Why Not All Disabled People Want To Be Inspirational [CC]

Why Not All Disabled People Want To Be Inspirational [CC]

Hello lovely people, and welcome to to today’s video. It’s going to be a bit of a little ranty chat which we haven’t done in a while and in front a new bed.
You’ll find out more about that in an upcoming video. Today we are going to be discussing the awkwardness of disabled people being seen as an inspiration. The pros, the cons, the utterly painful simplified objectification of an entire group of people that brings them down to just a secondary character in the life of whoever is saying it. I have recently written an article about this for Cosmopolitan magazine I shall leave a link down in the description below to said article. It seemed to resonate with a lot of people so I wanted to bring it into a video and turn it into more of a conversation. Please let me know in the comments down below what your thoughts are as we go along whether you agree, disagree, kind of think both ways, you are not sure how you feel about it either I’m really interested to hear your point of view on this. “hear your point of view” *laughs*
Idioms are funny when you are deaf. So, being called an inspiration is pretty common when you are disabled – especially if you are visibly so. I am one with the wall.
[a sound] [Clara, off camera: Oh, the sun it came out] Hi We have all heard the stories of disabled kids who won awards at school simply for existing. I mean, the film Wonder has many great things to say about inclusivity but, at the end of the film, Auggie, this little boy who has Treacher Collins syndrome is literally given an award *laughs* for standing out. And inspiring the people around him. And yes, I know you can say that the award is actually a recognition of his sterling character and that’s why he stands out and is so brave that he inspires others around him. But if he didn’t have facial deformatives would he still have been brave? Would there have been any reason for him to be so?
The film doesn’t really answer that question. Although I guess it’s little unfair of me to think it should. So let’s talk about the positives I often say that I see the word “disabled” as being something that is very positive. It’s a recognition of the fact that the world is a little harder for you to move through than it would be for someone else. It’s a recognition of the fact that the world is a little harder for you to move through than it might otherwise be. I wrote in the article about how my life before and after being diagnosed was essentially the same. There is a link in the description to a video that explains my disabilities. Um – but basically it affects my muscles, soft tissue, organs, nerves, immune system, hearing, stomach, fatigue – it’s a variety. My life was still hard, still painful, still exhausting but that diagnose changed rest of the world around me. No longer did adults give me grief for what looked to them like “not trying hard enough.” Now, they made small changes around me that allowed me to fulfill my full potential. And that’s amazing. So, we could argue that calling someone inspirational is just another way of recognising that struggle. Something like “okay you have come to school even though both of your legs are disabled – I should probably stop complaining about that massive bruise on my ?chin? and actually finish my essay.” That wasn’t really meant to be sarcastic.
*laughs* Everyone should finish their essays. And then equally, if you ignore that struggle it can be pretty devastating. Obviously, not all disabilities are a struggle, we are not a homogeneous group of people. Different conditions affect different people to different degrees and we have all become disabled at different times. Whether that’s pre-birth, or in your late twenties or in your fifties. Or later. So I am very much only talking from my own subjective viewpoint. My disability is genetic. I have had it since birth and although it has got steadily worse since I was a child I still had symptoms then, it was just that no-one knew what was wrong with me. Then I hit sixteen, and my body went downhill. To the point that at seventeen I was hospitalised with two paralysed arms because my body does that. And I then had a lumbar puncture that went wrong and leaked spinal fluid out of my body. My spinal fluid leaked out of its little sac and into the body Uh – it’s not actually a little sac.
It’s a surprisingly large one. Cue horrific pain and sensivity to light, sound and touch. I was in so much pain I had to be kept in a dark room laying flat in silence. Fortunately I have a fantastic imagination and kept myself amused for many hours thinking up very queer TV-shows. I’m also a very determined person and I wanted to finish school with everyone else. So at the ?end? of the day I’d make my mother get me out of bed and take me to school. I had to use a wheelchair and I wore dark glasses, and I had a tendency to pass out and *laughs* I don’t really remember much of those two years. I don’t really remember much of those two years other than… I tried. And failed. I had to repeat the year, unsurprisingly. But that is not the point of this particular story. On the last day of the year, the year me and my classmates would be graduating and I’d be waiting for summer to beging so I could do the school year all over again.
There was an award ceremony. Can you see where this is going? There are awards for seriously impressive things: the best all arounder, the highest mark in any one test, best sportperson and the sillier ones, too. Class clown, loudest activist – I don’t know why that was in the humors department, it just was. And then it came – the final award. The award of bravery.
