One morning I woke up and got dressed, it’s what I do most days, but this morning in particular was different.
I was planning this outfit for at least a week.
It wasn’t fancy by any means but, for me, it was more important than any fancy dress (or anything else). It was part of the most important presentation of my life (at least so far).
One of the last pieces of my master’s degree was completing a capstone of some sort. Originally, I was going to write a paper. I had been planning it since the beginning, and I wanted to be able to pull something I had written off a shelf in the library at a later date. I pictured future students finding my work and incorporating it into their own, just as I had done, but one sentence changed my mind.
“If you did a project it will have the potential to reach a greater audience.”
I thought back to the final projects I’d done in other courses. What could I use from any of those, if any.
I decided to do a project, but that would mean enrolling in the seminar rather than working by myself (a method I prefer, or at least I thought I would).
Before my project would be finished I would have to workshop it with a small group and then present it during the seminar.
I was, to the best of my knowledge, the only student in my class born with a physical disability. So, I didn’t just have to present my project. I also had to give everyone a crash course in living with a disability.
I put thought into every detail, over and over again. Knowing everyone would go back to their everyday lives I wanted them to come away with more than what they came with, other than how good my project was.
Mainly I wanted them to know that people with childhood disabilities grow up and become adults, that we’re probably not what they thought, that the disabled aren’t looking for pity or continually bitter. I wanted them to see disability from a different point of view.
The outfit was only the last piece of my part of arming my peers for the future.