“I guess in a way we create our own love stories.”
What is love to you?
Love to me is a feeling that has no limits, no distance and no sense of time. It is everything and it is timeless. It’s a four letter that should not be taken lightly or for granted.
What’s a moment you felt love either given or received?
It is very difficult to pick just one moment because there are so many. The most monumental one would be the time that my mom and my aunt threw me a surprise birthday party, when I turned 18.
I remember this day very vividly because I just had my third left hip surgery about a month prior—I have chronic hip dysplasia—and I was just cleared to go home from rehab therapy on the weekend. I thought I was just going to a birthday dinner with my aunt before she took me home, so we left the rehabilitation facility, and were driving to our dinner destination and then we made a pit-stop along the way. My aunt said she had to drop by a friends’ place, quickly but then she said, “You have to come with me” So I did. We went in the building and stood outside the party room and I thought nothing of it, but then the doors opened and all of my friends and family yelled, “Surprise!”
My favourite song Rise Up by Audra Day was playing in the background and pictures were taken—the whole nine yards. I’ve never felt so much love in my life!
Growing up, how did you perceive love and what influenced you? And since then how has your view changed?
Growing up, I always thought love had to be like a fairytale between you and your favourite person, where everything is perfect all the time! I was definitely influenced the most by Disney because I have always been a sucker for those love stories. But, since then, my view has changed a lot because I now know how unrealistic those love stories truly are. Today’s love is messy, honest and raw, filled with emotions that we cannot even comprehend.
Humans may argue and/or make mistakes with the people they love but at the end of the day, if the love is true, it will come out beautiful and always be worth fighting for. I guess in a way we create our own love stories.
What is it like dating with a disability? What are your experiences?
I have found dating with a disability to be very, very difficult. I am a 20-year-old, black, spastic cerebral palsy-infused babe who just happens to be both a daily power wheelchair user and a queer individual—I mostly prefer they as my pronoun, but sometimes use she.
To say the least, because of who I am the “dating game” has never been an easy one for me to play.
People have many preconceived notions and misconceptions about who I am as a person, especially when it comes to my disability. I need more help physically and that scares a lot of people off. I’ve tried meeting people in person and I’ve tried dating apps, but nothing seems to get better. I’ve been lied to, led on, and taken advantage of. I have never gotten far enough into a relationship to show people who I really am and it’s truly sad. I have never felt good enough and I have always thought that I am going to die a virgin.
Believe me, you are lucky if you find someone who loves you, despite your differences.
Is there something, as someone with a disability, that you’d want to tell people as a way to end the stigma around dating with a disability?
I’d personally want to tell society that we—people with disabilities—are people too. We deserve love, we have feelings, we desire the same parts of human nature as everyone else. We may look or sound different but, we are not invisible and we want to be both seen and heard in every aspect of our lives, especially in our relationships! Finally, do not be afraid to ask us questions if you are unsure about something regarding relationships or even our lives in general. We appreciate that more than your assumptions because we are not all the same and our differences make us truly beautiful.
Love is…? Fill in the blank with one word or two and explain why?
Love is acceptance—beyond everything else. Love is acceptance beyond sex, race gender, sexuality, disability and ability, and status. Love truly conquers all, so love whoever and whatever makes you the best version of yourself! That’s when you will know what it means to be truly free.