Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
After neglecting my blog since February, it’s time to start writing again. The past couple weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I’m so frustrated, between applying for jobs and getting rejected, not knowing my purpose/direction in life, the typical stuff most young adults struggle with. And then add my disabilities on top of that and how they tend to hold me back. I feel stuck.
But I’ve also had some incredible speaking opportunities lately that make me stop and realize how blessed I am. As self-centered as it might sound, sharing my story and inspiring others, not only encourages those who are listening but it gives me confidence in myself and hope that I’m doing something right. Sharing my story and my faith is my responsibility.
Recently, I spoke to a group of adults with developmental disabilities. I’m used to speaking at retreats and other events so this was a little outside of my box. It turned out to be great though and was really fun getting to know everyone.
On the way home afterwards, I had this feeling of being torn and it’s something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Seeing those with developmental disabilities makes me thankful that my disabilities are only physical and proud of what I have been able to accomplish despite my disabilities. And as terrible and egotistical as this sounds, compared to most people with disabilities, I feel as though I’m an anomaly at times. I have always refused to let my disabilities define me.
When it was time to choose a high school, I was set on going private. Going from a Catholic grade school to a Catholic high school was important to me but also by going to a private school, I did not have to deal with state regulations or being in specialized classes because of my disabilities. There is nothing wrong with asking for help because of your disabilities and I have nothing against public schools. I personally just wanted something else, I wanted people to see that there’s more to me than being disabled. But because of decisions such as this and constantly challenging myself, I often feel like I have one foot in the disabled world and the other in the able bodied world. I choose not to live my life according to my disabilities but they are a big part of who I am and even though I’m not severely disabled, unfortunately my disabilities are the first thing most people notice.Which annoys me because I have worked hard to get where I am today and can’t stand be judged or underestimated. And I know for a fact, most of my frustrations lately have stemmed from this feeling.
So after rambling on about my problems and trying to figure out how to make this post positive, I was inspired. Having one foot in the disabled world has made life more challenging, having to fight for what truly matters, and forces me to think on my toes. My disabilities also keep me real and humble. The foot in the able bodied world has allowed me to help those I never expected to impact or inspire. Normal, everyday people who are just trying to get by like you and me. As someone once told me “ A 100% gorgeous, healthy Beth Puleo might not want or have the time to inspire & probably would not be invited to speak or even inspire people because you would be so perfect & everyone would think, yeah but what does she know.”
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”