Happy Disability Pride Month 2022 from Samantha Craft

Happy Disability Pride Month from George Bailey and Me.

I am part of the diverse disability community. Beyond being a #neurodivergent, I have been physically disabled for over two decades.

George Baily, a Party DoubleDoodle, and Samantha Craft
(Tan and white puppy with his pal, a white-haired woman with glasses and a blue necklace, seated on a brown couch facing forward with plants, stool, and a bay window with trees in the background.)

Disability Pride Month holds a unique meaning depending on the individual. For me, it is about holding space for others’ dignity and truly reflecting on what disability “acceptance” means.

It’s an intentional examination of my thoughts, words, and actions. It’s trying my best to treat myself and others with grace. It’s practicing compassion for the human condition. It’s observing with an open mind and heart the unique and abundant humanness that surrounds us, in all its shapes and forms and presentations.

Acceptance does not mean liking, appreciating, or condoning. It isn’t the cousin of OK or avenger of rejection. Acceptance is recognizing something exists, sitting with one’s thoughts, and inviting in the corresponding rippling effect of humility. It’s validating another’s story, even if you don’t agree or like the story. The story is their story to own, not ours.

Acceptance is recognizing me. Acceptance is recognizing you. In all our challenges and our frustrations, in our disagreements, and sometimes hurtful ways, in our fullness and completion.

Accepting is not pretending something doesn’t exist, nor pretending the consequences of society and reality aren’t occurring. It’s recognizing how societal constructs interplay with how I am perceived, and how you perceive me. It’s knowing, as hard as I try, I will never truly perceive the world in the same way as you. And accepting I don’t need to. I only need to accept you and I are enough in this moment.

It’s about choice. It’s a choice to reflect on how our perception isn’t the one and only perception. It’s a deep dive into humility. It’s something to be proud of, in the sense of self-discovery and facing tough self-revelations.

Accepting #disability, and accepting #diversity in general, whether in part or completion, equates to a willingness to act accordingly based on our past and new understandings, despite feasible discomfort.

Moreover accepting disability equates to moving to a place of external seeking to seeking inwardly.

How can we “accept” disability?

●     Self-reflect upon new knowledge, new understandings, and differing viewpoints.
●     Explore how differences exist amongst specific individuals and groups.
●     Examine how specific differences and events sometimes lead to social inequalities, such as discrimination, prejudice, segregation, oppression, inequity, and ableism.
●     Contemplate one’s own explicit bias and others’ biases at a deeper level.
●     Act accordingly with self-awareness.

(Samantha Craft, 2022)


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