365 Days with Disability

365 days with disability - hash tagged #365dayswithdisability - the Instagram based photo project that is by and for the disability community

Guess how many times I’ve heard people say, “but you don’t look disabled!” to me? A lot of people won’t even really believe that I am, that I have bona-fide certifiable disabilities. They think that because I don’t use a wheelchair or a respirator, my disabilities are somehow less than, that they don’t count, that I’ve got it easier than other people do, so it’s an exaggeration to call myself “disabled.”

Guess how many times I’ve heard my friends who do use respirators and/or wheelchairs express frustration over having to explain yet again that their lives are awesome and they are honestly happy people who don’t live to inspire non-disabled people? That they have sex and do the dishes and struggle with their resume just like people who don’t use wheelchairs do.

Guess how many times I’ve read infuriating pity-drenched accounts of what a non-disabled person thinks a disabled person’s life is about?

The answer?

a whole lot! more than I can count

That’s why I started 365 Days with Disability

365 days with disability

This photo project is based on Instagram – when people post their photos on their own account feeds, they just need to add the #365dayswithdisability hashtag to their photo to participate.

Their photo will automatically join the stream of photos that are showing our lives across the disability spectrum – the deaf, blind, physically, mentally and intellectually disabled, as well as those with chronic health conditions (and whatever lieth between!).

The photos are as regular as a shoe, as exciting as a pill-filled hand. I post photos that I take from my walks, or of my kids sometimes. Selfies are great.

Through these photos, we share our stories, our lives. We share the breadth of our experiences and our lives that are lived with disability, in all of their mundane glory. We see through the sharing of other’s photos how alike we are, we build community, see that we are not alone in our love of MAC-red lipstick, ModCloth or fancy canes. We meet people when we search through the hashtag and see who else is a deaf mom, a disabled parent, a cool cat who lives in Australia.

We can empathize with friends who are waiting in the doctor’s office for hours, who take hilarious photos while bored. Or non-hilarious photos. It all counts and it’s all part of our story.

So, share! Spread the word, pass it on.

Allies are welcome in this project – that means that if you are a friend or family member of someone with a disability, you can join in by tagging the related photos #365dayswithdisability

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
5 Things You Should Know About Saying “Angel” with “Down syndrome” https://t.co/ZWIYFlLxAN https://t.co/elUKKrmVZ9 - 14 hours ago
Meriah
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