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  • Alex Steward

Accepting I'm Different.

I wasn’t sure what to write about this week. I’m always a bit nervous to write about my disability, in fear of boring people, but they’re actually my most read posts. So, I decided to write a bit more about growing up with a disability and being different.

I’m different in a lot of ways; I’m very small, I’m a hearing aid and wheelchair user, oh and I have that tube in my neck that I breathe through. Have I mentioned that before?

Anyway, out of all the operations, doctor’s trips, and days in bed, the thing I’ve always found hardest is accepting that I’m different and I am always going to be different.

When I was younger, I would think about this dream future, where my disability doesn’t exist, I’m perfectly healthy. Never mind being able to breathe properly, I can sing like Beyonce and marry a footballer in this dream future. I’m sure everyone has dream futures like this, but some of the details in mine are so simple.

I’d meet a person, get married and have a family - these are all things I’d do if life was perfect, but in reality I have no idea what will happen. I know what you’re going to say, no one can predict the future, but that’s not really my point.

I am different and I miss out because of it. Going through school I’d miss out, I couldn’t participate in PE, I couldn’t go to swimming lessons, so instead I had to do extra maths (I mean, what was that about?!)

The older I got the harder it became, from shopping trips to house parties, I couldn’t do any of it without a carer. I’m incredibly lucky that I do get to do these things thanks to my extremely supportive parents, who will take me out. Additionally, I have a great set of friends who will happily just come to my house for a chill night, as they know that’s easiest for me.

I am grateful for everyone in my life who does anything they can to make it as normal as possible, they’re all amazing. But I am human and I did get upset about missing out on things. I’d say it isn’t fair, because it isn’t, I’d say I want to be normal, because I do.

Growing up it slowly got easier, but I’m not going to lie to you, I still think about that dream future where I’m not disabled. The future scares me, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Will I ever be independent, who knows? As I said, no one can predict the future.

However, the older I got, the more I noticed everyone is different in their own way. Everyone has parts of their lives I’m sure they’d love to change, everyone has something about themselves they’d love to change.

For me, going to University was one of the best things I ever did. I found myself in such a mixed group of friends, we all had different sh*t going on in our lives, but we helped each other through our studies and worked together.

I find myself with a supportive family, a great group of friends and more recently a football family who are always around when I need them.

I’m not going to give anyone false hope by saying it gets easier to accept you’re different, because for me it hasn’t, it’s just easier to distract myself from that.

I’m always going to think about the “what if’s” - there’s so many basic ones, how could I not consider them?

But do I get physically upset like I used to, barely. Do I want to be me? Yes, I do - I want to be the girl with a disability who made it through mainstream school, graduated from law school and is now attempting to run a successful blog. She may have a f*cked up airway, but she’s not doing bad.

Finding a way into the world of work from here would be the dream scenario.

I am different, I understand that and I’m living with it, but I’m not sure I will ever fully accept it. So, I guess the title of this blog post was all a lie, sorry.

Thanks for reading!

Speak soon, Alex.

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