Inspiration Porn

The only disability in life is a bad attitude

This morning I opened up my laptop to peruse my various social media addictions when I saw the little red 1 above the envelope of my Tumblr dashboard. Normally I get pretty excited when I get a Tumblr message because they’re few and far between, but this one I could’ve done without. It was one of the most ignorant messages I’ve ever gotten. It said this:

Do you want people to pity you? Why do always post so much about your illeness? I am not judging, but seriously, what do you get out of it?

After staring at it blankly for a good five minutes, I started composing a response:

No I don’t. Not at all. It’s just a huge, shitty change in my life compared to how things used to be. I used to be a competitive figure skater and now I get nauseous if I try to go jogging. You’d want to talk about that too. I would give anything to be normal again.

Autoimmune diseases are also really misunderstood in the fact that everyone is different due to their body and their own reactions to their white blood cells attacking everything in sight. It’s not fair to judge my illness based off of just me.

Also, I’m a writer and this is honestly the best source of material I have right now because something new happens with my body every day, whether it be progression or regression. Writing about it helps me keep track of how I’m doing. I know there will come a day that I won’t even feel up to writing more than a couple of sentences.

Other than that, I don’t know what you mean by what I “get out of it”. It’s my blog and I’ll write whatever the fuck I want. I tag everything I post about my disease for a reason. I even started a separate blog for this exact reason.

We are, as humans, told to express ourselves in an endless variety of ways. That is unless you’re chronically ill, terminally ill, mentally ill, or disabled. Then, while you vent your frustrations with your own body, grieve the life you had, and share some humor, you must be “looking for something” because of it.

We are all free to speak and write what we want about our experiences of being ill. This does not mean we are looking for pity, it means we are venting and opening up about something in a space where we CAN, where in the big bad world we aren’t taken seriously and told to shut up.

Oh, this is, of course, unless we are inspiration porn! Then we get loads of attention.

You know exactly what inspiration porn is. That story on the news about the little girl with brand spanking new prosthetic legs playing soccer with her new teammates, the veteran getting a new home after getting a Purple Heart, or the piglet with the little wheelchair made out of LEGOS because its back legs don’t work. They’re super important stories, but they’re aimed toward healthy people to catch their attention for a minute or so to remind them that things could always be worse. The lives of the healthy people are unaffected while the subjects of the inspiration porn are just beginning with their struggles.

The little girl is going to grow and need new legs as she gets older, the veteran probably has a pretty nasty case of PTSD, and the piglet will someday be… Well… *Clears throat*

But I refuse to be your inspiration porn. I don’t want to be treated like some sort of god for going through a day like everyone else. I have a job and go to school like everyone else. I’m not looking for pity. I’m not looking for an excuse. I’m not asking for handouts. I’m not going to run a damn marathon to inspire you to get out of bed in the morning.

I’m going to live my life as I see fit. I’m going to accomplish things at my own time and pace. Right now, what I’m doing consists of writing about what I feel is important in my life, which is chronicling my experience with my chronic illness. This is more important to the people going through the same struggles as me than someone who is perfectly healthy. I’m writing for them, not you. If you have a problem with that, you can unfollow, defriend, or whatever you do. No one is forcing you to stay in my life.

The moral of the story is that you should seriously think before you start spewing your ableist garbage. Don’t be that guy that people uncomfortable shift away from at parties because you think that handicapped parking spots should be used for target practice and people with low IQs shouldn’t be able to get married and have kids.

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