I was being chased through the streets of a tiny Smurf village with mushroom houses by Ursula the sea witch. It was dark in the dream, all the Smurf streets were abandoned and the neighborhood was creepily lit. Even though she was out of water, Ursula was hot on my heels. I was running as fast as I could with my walker, and Ursula was closing in on me, her eight scary tentacles reaching for me...and then I woke up.
I remember the first time I watched and fell in love with The Little Mermaid. I was eight years old, and saw it in theaters. I always strongly identified with Ariel, and Part of Your World was a favorite song of mine for years afterward. Feeling out of place in my everyday life and longing for legs that worked? It was my entire young life.
So it wasn't a huge shock that a year after that, I was dreaming of being chased by the movie's villain. Only now, do I realize the significance of myself using adaptive equipment in the dream, and still facing the inevitability of being overpowered by a giant sea witch, who was way more powerful (even on dry land) than I was. Only now, does it hit me: Ursula's claim to fame was stealing people's voices. And maybe, deep down, that was my greatest fear.
|[Image is: Me W-sitting on my sister's unmade bed with messy hair. I'm in a pink sweatsuit and I am smiling.]|
Throughout my life, most of my dreams have reflected the intense vulnerability I have felt around being disabled. Usually, my adaptive equipment was not there at all. I was not specifically disabled in my dreams, but I was always in danger. I always needed to be saved.
By the time I was eighteen, I dreamed of being able-bodied, running after an able-bodied friend. I remember feeling so happy, so free. But in the majority of my dreams, I needed saving, and specifically, I needed saving by able-bodied people. My best friend at the time. My parents. JJ from Criminal Minds. Whoever...as long as they were able-bodied.
Things started to change around the time I started blogging two summers ago. I started dreaming of being the damsel in distress less and less. Then, there was the time when I dreamed about being rescued by Ali Stroker. It was a turning point, in that, it was the first time I dreamed about a disabled person in an empowering way. I still obviously was feeling vulnerable, but was beginning to feel safe in the company of other disabled people.
Slowly, over time, my wheelchair has made appearances in my dreams. Six months ago, I dreamed I was flying around my neighborhood with SuperGirl and Captain America, keeping it safe from evil. And these days, for the first time, I dream about hanging out with other disabled people. We join forces. We are equals. I feel powerful.
I don't think it's a coincidence that as I've grown more comfortable and confident in my identity as a disabled person, my dreams have also changed. Blogging, and connecting to other disabled people has empowered me and changed my inner voice. It has changed the way I feel about myself. I am more powerful and present in my body and feel more comfortable speaking up for myself.
And I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me, and reading along. It means the world to know that I am part of yours.
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