Again you can probably see this punchline coming. The headmaster stood on the stage, in front of the entire year group we sat around tables, grouped to our friends I sat at the back, in my wheelchair, not next to a table because my wheelchair couldn’t go under any of the tables. Oh, great, the sun came out again. Lah-di-dah. It was the first time in a week I had left the house – I had even washed my hair. The headmaster began ?the? speech: “This person has taught us all a lesson about perseverance and bravery This person has come through a medical crisis and although they are still dealing with the repercussion they never gave up. They have come back to class, and they have made the best of it, no matter how their body has let them down. I’m proud to have this person be part of the school, proud of everything they have achieved and will go on to achieve. if only we could all learn these lessons of tenacity and endurance.” and then he called the name of a boy across the room. The boy who had been hit by a car whilst riding his bike had rolled over the top of the car and then miraculously stood up on the other side absolutely uninjured – he was fine. It was a joke award. Hmm Behind my dark glasses I began to cry. And then I panicked, because my paralysed arms couldn’t pick up a tissue I just had to hope that my tears would sink into my cheeks and no-one would notice. Would that award mean anything to me today? No. Probably not. Would it have meant anyhting to me at the time?
Yes. A really big deal. It would have been a great motivating factor. Maybe calling someone an inspiration in that instance wouldn’t have been about the other people in the room. Maybe I needed to be my own inspiration. But on the other hand calling someone inspirational just for existing others them. Again, it turns that person from an equal to a motivational secondary character in the life of the person saying it. As I pointed out in my Cosmo article taken in isolation it isn’t too far away from the dreaded compliment of: “Oh, if I were you I would just kill myself” Actual thing a girl once said to me on a date. And other people. Because manners? I don’t know, they think it’s nice? The implication is that merely existing as a disabled person is the worst possible life and they simply just couldn’t cope with it. “Oh, I couldn’t imagine I wouldn’t be able to go on with that” makes it seems like the person saying it has an experience of pain that is more profound than the disabled person. That is just my reading of it, though. My thoughts, though shared by others but obviously I do not speak for all people Which again, brings up my point that being labeled inspirational is a stereotype that assumes that all disabled are the same and yet at the same time it can also be used to create a hierarchy within the disabled community. The ones who go above and beyond what “normal” humans can do are termed super humans I’m thinking of the Paralympics here, quite clearly. Whereas the ones who perhaps struggle with their disability or not even struggle but just aren’t, you know, gods are the scrounges. If you are not an inspiration, then why are you here? It’s a very othering concept. *laughs* Side point – has anyone noticed how the term “inspired by” is only used for philosophers, teachers, writers, people who we are inspired by who are above us but inspirational is used for people who are beneath us who almost push us to be better. I say us, I think I am one of those people *laughs* That might be nonsense, but it just occured to me. So yes, there are positives and there are negatives and I do find myself sitting on the fence about it often. I like being inspirational in that I like being able to help other people by sharing stories or writing things or making videos. But I don’t like being inspirational purely for the sake of existing. And I can’t ignore that my disabilities do make my life harder. Many disabled people want what they do to be judged in isolation from their disability but I wrestle with that. On bad days just raising my head from my bed is quite an anchievement. It takes so much time and effort and I would like some recognition for that. If only because it was hard and I did it but not because the struggle is hoisted upon me on the first place. I did not choose this body, I am not brave for being in it. I think like most people I’m happy to inspire people with my strenght of character. I don’t want to be brave because I left the house on crutches, I want the recognition of how I got that bravery in the first place. If that makes sense? I think it’s possible to take inspiration from variety of people in variety of ways. My little cousin inspires me to always be warm and open, my father inspires me to challenge everything intellectually and have a great thirst for knowledge and random facts. And my mother inspires me to set incredibly unachievable goals and then go for them anyway and always get what I want. Even when if just because I can picture her face every time I have a new harebrained scheme going “why” I’m so sorry mother. My point is, we all have our crosses to bear, we all have hardships, we have all gone through things, whatever they may be, and if we can use those experiences to help other people, then that’s great. And equally we can take inspiration from another person’s story but only as long we have the time to hear it first. not just if we see someone in a wheelchair on a buss. So, I hope you have enjoyed this video whether you have agreed or disagreed or you’re still unsure. Let me know in the comments down below. And please do share this video with anyone you think might find it interesting or on your social media. If you’re new here and you like what you see, the please do subscribe. If you are already a subscriber, you’ve been here for a while and you quite like the channel then please do consider becoming a channel member and sponsoring us. You can do that by pressing the sponspor-button down below or look into the description to find out how you can become a Kellgren-Fozard club member. I will see you next time *kiss sound* *upbeat end music*


