“The term inspiration porn was coined by people with disabilities, used to describe when they are called inspirational solely or in part on the basis of their disability.” Wikipedia (because I can’t be arse to go beyond page 1 of Google )
A long time ago, this Stella Young explained far better than I ever could why I feel uncomfortable with motivational posters using disability to get fully able people to get motivated, and also why people using the word ‘inspirational ‘ on comments on my blog when clearly I’m just bitching about my body (please don’t take this personally if this was you – read on, there’s a proviso. If your comment was approved, this certainly isn’t you!).
In researching this post, I discovered that Stella suffered from Osteogenesis imperfecta (also known as brittle bone, a genetic condition which like EDS, affects the connective tissues in the body, and has many different types and varying degrees of severity). I also learnt that she died in December 2014, aged 32, leaving this world with a polkadot shoe hole in it.
She was an inspiration to me, not because she sat in a wheelchair, but because she had the metaphorical balls to stand up on stage and tell people to piss off and be inspired by people’s actual actions, their words; She taught kids, and taught them well; finally, she was hilarious. Don’t make yourself feel better because your life is better than theirs. Pity is not going to get you brownie points around here.
We have a friend who I equally find inspirational because he kicks arse when he needs help and holds no quarter, has funded and made a film about his condition, and also stands up for others with people that most would be a quivering mess with. The fact that he’s in a chair & requires help with most things is by the by. First and foremost he also hands me my arse in any PvP situation, can drink me literally under the table, and more recently has provided some brilliant support.
Inspiration is not about being less able. I’m inspired by the volume of love and committment a particular colleague shows to her students, I’m inspired by Mrs Gypsytree who sets her mind on things and does it in the face of naysayers, I’m inspired to keep learning by Mr Geek who finds new and cool stuff to do with his tech (maybe not read inspired there, read overly competitive).
Being inspired is a brilliant thing. If I happen to inspire you to advocate for yourself, or love learning, or just lighten your day by being flippant, then I’m one happy lady. But please don’t find me an inspiration because my shitty day is worse than yours.