The Perfect Quote for This Blog

I’m not really a big “quote” person. They can be tired, trite, and well I’ll just say it – lame.

But! (but, but, but), I just discovered a phenomenal quote thanks to a mass email sent to us freelancers from my editor. It encompasses my entire life post-injury, what I strive to do everyday, and most importantly – what I hope to further through my articles, podcasts, and blogs. The quote comes from the recently passed disability rights activist and lawyer, Harriet McBryde Johnson.

“Living our lives openly and without shame is a revolutionary act.”

This is one of the most perfectly worded expressions I’ve ever read. What I do, and what I want women with disabilities to do everywhere, is to live their lives as if they weren’t disabled; to NOT let society’s expectations of who they *should* be to mold their lives.

Some people just can’t handle it when we’re “out in the public eye” being sexual beings, getting married, having babies, looking hawt (omgz the horror!), and basically relishing the woman inside of us. They think our disability should somehow make us not want to or not be able to do these things anymore. But, we live in the 21st century. The time for a revolution has come! We are the last minority to get treated equally in regards to the whole “Hey, we’re human too!” situation, and that needs to change.

When will the time come when people no longer come up to me and congragulate me for being out when I’m buying a burrito at Chipotle? When will they stop patronizing me/being shocked for living my life like a “normal” 28 year old? Just because I’m sitting down does not make me that vastly different, nor does it somehow magically siphon away my hormones.

I should really get this quote tattooed across my face. I’d probably piss people off, and that’d be awesome.

– Tiff

  1. Harriet wasn’t just my friend but boss, as part-time I assisted doing disability case reviews and every now and then had the honor of working an ADA/civil rights case with her. You don’t know how good it feels to see so many starting to realize just how normal and common sense she was. In the hundreds of hours we spent together out in public during our 26 years as friends, except as wonderful excuses to touch the lives of curious young children in positive ways, I can’t remember once when looks from others provoked comment or action. Maybe we were just so wrapped in chatting, looking, laughing and living to notice, or maybe she lived this quote. Just maybe long ago Harriet freed herself from such petty concerns, as what others might think. If it takes her passing for some to more fully assume their birthrights, maybe the collective sorrow of all who loved her has been worth every tear. Thank you for sharing who she was.

    Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,


  2. Nobody ever congratulates me for ordering a burrito at Chipotle. Then again, I don’t order burritos at Chipotle, but even if I did, nobody would.

    Most people get uncomfortable around somebody that’s “different”, whether they come from a different country, weigh as much as a small piano, need crutches to walk or spend a large part of their lives in a chair. Being exposed to the “different” where they can’t escape does often make a difference… it did for me.

    But then I’m special.

  3. thanks for commenting, magic. i like how you explained the thing about how people get weird around a wide varieties of “different,” and how it’s not just limited to disabilities, per say. you’re right. i just hope one day a bigger percentage of the population will be more comfortable around people with disabilities, and used to them being “normal,” than they are now. kill all the old people! jk

  4. john, thanks for commenting and i’m glad you found my blog. for starters, im very sorry about your loss. it must be incredibly hard to lose a friend youve had for 24 yrs. i never met harriet unfortunately, and still dont know everything about her, but from what i do know she had an amazing talent for making important social issues very clear to everybody. i hope to study her further in the future…


  5. I’ve added it to my quote queue. It is well said no matter what your position in life. Pun intended. True ’nuff, it certainly doesn’t matter what your physical state of existence is, only what you’re able to contribute to the situation. After all, it’s your personality and demeanor that makes you who you are anyway.

  6. I have ben a para T-6 since 1986. It has been a long journey to become the absolutely drop-dead gorgeous woman I am today. I find it amusing that people can’t belive I can’t walk, that I’m :handicapped”, etc… true beauty comes from within, one concept I use daily is .”If you look at me in a wheelchair what do others see, a depressed, haggard, bitter crippled, or a vibrant, happy, smiling woman, . sex is better than before my injury, if you embrace and experiment the enjoyment of an uncontrollable hyper-sensitive vagina, the key is to be comfortable and let nature take it’s course..and yes girls how ludicrous to think we were in “shoe hell” before being injured….I have found many levels since then lol

  7. goober, love what you said here, “…it certainly doesn’t matter what your physical state of existence is, only what you’re able to contribute to the situation.”

    I wish more people realized this 🙂

  8. Amen, Sista! This whole concept is basically my mission statement. We can’t talk about it enough though. =)

  9. hey kell, glad to see you!

  10. Good, good, good quote. Getting people to see the person and not the chair is easy. Getting yourself to see and be yourself and not the person in the chair, is where it gets hard.

  11. lyna, i’m more than envious of your hyper-sensitive vajajay :/

  12. barbi, i actually think doing both can be equally hard…

  13. I have Bell’s Palsy and enjoy your blog very much. First time I’ve commented, but have been reading here and there.
    Great blog. I enjoy reading it every chance I get and value your opinions!

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