  • danielleshanti says:

    Great video! Many years ago someone asked about my disability and then said how great it was that I didn't let it stop me from getting out and doing things. I was so taken aback, I didn't know what to say. Am I supposed to stay home because I move differently than most people? What an odd idea. I love this TedTalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much

  • danielleshanti says:

    Also this disabilities video from buzzfeed is awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b7k6pEnyQ4

  • Emma says:

    I feel like I'm okay with other people who are disabled finding "inspiration" in me because I find strength and bravery in our community, and that feels reciprocated and positive.

  • James Rozenshteyn says:

    I feel like it’s an almost-recognition of the fact that disability makes life more difficult (often) due to how society treats and interacts with it, without the reflection on the fact that something should be done about that. The same people tell trans and queer folks that “you’re so brave”

  • Ella Chadwick says:

    While the movie Wonder isn't good on this subject, the main character in the book (as often happens) has a plainly stated, nuanced perspective that closely mirrors yours. He's initially conflicted because being "different" doesn't make him an inspiration by default, but then decides that actually everyone deserves an award for being themselves, no matter their ability. I can see this view really resonating with middle schoolers, and I think it comes across well in the book.

  • Kimmaline says:

    Oh, Jessica. This is SO my feelings on the matter. I know that being inspirational is almost a taboo thing in the disability community now, but there are ways in which I DO feel like I have risen above some really shitty circumstances. At the same time, I hate all of the ways in which I am othered, and I am really weary of the inspiration porn angle.

    You rock.

  • snowWhite22 says:

    I am 15 and have CFS/ME and cyclical vomerting syndrome and find it really hard when people say I'm brave. I am not I just don't have any other choice.

  • MrsInAbox says:

    I've always found that when people say you're an inspiration for being disabled say it to make themselves feel better, not to benefit you.

    (Using the general "you", not a specific you directed at a specific person.)

  • Hima C says:

    Have you visited this town in Bali?: https://youtu.be/PwXBwV1YJ-s

  • valleo27 says:


  • Drink Your Nail Polish says:

    I like being an encouragement for ppl to pull themselves up by their bootstraps- if I can do it, you can do it no excuses type of deal
    but I don't like ppl patronizing or feeling sorry for me… Makes me feel dumb. I'd feel more comfortable around a drill instructor who doesn't give a crap about my problems and just pushes me to keep going…it's because my grandpa was a Marine MP, taught me to fight back when life socks me one.I miss him. Semper fi

  • Cpersin says:

    I have near constant migraine and a mysterious lady parts problem that causes pain many days (why is modern medicine still so bad at figuring out gynecological diseases). I get irritated when I tell someone about the frequency or duration of my issues and they counter with "I could never deal with that." I usually respond with "Well it's not like I chose to be in pain all the time, but I still have a life to get on with." Usually that shows most people how problematic their thinking is. I have the privilege of not having a visible problem, however, not being believed is sometimes an issue. I have had a few close friends tell me that they admire me and even though I understand their intentions, I still feel awkward. I can totally identify with your struggle because I just want to live my life and be admired because I am awesome at stuff, but also sometimes I need accommodations and understanding.

  • Andy Wright Talkin Really says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqQQWyeZsLY gave you a shout out —

  • Rikki Poynter says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. Let us be inspirational for activism work, etc. Don't let us be inspirational because we woke up and took a shit in the toilet and brushed our teeth twice a day like everyone else, lol.

