The Power of Finding a Disabled Community Online

By Rae Rose: For More Info, Go Here…

As a bipolar mother, my digital spaces are a touchstone—they offer me support and help me define who I am.

When empathy and understanding are not part of our daily life, we suffer. But social media has filled in that chasm — and it can provide a lifeline. I don’t drive on freeways, and while getting around Southern California has always been intimidating for me, with an infant it’s become even more difficult. Social media can function as the support group and family that most of us don’t have, or have trouble accessing physically.

While pregnant, I started to follow Elsie Larson’s entry into motherhood on Instagram. Larson is known for her popular DIY blog on “A Beautiful Mess” and for the app “A Color Story.” She adopted a girl with albinism from China named Nova. They painted together, giggled together — they were what I wanted to look like with my little girl. I decided that when I had my baby, I would try to Elsie Larson it and forget about those scary Google images.

I joined Instagram. I didn’t know what typical people were doing there — I saw a lot of pictures of food. But popular hashtags like #disabledandcute and #disabledandsexy mean that a diverse group of disabled people — different genders, nationalities, disabilities — are calling their bodies sexy with the same tag. All of these people are connected by disability.

Michelle Griffith, owner of the Spoonie Sisters shop on Etsy, explains it this way: “Those with disabilities learn what it’s like to live with other disabilities. It’s an amazing supportive community. They truly understand your struggles, victories, frustrations, excitements.”

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