(Note: the following post was written by Diamond Baldwin, a fellow content creator. I had the pleasure of writing a post for her blog earlier this year. If you enjoy this piece, be sure to go give the rest of her work some love.)
As a disability lifestyle influencer, I try to uplift, and inspire others with Spina Bifida but the media is not making my job easy. Time and time again as a kid when Spina Bifida is talked about in the news or on a journalist page, they like to use the word “suffering” to get people’s attention. But it’s more like click-bait for their benefit. They try to make our stories look so bad and spread incorrect facts about living with Spina Bifida. Don’t get me wrong not every story is like this, but it’s still not fair.
When I post the articles on my Instagram I receive responses from my friends with Spina Bifida saying ” Why would they use that word? I’m not suffering”. When I finished reading the article, nowhere did it talk about how well the child is doing currently it only highlights the time that they went through a tough surgery. In one article a little boy with Spina Bifida just wanted to have a good birthday but his journey with Spina Bifida is described as “Suffering”. Nowhere in the interview did his mom describe his journey with Spina Bifida as being “Suffering”.
When it comes to many problems we have as people, it comes down to the media making things worse for us like how a person should look, dress, carry themself. The media glorify people’s hard times. As someone with Spina Bifida, life is not always glamorous but I’m not suffering either. Just like everyone else, I know I will have hard times with my disability but I also know on the other side of that will be great times with my disability.
No one’s life is perfect but a person’s hard times in life should not be the only part that is seen or focused on. People with disabilities are not just their hard times, but it’s also those hard times that build such a strong unstoppable character. The media is making it so hard for us to live our lives with our disabilities, because when we try to make progress with spreading awareness it feels like these articles are undoing all of our hard work.
People with Spina Bifida and all disabilities are amazing people. We are daughters, sons, cousins, doctors, parents, Olympians and so much more. So believe that you are more and you matter.