Ten Things About Me

Moving Forward Series


Meena Dhanjal Outlaw

Have you ever felt the need to tell someone what you’re really thinking? Especially in the way I am be spoken to.

I don’t have a confrontational personality.  If anything, I prefer to roll away and think about things that matter.

Then there is that one person you come across who has to say something about your disability. Most commonly, they tell me that I’m amazing, and such an inspiration.

In moments like this, I often wonder if comments like these are really appropriate and if I should be offended?  Mainly because I feel my disability shouldn’t define my capabilities.  Yet, truth be told, that’s really how most people think.

I don’t think I’m particularly special for going grocery shopping without requiring assistance.  I also don’t think I’m being inspirational when I take my kids to their extracurricular activities.

It makes me wish I didn’t have to always say thank you for something that I feel I’m supposed to do just like anybody else.

Many times I find myself wishing people just knew more about me without making me seem so ‘special’.  Believe me, I think I’m special too, but not in the same way another person would think.

If I had the opportunity to state a measure of expectancy in the way that people interact with me, I would tell them ten things they should know about me.  That way, the level of respect is equal.

  1. I’m a woman: beautiful, insecure sometimes and secure other times, sensual, and emotionally charged.
  2. I’m a mother: fully, actively, courageously, and protective.
  3. I’m a wife, in all senses of the word such as comforting, sexual, intimate, and loving with the desire to show my partner just how much.
  4. I work. I am organized, and love the career that I chose for myself.
  5. I am OCD. Oh yes! I love a clean house. In fact, I insist on it.  I don’t think a professional maid service can clean my house better than me, even though I do it from my wheelchair.
  6. My appearance matters to me. It’s my way of saying to everyone, “I don’t just seem put together, I actually am.”
  7. I can play sports, too. I just don’t choose to do so. I had two left feet before I became paralyzed and now I have two left hands. Instead, I prefer to make my main goal in life to be the best mother to my children I possibly can. And, a lot of times, being a mom on wheels feels like I am running a marathon at times.
  8. I don’t want to compete with you. This is a big one. Just because I’m doing well doesn’t mean you are better than me for trying to follow in my footsteps. Trust me, I am happy I have motivated you to do something for yourself.  So, when you downplay my accomplishments, it’s saying a lot about you, not me.
  9. If I’m going to donate you’ll never know I have done so. I want to help, but I’m happier if you never know that I was the one who gave. Therefore, I don’t think it’s my business to know who you have helped either. Bragging is unattractive.
  10. I can run my house, too. I do not have any desire to prove I can do something. Yet, there have been times when a person comes to my house and wonders how I can afford it, and how I can keep it looking good. This type of thinking has always struck me as blatant stereotyping.

I am saying aloud that no matter whom you may be or what you do I can do it, too.

So, maybe when you approach me for the first time you won’t have a pre-conceived notion about me.

Even more so, I AM just like you in many more ways than the impression my wheelchair may initially give to others.

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