I have never considered myself to be a disruptive person. The word makes me think of an unruly child in a classroom (I was always too scared to misbehave in school) or someone causing a scene in public (I try my best not to call more attention to myself).
One day a few years ago I was called disruptive.
I smiled and welcomed the adjective as one I wanted to add to my identity. Every so often, I think of the word and examine what I am doing to live up to it.
It has become clear to me that we people with disabilities are disruptive by just being. Simply navigating the world in our different and beautiful bodies, and our mobility devices, we are challenging physical barriers and societal attitudes. I get stares while doing everyday things, I get sighs when I request accommodations, I get told NO until I fight to get a YES.
The world was not made for us, but I know I belong in it. It seems every day my civil rights as a woman, person of color and person with a disability are being threatened. So, if my existence is disruptive, then I will make the disruption count and the exhaustion of educating the ignorant worth it.
I can decide to just be, or I can do more — by writing something, creating art, marching in a protest, visiting with my legislators or starting a conversation with a stranger. I can make the disruption count by sharing my story with others and listening to theirs. Pull up a chair. Sit. Tell me YOUR story.
Maybe one day I will not be seen as disruptive but as a person right where she is supposed to be.