  • Lepol Hart says:

    I think some of the celebrities that do charity work and are seen around "inspirational" people and also schools, colleges, organisations that give awards out to disabled people just for breathing are doing it as they think it makes them look good, it's good PR and ticks the inclusivity and equality and diversity boxes which are required by law nowadays.
    It's all very shallow and superficial and doesn't help disabled people at all but it can discredit those that are being genuine.

  • tarananajaika says:

    Many disabled people complain about being called "inspirational". When it's random people on the street or subway – yeah, that's only annoying. Also getting patted (or shall I say petted?) on the shoulder and head because you're smaller in a wheelchair – annoying!

    But when disabled people write books about their disabilities and their life or have YouTube channels or instagram accounts with #disability or "Deaf girl does this and that"… Then they are making their disability focus of their celebrity life. And when fans tell them that they are inspirational, then I think it's not okay to shun them. They're obviously fans of someone who deals exceptionally well with their disability and shows off their life.

    People who deal with their disability in a good and fun way are always kind of inspirational. Let's just be rational: Most people wouldn't want to have a disability. Most disabled people who were born that way sometimes think about what their life would have been when they weren't disabled or even wish it. Most people who get a disability later in life (or diagnosed later) have (long) phases of depression and are miserable until they re-experience their body or just learn to live with it. It's inspirational to not letting yourself getting beat-up by something that makes your life unnecessary harder.

    And if someone shows how well they do with their disability, they are inspirational to people who have the same disability and to other people who are willing to learn about something that doesn't even affect them. I know you can rant about anything on the internet (like I do right know) but I would never tell any person to stop saying "You're inspirational" to disabled people. It means "Wow, I never realized how hard your life could be with this disability and I'm amazed how well you can deal with it." It's honest and it's nice. Just take it as a compliment.

    So, without using the word "inspirational", Jessica, I think I learned a lot through your channel and I also enjoy your videos about gays and your wife and your life. I'm amazed at how much effort you put into your make-up, hair, dress and look so "neat" (even in your bad-hair-day/no-make-up/fatigue videos) while I'm happy to have a pony tail at all. It's pretty cool how you make your videos interesting every time, I can't stop watching! And it's very convenient that your videos are with subtitles, so I can watch them on the bus 😉 I really do wish more channels would caption their videos.

  • LyniLuLu says:

    I have Ehlers Danlos, which is genetic and causes things things like organ rupture, dislocations, and pain, as well as POTS, Neuropathy, MCAD, Narcolepsy, and a few smaller scale things that for the most part don't affect my day to day life. What that means for me is losing my vision and hearing about 50+ times a day, severe hypovolemia, frequent seizures and cataplexy, dizziness, fatigue, occasional strokes, and rare heart attacks… so, a lot of physical therapy, infusions through a portacath twice a week, and limitations like… not being able to drive, having difficulty finding work, not being able to be alone, difficulty with household chores, taking care of myself, etc.

    I think on some level, being told I'm an inspiration makes me feel nice, because as you mentioned, it means someone is recognizing my struggle. At the same time, for me personally, it feels… untrue. I have few accomplishments in life. I mean, I would like to say I do my best, but honestly I probably could be more motivational and more active in a community or something, but I'm just trying to live my life, so it feels silly to be an inspiration for say… just generally having a happy attitude. Because I have a terminal diagnosis, I think people most often call me an inspiration for my general acceptance of things and (hopefully) kind nature, and I feel like there are many other people in life that have earned that more than I have. But… I guess maybe it's perspective thing. I just don't know.

  • Luisa Skouson says:

    I would say that inspiration isn't the right word, or at least not one that I would choose. More of a… humbling reality check for those of us who experience migraines once a year and can run every night. It's just not something that I spend a great deal of time thinking about. Therefore, when I happen across someone who can remind me that people- in more pain than I can imagine- still have fabulous hair and thoroughly optimistic personalities, I can look at my own life and regret my complaints.
    Not to say that figures like yourself and some of my relatives aren't incredible inspirations. I hold firmly that if something is hard for you, you deserve all of the recognition- be it a gold medal or lasagna. Everyone is different.

  • Another Skeleton says:

    I just have a weird mix of "you're making it up/exaggerating/being lazy/not trying hard enough" and "I have no idea what that's like, you're like a superhuman!"

