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365 days with disability

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The 365 Days with Disability – #365dayswithdisability project – has over 4,000 photos tagged to it now, and has received participation and interest all around the world.

As more people join in, I find myself thrilled that it’s taking off and absolutely fascinated by the photos and diversity of the disability community. We truly do cover every intersection: cross cultural, cross-gender (and even trans-gender!), moving through every religious, atheist and agnostic affiliation and through gay, straight and everything-in-between sexual identities.

I am proud of our diversity. 

I am also proud of our creativity, strength, resiliency, and the beauty of our forms and spirits.

I invite you to participate yourself by hash tagging photos that you post on Instagram to the project (#365dayswithdisability), following @365dayswithdisability on Instagram for the features, and of course, getting to know the community.

Features

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The 365 Days with Disability Project

People with disabilities are everywhere.

Non-visible or visible, we are all over the place, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley to prisons, the streets of Ohio, towers in New York City and the yurt-dwelling hills on the Lost Coast of California!

Disabilities that count: chronic illness, learning disabilities, reading disabilities, blindness, deafness, stature difference, facial difference, things that change the way your body or brain function like bi-polar disorder, autism or muscular dystrophy. Chromosomal differences, illnesses that lead to a change in your body (like polio), and you know what? That’s the tip of the iceberg!

Disability is normal.

Disability is normal, it’s a natural part of the human experience. Disability isn’t anything to be afraid of and disability benefits humanity because it pushes us to think outside the mainstream box.

The presence of disability creates opportunity to innovate, create, explore, discover. Disability is not the absence of ability but rather the duality of experience.

Disability is something that anyone can acquire at any time! It’s open to all, and sooner or later, everyone’s likely to join the club, so it’s a good idea to start getting to know what lives lived with disability look like!

And guess what….? (spoiler – sorry) they look a hell of a lot like lives lived without disability….

Here are the latest from the Instagram-based collaborative project, 365 Days with Disability – join on, allies are welcome – just hashtag your photos #365dayswithdisability and join the share.

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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

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