Everyone has courage, whether they have a disability or not.
For those with disabilities, however, it can sometimes take more courage to do things that would be simpler for those without a disability.
For instance, interviewing is extremely difficult for me to do. I know that most of my classmates don’t look forward to going up to and interviewing complete strangers either, but for me there is an added challenge. I’m not minimizing the unpleasantness of interviewing strangers for anyone, but I’m saying that I dread it for different reasons than my classmates.
Having Moebius, it affects my speech and makes me hard to understand sometimes. I also have a tendency to talk fast and ramble, especially when I am nervous. This makes it even harder for me to walk up to complete strangers and ask them questions. It’s a inner battle that I have yet to win. I don’t know that I ever completely will.
I’m a journalism major at technical college, so obviously interviewing is a huge part of the program. I probably should have considered this before I applied but I didn’t. My first year of journalism included some interviewing but not extensive and I could usually BS my way through it and interview friends and such.
This year, though, is heavy on interviewing. We have to do it for mostly every class, as we are required to have direct quotes for our stories and email interviews won’t cut it, nor will interviews with my friends.
This makes my life very stressful. My teachers don’t fully understand what a challenge it is, although I know that they really do try. They’ve been nothing short of amazing. I can’t say enough about how amazing and supportive my teachers are. They’re always there to talk to, or for support when I let the stress get the best of me. They’re the freaking best. I honestly do not see myself having come as far as I have without their awesomeness and support.
It is very difficult for me to do though, and I can’t diminish that fact. Not only do I worry that the interviewee won’t understand me but I also worry about what they are thinking about me. Do they think that I have mental incapacities as well? I think sometimes that is the case, and as much as I shouldn’t care about what others think, I do.
Today, I had my first big interview of the year. I interviewed an artistic director of a dance company that is “mixed ability” which means that both people with disabilities and without disabilities dance there. It is really an amazing thing, and I am going to go to a class next week and take pictures and such for the feature story that I am writing on the company. I was absolutely dreading this interview, I was so nervous. I met with one of my teachers before I left for the interview and I think some of what he said resonated with me and helped me get through it. He said that basically, it will take courage to go out and interview. He knew that I had that courage. He also said that there was no way that I couldn’t be a strong person, after everything that I have gone through in life. He told me that he knew I could do the interview, and get through this program but not without a bit of work.
I decided the other day that I’m going to do the best that I can with what I have. I am going to get through this program with flying colours and the best marks possible. Will it be a challenge? It absolutely will. The thing is, I have the most supportive teachers ever and the best classmates so I really believe that I can do it.
So, in conclusion, to all of you with Moebius or ANY disability please know that you can absolutely do anything that you set your mind to and you can achieve your dreams. I am not trying to be preachy here, but you really can. You really can do anything and please let me be the example. This program has thrown me out of my comfort zone many times but I feel that I have overcome a lot and made it through, so far. And I intend to finish out the program doing the best that I possibly can. You may have to do things differently than others, but as I am discovering, that is okay. I typed out the questions that I was going to ask at the interview today and gave the person that I was interviewing a copy, so that he could read them. Honestly, it worked great and even though I don’t love having to do this, I will from now on because it works. It will get me through interviews with ease.
Be okay with that! Be okay with who you are. Really and truly, that is the biggest advice that I have, to be okay with who you are. Love who you are. It will take you so far in life.