[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I really love Pauline Victoria.
I first met her when my friend Tony Candela and I were trying to start the Alliance of Professionals with Disabilities in Silicon Valley. We’d meet at Agilent or HP – some large company over there – and work through details with other professionals with disabilities. Pauline was our group’s secretary.
I got to know her a little better when I ran into her at the Oakland airport when she was about to move to the Big Island of Hawai’i, where I graduated from both high school and college. It was pretty serendipitous, and I ever-gradually learned more about her.
One thing that I learned about her is that of most all people, she shares the same philosophy regarding disability that I do. Only she is a million times more articulate than I am. I’ve been a big fan of her video series and her work in disability acceptance, and wanted to share some of her videos with you.
With her permission, here is the first Conversation with Pauline Victoria: What Happened.
note: captions have not been added, however, Pauline speaks so clearly that the YouTube auto captions only made 2 mistakes. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”turquoise” border_width=”6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This line of thinking – that our lives are perfect as they are for fulfilling whatever our missions are – isn’t that popular overall in the disability community. Or, for that matter, any community, really!
But as I wrote once on this blog, I feel that when you take the approach that disability is chosen – that somehow, in some way, I, for example, chose to be born into a situation that would cause me deafness, TBI, PTSD, bi-polar disorder, etc, because I knew it would give me the experience in life that I wanted, that it would help me develop qualities that I wanted, then it changes the tone of my trajectory.
Rather than “oh, woe is me” it becomes more, “what am I learning?“, “what am I getting out of this experience?”
As I look at my daughter who has Down syndrome, I only think that she chose this particular course; she wanted to experience her life from a unique vantage point. She wanted an experience here that was different.
The problem, of course (as I see it), is that we don’t remember what we wanted after we are born. We forget why we chose what we did, why we want to fulfill a certain type of mission or another. We get trained away from our heart’s calling by school and culture.
Following that training from school and culture, we fall into what both tend to tell us about groups of people that are different from us. And the disabled do tend to stand out more in a mainstream-based society, don’t we?
I challenge you reading this to think about that, if it’s different from what you have been believing about disability.
I challenge you to think about how different it all looks and feels when you consider that we all might have wanted an alternative experience, that there is something in living a life with a disability that we thought would be the perfect way for us to learn what we wanted in this life. If your child has a disability, I challenge you to see the power in your child, your child’s maverick spirit, wanting to experience life from a completely different (and often more difficult) vantage point.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-star”]
Pauline Victoria came into this world as a surprise to the doctors and her parents. Without any warning from routine medical tests and ultrasounds, Pauline’s birth was expected to be a joyous and anticipated occasion. That all changed when she was born unexpectedly without arms and legs.
She was encouraged to participate fully in life fortifying her belief that she can do whatever she put her mind to. With that “can do” attitude, she continued to succeed, professionally and personally. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications in 1997.
Professionally, she went on to work for various hi-tech companies in the Silicon Valley of California. She also worked for the city government where she established the Disability Program Navigator position which streamlined employment resources and opportunities for people with disabilities.
Personally, she married in 2002 and then gave birth to her son in 2006. Shortly after her son’s birth, Pauline relocated to Hawaii with her family where she focused her energies on raising her now eleven-year old son. Recently, she has begun to pursue her life’s purpose of inspiring hope through her speaking, writing and note producing and hosting a lifestyle web TV talk show targeted toward people with disabilities, called Chair Chats with Pauline Victoria.
Pauline offers her unique perspective through her experiences as a woman without arms and legs. Through her ability to rise up to her daily challenges, she inspires people to have a “no excuses” approach to life. She is excited to share her spirit to empower people to believe in their personal power and purpose on their road to victory.
You can connect with Pauline on her website, Pauline Victoria.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.