Friday, August 12, 2011

An Inspiration called Susan

There is tremendous strength behind that smile..  Read the story of Susan if you need some inspiration to pick yourself up today.

It's an interesting topic, to talk about myself as a disabled woman. On a day to day basis I don't think of myself as ‘different as the norm', mostly because I was born this way and know no different.

Obviously when an activity is challenging I am reminded that I am indeed different, or when I see myself in a mirror or photographs. But mostly when I see the look(s) of disgust, horror, curiosity, sympathy or apathy in people's eyes when I encounter them, I am reminded.

Reading your blog about your fellow countryman's reaction to Farheena touched a personal nerve with me.
When I moved to Ottawa the first time; I was young, 23 years old, I had previously lived in a small town (all Caucasian) and a small city (mostly Caucasian), but Ottawa is a melting pot of races.
One Canada Day (our birthday) I was downtown among 200,000 people and a woman came up to me, she was in her 50's, wearing a sari, and she looked directly at me, spit on the ground and said, "You should not have been allowed to live. In MY country you would have been tossed into the garbage at birth."

I was so stunned. Here I was, in my own city, my own country, and was just humiliated beyond belief.

I never forgot that incident.

It started a feeling inside me that I DID belong; I WAS a part of my country, my family, and the world.
I took it personally.

I once asked my mum, "Why me?" Her reply was, "Why not you? You are on this planet for a reason. You might not find out what it is for a long time, but you will."

I have friends who honestly never think of me being different. They have casually asked me to 'reach this' or 'do that', and when I give them 'the look' and grin, they gasp and stutter all apologetically, and then I laugh and give them the gears.

I am a human first off, a woman who is gay and who also just happens to have a disability.
Being Thalidomide isn't who I am; it's only a part of me.

As I age, I am more aware of my shortcomings on the physical side, but I just shift my attitude to open myself up to allow people in more and to help me. I was brought up very independent and have resisted letting that go.

Also as I get older I am taking more control of how I react to people's misguided judgments. Years ago I often fled in embarrassment, ashamed and sick of how they saw me and spoke to me. Now I educate them as to WHY I am the way I am.

If they receive it properly they can move forward and treat other 'different' people better than they treated me.

Maybe that's why I am on this for thought..... 

I had to stand up to give her a big hand. 
Her weighing problem and how she tackled the stubborn extra pounds efficiently. 


  1. I'm so proud of every person that stands up like Susan do :)

  2. Susan's story is really inspiring...there is so much to learn...i am proud that i follow your blog...

  3. Inspiring, this is the way to live life...

  4. woowww I am speechless... such inspiring and strong people walk among us. thank you so much for sharing this story.

  5. She is an amazing girl and i had the honour of going to school with her.

  6. Thank you farida jee for sharing this... Truly inspiring...

  7. Susan,

    You are such an amazing person. I knew what you shared with us, ladybirds, but I didn't get the whole story.
    I admired you and how you cared for your mother, and this just adds to my admiration.


    You know how I admire you. Thank you for giving me the chance to know Susan better, and to add her to the list of amazing women I know.

    Hugs to you two,


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