Sunday, December 20, 2015

Officially Accepting the Liebster Award

You guys, I was nominated for the Liebster Award!  Imagine my surprise when I got a comment on a blog post congratulating me on my "award" when I had no idea I'd been nominated for anything!  
I must thank Vilissa Thompson at Ramp Your Voice! for nominating me!  Vilissa uses her blog to comment on important issues around her dual identity as both a disabled woman and a woman of color.  She has fast become a close friend and someone I can trust to always tell me the truth, even if the truth is a hard pill to swallow.  I admire her heart and unique skill set, and I admire her no nonsense approach to speaking out on issues that need attention, for populations that are often ignored, reviled or pitied.  
I have to say I was beyond shocked to see that my blog was among the eleven she had chosen and I am really thankful for the nomination, support and I'm so happy to see other people finding my blog now, thanks to Vilissa.

What is the Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award is a distinction given to bloggers by bloggers to highlight new and upcoming blogs.  “Liebster” means “beloved” or “dearest” in German.  The award not only recognizes good work, but also gives the blogger encouragement to continue writing.

What Happens When You Accept the Liebster Award?
  • Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you 
  • Create a post on your blog, displaying the Liebster Award logo
  • Answer the 11 questions assigned by the blogger who nominated you
  • Provide rules/instructions for accepting the award
  • Nominate 11 new favorite bloggers for the Liebster Award
  • Come up with a list of 11 new questions for your nominees
  • Notify the nominees
  • Post your Liebster Award blog post link in the comments column of the related post of the blogger who nominated you

My Answers to Vilissa’s 11 Questions:
1)  What caused you to want to create a blog?
It was something that was on my mind for about a year before I actually did it.  What put it over the top was a totally great conversation I had with a friend and former coworker about a blog post she had shared written by the parent of a disabled child, detailing what she thought were great tips on teaching nondisabled kids to interact with disabled ones.  Some of the tips WERE really good, but some were damaging, and I wanted my friend to know that.  After our conversation, I started Tonia Says (July of 2014) and in April of this year, I created Tonia Says on Facebook which I post to more frequently and can be easier to follow.  Also much easier to interact with people there, which I love!
2)  When people think of your blog, what is the first word you hope comes to mind?  
I want to unite those of us with physical disabilities (those with CP, especially.)  But I also want to create a path between disabled adults and parents of disabled kids.  I want all of us to be able to feel free to exchange experiences and respect one another in the process.  I want parents of disabled kids to not hesitate to seek me out when they have a question that I could maybe help with, or just to let another person with CP know that you are not alone.

3)  Share a memorable moment you had this year.  
Actually seeing that bridge I was talking about being built.  Forging a friendship with a mom of disabled kids and meeting and really connecting with her daughter who has CP, too.
4)  What is a secret talent or gift you have?  
I have a really stellar memory for pointless information.  I can remember dates, times and other details about things people might not find important.  But if you want to know what time a younger relative in my family was born, or what line of dialogue someone says on Grey's Anatomy at a totally unexpected moment?  I've got you covered.  I can also make fish lips and roll my tongue.
5)  If you could say something to your 20 years old self, what would it be?  
You are going to be okay.  You aren't always going to feel like this.  It's going to get better.  I promise.  Just hang on.
6)  What is the best thing about being a disabled blogger?  
The community I found of other disabled bloggers, definitely.  I've met some friends I feel I'll have for life via our shared experiences with disability, our heart for change, etc.
7)  Name one of your goals for 2016.
To keep exercising and to stay healthy.
8)  What was your favorite toy or book as a child?  
I ordered Koko's Story from a book order in second grade and I was transfixed by the knowledge that Koko could learn ASL and communicate so many thoughts.  (For those wondering, Koko is still alive, and turned 44 years old this year.)
9)  Name the book that you must read next year, and why?
Any we decide to read in the little book club that my sis and I and a friend started.  We will likely focus on books with disabled characters and discuss them amongst ourselves.
10)  Why does your voice matter in the disability advocacy realm?  
Because, though many disabled people have shared experiences, there is only one me.  And even if I can only ever connect with one person through this, it will have been worth it.  Connection and community is so vital.
11)  What does being connected with disabled advocates like myself mean to you?
It means we are not alone, and that is so powerful!

My Nominees:
Marissa Bensman at A Crippled Compilation.  Marissa has fast become one of my best friends.  Her sweet, straightforward candor about the reality of life as a woman with a disability really has helped me in so many ways.  She is one of my bridges, and has let me know I am not alone in so many ways.
Fox at Fox Talks With Letters.  Fox is a fellow National Novel Writing Month winner and poet.  As an advocate for the autistic community, Fox is thoughtful, articulate, and brutally honest, telling the truth about important realities that he and his friends who talk with letters, face on a daily basis.
Ryan at i am in my head. Ryan shares about his daily life, including trips to his favorite store, facing discrimination, and how it feels to be in his body with autism.  Ryan's wit and humor as well as his intelligence and presence always come through when reading his posts.
Karin Hitselberger at Claiming Crip.  Karin has a no-holds-barred approach to sharing about her life with CP.  I've read her blog so many times and been like, "So I'm not the only one who feels like this!"  It's a great feeling.
Phillip Reyes at Faith, Hope and Love...With Autism Phillip blogs with beautifully honest prose about the merging of autism with his faith.  His way with words is out of this world, and his insights are so valuable.  
Kathleen Downes at The Squeaky Wheelchair  Kathleen writes about moments I have faced in my own life with an unflinching reality.  She is not afraid to discuss why those of us with CP can't be spontaneous, for example.  She also shares her wit with amazing hand-drawn comic strips.
Cara Liebowitz at That Crazy Crippled Chick  Want brutally honest commentary about some of the hot button issues facing the disabled community today?  Check out Cara's blog for a major reality check and get ready to learn a thing or two.  It's amazing over there.
Kara Ayers at Roll You Home  A place to go if you are disabled and want to start a family.  Check out the story of a disabled couple and how they navigated not only having a biological child, but also adopted one with a similar disability from overseas.
Stephanie Woodward at Ms. Wheelchair Florida 2014  Though this blog has not been updated for quite sometime, its posts remain relevant as ever for me.  For firsthand information on why it's damaging to call someone "too pretty to be in a wheelchair," and a stunning post about a lack of accessibility in homeless shelters as well as other topics, check out Stephanie's blog.
Emily Ladau at Words I Wheel By Emily is on top of just about every single headline that concerns the disabled community.  From the troubling new campaign that tells nondisabled people how to interact with disabled people, to a damaging osteoporosis campaign tagline, Emily addresses it all on her blog.
K at Transcending CP  K is a college student who reminds me so much of me about ten years ago.  She's living with CP, she's a multiple, and she's just trying to find her place in the world.  Her narrative voice is warm and matter of fact.  I always feel like she is talking to a close friend when I read her posts.

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