labels vs. truths….

“labels vs. truths” illustration by Rosie Jon

i have a woe to share on my blog post today….

maybe there’s a risk in me sharing this here and allowing myself to be so vulnerable, but i think it’s important that i share this because i do not want to be misunderstood, nor my story or painting ministry be misconstrued.

i know i have a physical disability, i know i’m not ordinary, but I am troubled by some of the labelling that people seem to be applying to me. i do not let labels define me, but there are times when it does get a bit tiring — i am human too you know.

Yes, i am a human being, uniquely made just as you are a unique form of the human body, mind and soul. never have i thought of myself as someone with any less abilities or deserving of anything less because of my disability. instead, i am someone who is just as human as you are, just doing things a little differently, with a warrior spirit and an identity that is embedded in what Christ says who i am — fearfully and wonderfully made”.

so, here’s my woe….

am i an artist? or a disabled artist with no arms? what significance does that labelling have on me – is it pity? or the assumption that a person with a disability cannot possibly just be called an “artist”? – the truth is, i am God’s paintbrush, I am an artist!

am i a friend? or a disabled friend who is lucky to have an accepting community —a community that takes pride in accepting someone like me when others may not— not because i could actually be a friendly human capable of making friends or be worthy enough to be part of a community regardless of my disability? – the truth is, i am a good friend and an invaluable member of my community!

thanks to the disabled community becoming more outspoken about what ableism is, I am finally able to find the validation of the emotions that are triggered when i personally experience an incidence of ableism.

(there are plenty of resources available to learn about ableism online, and there is absolutely no judgment here, but i want to offer you an opportunity to be curious and try to understand what ableism looks like)

maybe there is an element of pride on my part too. maybe i have pride in not seeing myself as tragically flawed, but instead, i have celebrated the fact that i am a beautiful human soul who is extraordinary rather than ordinary because of my God-given story, purpose, gifts and talents.

seriously, all credit goes to the One who is the author of my story.

so i invite you to join me in my celebration….

i am blessed.

i am thankful.

i am free.

free from the world’s labels.

free to dream and believe in those dreams.

and it’s not luck that got me where i am today,

but the power of my parent’s prayers

and the miracles of choosing faith.

keep praying.

it’s the key to God’s heart.

and the gateway to your God-given destiny.

that’s the truth i hold onto and nothing else!

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