I’ve been thinking a lot about last night.
“The prompt is disability,” bestselling author Allie Burke said from the front of the room at Diversability Interactive’s first 557 Block writing meetup, where aspiring writers have the chance to write and get feedback from Allie. I was there virtually from my apartment in New York.
For some reason, I think I was expecting more. A sentence, a story, something that would give me some inspiration. But I was stumped, or should I say “blocked?” I wrote a few things that came to mind and then got distracted by social media until it was time to share.
Stigma Fighters CEO Sarah Fader shared. “I don’t want to be disabled but I am,” she began. It was real. It was raw. It resonated with me.
Despite my reluctance, I shared the handful of stream-of-consciousness sentences I had written:I have been thinking a lot about disability these days, partly it is because of the work that I do with Diversability but this is what I chose for myself. Why did I decide to bring disability to the forefront? Why did I choose to create this association? As someone who is a proponent of inclusion, I feel like I have done the opposite. Am I a hypocrite? I think I could just have easily not decided to do anything seven years ago. How will this impact my life in the future?
Allie was encouraging. “Some of that could potentially turn into something,” she said.
I immediately discounted it. “I feel uncomfortable putting something out there that I know will exist on the Internet forever.”
And that was that.
Why do I do that? Why do I discount myself like that?
I think about the events that transpired last night and I feel like I had some choices. I know I want to write more, but I chose to stump myself. I spend A LOT of time thinking about disability so the topic should have been straightforward. I chose to distract myself.
And it’s not just with writing. I feel like this thinking has spilled over into other areas of my life.
Sometimes, I feel like a hypocrite. I’m the founder of Diversability, a community of people of all abilities doing amazing things and I am their biggest fan. But for some reason, the one person I am not a fan of is myself. As much as I love empowering others, I desperately need a dose of my own medicine.
As much as I strive for social inclusion for people of all abilities, I’ve created a community where our focus is oftentimes on disability. People without disabilities are always invited but they can sometimes self-select themselves out thinking Diversability is ONLY for people with disabilities. Sounds like it defeats the purpose, right? I chose to create this community.
But then I take a step back and look at what I’ve created. I wrote this piece. That’s a start. Diversability is adding value to someone, somewhere. That counts for something.
I know, I need to stop being so hard on myself.
I know that my story matters. I know that my thoughts and opinions are valid. I know I am enough.
Hey, I’m human. Sometimes I forget and last night was a good reminder of that.
This was originally published on Medium.
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Founder of Diversability. Former Goldman Sachs investment banker turned techie. Featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fortune Magazine, and more. Graduate of Georgetown University. Based in New York City.