  • JenPhotographs says:

    I'm deaf and have gotten "You're an inspiration" several times. I have also gotten "I'll pray for you" in addition to the "I'd just die if I went deaf." And let's not forget my favorite, which isn't an actual phrase, but rather just general behavior: some people will treat me like I'm mentally challenged or a child. That one is super fun.

    I also once got "Your parents should've put you to death when they found out you were deaf because you must've sinned" from a very conservative Midwestern biblethumper. (Noped out of that situation real fast!)

    I am so over all of it.

    I'm not very articulate anymore, so if you (or anyone else) can offer some suggestions of how to concisely and politely tell people to cut the inspirational and praying out, that'd be great.

  • paperheartzz says:

    You are so funny and sunny, your recent video about Quakerism and being raised with equality being paramount… I'm so moved by your positivity. It is inspiring.

  • GirlHatesWorld says:

    Literally random people are rude or treat them like babies. I worked as a personal care assistant and left my client in a grocery store aisle to get him something and someone asked him if he was lost….He's a 32-year-old man with full mental capacity who was busy while I was busy. He responded to them that he wasn't and they still looked to me to reassure them. Like he's in a wheel chair and talks perfectly fine. Like dude… I'm 20. I'm not the adult here.

  • egal 28 says:

    I got comment on my epilepsy from diabetic friend who said to me something like 'oh I don't know how you cope with that I can't imagine' after having a seizure herself. And she is worried about me she wants to kinda mother me, but it's annoying because I try to avoid being overprotective to her 😅

  • Jennifer Hill says:

    I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree as I’m not sure I fully understand the problem. I’m glad however to have listened to you telling me that this is something and I’ll watch again and see if my privileged mind can grasp the message with a second listen. Wait let me try this on. You inspire me not because you have a disability, but because you have a wonderful personality, your witty and fun and your smile lights up a room and it inspires me to smile too.

  • meganer12 says:

    I’m awaiting a diagnosis for all-over joint pain, as well as having chronic migraine and mental health issues, so I don’t know if I qualify as disabled, but I’m also a cancer survivor and I hate being seen as inspiration. I was only four, so I had nothing to do with my survival (at least in my mind); it was all my body and the doctors who saved me. And yet someone thinks I’m inspirational? Okay? Anyway, I don’t have a lifelong disability that gives me the feeling of ‘ick’ for being seen as an inspiration, but I have congruent experience and can understand why so many disabled people hate it. Much love ❤️

  • Autumn Conway says:

    As someone with cerebral palsy and fibromyalgia, I appreciate this video 🙂

  • Roma Vidallo says:

    I always felt kind of confused whenever disabled people were seen as inspirational or glorified as a sort of survivor?? I can see where they're coming from, it's not wrong to take inspiration from disabled people because yeah, their struggles are a bit or a lot different from us able-bodied people. But I've always felt as if it was kind of a little wrong to do so because disabled people didn't ask to be in that condition and 'glorifying' (sorry I don't know much terms 🙁 ) them made me feel a bit awkward because it still feels as if others are kind of undermining their abilities and are seeing their normal everyday life as sort of an inspirational thing JUST because they're disabled. I mean, it's kind of confusing because they call them inspirational but at the same time view disabled people in a light that makes them out to be sort of uhm lacking? I acknowledge that of course, most disabled people live their life a little different that able-bodied people because they have to accomodate to their disability and others would see it as something motivating or inspiring but at the same time it might be a little demeaning. Like for example, deaf people could just be having a conversation in sign language (I try to see if I can pick up words because I'm badly lacking when it comes to signing so people would notice I'm staring which I hope won't be taken a bad way but idk :(( sorry to deaf people if you've thought I was judging you, I was uhhh eavesdropping, which is just as bad I'm so sorry jdjdjdj I'm trying not to do it anymore ) But then a companion would sort of say something like "Oh they're so brave" or something along that tone and I'd get confused because they're literally just having a conversation. Like us. But in a different language. I probably don't make sense, just my two cents ffjdjdjdjdjjd.

    I've always thought I was wrong for thinking so because I don't really have disabled friends and my deaf cousin and I only meet for like, once a year and we never talk so I never got to ask her perspective on it. I'm glad the sentiment is shared by some disabled people because I've always felt as if I had no say in the matter because I'm an able-bodied person!! I'm really thankful for the insight this video and the comments under it has given me!!!

