfect, or ailing ” it is not surprising that it is so hard for Chelsea to be positive about her own future and capability.
Chelsea is struggling currently to breakthrough her own negativity and she needs to feel accepted and valued by her peers She is desperate for a “normal friend”, not an adult or her mother, and for that friend to like her for what and who she is. Her poem Just Normal says it all.
And Yet… if we can motivate and encourage her to believe in her glorious potential anything is possible. If we can first breakthrough the negative perceptions in her own mind that she is “incapable” and “abnormal” and therefore of limited value or interest, and at the same time educate others, we can empower her true potential and future possibility.
That’s why I advocate for her, and push her everyday, even when she sobs and begs me to let her stay in bed and then cries and tells me she hates me and then refuses to speak to me. I continue to believe that medicine and technology will catch up with her needs to support her to realise her potential in life. That adversity does not bring only challenge it brings the gift of opportunity and will therefore be a springboard to her greatness not something that is holding her back.
What you can do for me is to share the video and help educate and open the minds of others. Help them to be more open to the person in the wheelchair and to see them as people and their disability and adversity not as an insurmountable negative challenge but as an opportunity and potential springboard to greatness for some really great people, like Chelsea – my amazing wonderful girl.