My Name is Meriah
I’m a third culture kid (American-born, raised outside the United States). I’m deaf. I went through the windshield of a car when I was 4. I have TBI and PTSD and I’m bi-polar. I’m a trekkie who lives off the grid on the Lost Coast of California and I have way too many chickens and never enough cats.
My only daughter has Down syndrome and my older son is gifted 2E. The youngest was named after Mack from Yertle the Turtle.
Why I Talk About Disability On My Blog
I was raised oral (without ASL), and isolated from anything disability-related. After I received my Master’s degree in International Management with a focus in Human Resource Development and Training (now try saying that really fast!), I worked in corporate Tokyo before heading back to my birth-land of California and ran smack into problems related to getting a job.
I couldn’t hear. I couldn’t work my way through interviews. I knew precious little about getting a job in the United States. I ended up being an expert in getting a job, especially for people with disabilities. I was hired by UC Berkeley to head up a new program funded by the California Department of Rehabilitation, focusing on career counseling and students and alumni with disabilities. I leaned into the disability community at Berkeley and grew from understanding my own internalized ableism, access, universal access, and the culture, power and history of the disability community.
The career development/employment program that I was running at UC Berkeley was a lot of fun (except for the paperwork), and I did that with gusto until I had my daughter.
I’ve continued to work as a private career counselor since then, happily serving hundreds of people with disabilities in their job and internship search and resume development efforts.
I’ve also been writing this blog, telling stories about my family and our weird life.
All of the pieces and stories that I tell or encourage others to write on this space are for the intention of helping others to connect with each other a little more. To realize that we are not alone, not ever. I want everyone with a disability out there to know that disability isn’t a lodestone that we are somehow overcoming; it’s our GIFT to the world, and figuring it out is a big piece of it. I want people without disabilities to recognize disability as a component of diversity, NOT as a ‘special need’ and certainly not something to be pitied (or revered).
I want to help broaden our understanding of what it means to be human, what living with and without disabilities means in this here and now.
I want us to get over our fear of things unknown and to live with a little moxie.
I’ve got to warn you: I’m not very reverent. It’s not easy for me to be tactful or sensitive. I cuss a lot, only not in front of my mom. I often say the wrong thing, but I am honest. You can count on that (and that’s not because I’m a great person; it’s because I’ve learned that my memory is bad enough that I’ll always get caught in a lie, so it’s stupid to try).
I am qualified to be writing about a lot of stuff here, but I’m not representing an organization and you can’t take anyone’s word as God’s, so do your homework.
My qualifications do include the fact that I know employment from the HR perspective, and from the career counseling perspective. I have written thousands of resumes (not all my own!), cover letters and prospecting letters. I am an expert researcher for the job search piece.
Thanks for being here. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.