This is What Disability Looks Like


[Image description: A nonbinary person sits outside on a white wire chair. Zey are wearing a yellow dress over a black long sleeve top and black leggings. Zey are also wearing a black beanie, and a looping infinity sign necklace. Zey are smiling and looking at the camera. Leaning against zeir chair is a brown walking stick. Behind zem is a large green spiky plant, astroturf, a brick path, and a brick wall.]

I’ve been told many times that I’m too young to be in so much pain. That I’m too young to use mobility aids. That I’m too young to be disabled. But disability doesn’t care how old you are. It doesn’t care how determined you are, how pretty you are, how much potential you have.

Disability has many faces and many ages. It exists in all races and genders. It can affect every aspect of someone’s life, or it can be only in particular areas, or even present at times and absent others. It can be physical, psychological, intellectual, social, sensory. It can be something you’re born with, something that develops, or caused by an injury. Disability doesn’t have one look, and there is no universal experience.

I was born with most of my disabilities. No one knew it at the time, but they were there. Gradually symptoms emerged or revealed themselves until I was disabled by them. Those symptoms have evolved, progressed, and changed. Somethings got better, others got worse. But I don’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t disabled. I wasn’t too young when I was 10, and I’m not too young now.

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