  • Redcatrobe says:

    Thank you so much for your insight & clarity. As a person with insivible (more debilitating mental than physical) disabilities I'm always curious about how to be a better ally to folks with other physical disabilities. It can be hard to advocate & organize around experiences that are so varied. I am inspired by 😉 your education.

  • Maryhelen Hopkins says:

    I do not have a disability, but I have about 20 severe allergies that when undiagnosed I spent about two years in constant pain and sick. Thankfully I was able to diagnose the problem and changed my diet to avoid all of those allergies. But now when I tell people what i can't have the usual response is "I would die without …" (and often times I'm like well you won't really but really want to say well I'll die if I eat it so…), this video made me think about how many times someone has actually said that to me.

  • Jo Lawton says:

    Inspirational because you exist??? No no no! , However I do admire your strength of character and cheerful disposition. I started watching your videos on these kind of subjects as a means toward bettering myself. I am also very great full for your BSL videos. Those where how I got here as I am learning. Also, your sense of humour makes me laugh (Who doesn’t need more laughter in their lives) and I actually just love your accent and could listen to you for hours…. that might make me a bit creepy….. sorry about that.
    But I don’t watch your videos and view you in a pitying way. I view you as an equal whom is imparting their knowledge to me and respect you as I would esteem and respect any one who has given their time to teach me something.
    I’ve had the whole oh you are so sweet to take that deaf lady under your wing….. 😳🙄 Seriously?! We are two random people who worked out quite quickly that we enjoy a lot of the same things and enjoy each other’s company. We are not friends because she’s deaf. And I’m not learning sign out of putty I’m learning it because it just makes sense to.

  • Rosie Dodds says:

    I've recently been diagnosed with FND and my mum went from not believing me and telling me to pull myself together, to being terrified I'm going to kill myself…because there's no point in life if you have fatigue and difficulty walking, apparently?

  • •chiiru chuu• says:

    I am one of the children who got an award for just existing because of my Asperger’s syndrome. I fucking hated it. Give me an award for something important, not for being an ‘inspiration’.

  • laura tea says:

    I have a mental disorder and have had someone say to me "well at least you don't have a physical disability, you should be appreciative of your life"… I've never been so mad, on so many levels

  • Melissa Tyrrell says:

    If one more person tells me I am a warrior…

  • Miara Avalin says:

    I agree. Without the persons story they are just people. Disabled or not.

    You do inspire me though. With your attitude, tips, stories and other videos. You inspire me to face my own disabilities and to fight for myself or even just ask for help when I can’t do it myself. Thank you.

  • Hannah Martley says:

    Your relationship with your wife inspires me to find someone who loves me as much you two love each other. Also your fashion skills are amazing.

  • Tyler_wood90 says:


  • Kadin Zanga says:

    I have some mental illnesses that mean that I've spent a lot of time daydreaming and just sitting with my thoughts, and you make feel like all of that isn't just a waste. I guess you could say I'm inspired by your ability to make the most of time spent with just you and your mind. You remind me that even if I'm having a bad day with my issues, there's always something I can do, even if it seems small. And that I'm not a bad or lazy person because I can't always be productive like neurotypical people can.

  • Vivianne Carvalho says:

    For me you are not only inspirational but you inspire me to be the best version of me. And not because of your disability, it took me several videos to find out you were disabled. I just love your stories and videos, so please don't stop!!!
    Ps.: I started following you very recently and I am loving to get to know the YouTube version of you!!!

  • Becca Haight says:

    Lmao I once was in the hospital for about a month one school year and at the end of the year we have graduation/awards night and so all the kids get a personalized award and everyone got fun awards that were well thought out…. I figured I would get an award for you know my personality BC I’m so happy and positive ALL THE TIME it’s who I am and all my awards in the past were about said personality or my accomplishments in school like, you know how I finished 4+ electives in one quarter but no you know what I got.. THE OVERCOMER AWARD BC I overcame my illness which isn’t that terrifying but no THEY BLASTED THE ACCOMPANYING SONG OF A WOMAN BELTING “YOURE AN OVERCOMER” I was mortified and embarrassed… Thank you for coming to my ted talk

  • the fatimagic says:

    i think that in certain cases, such as your description of your hospitalization and the ordeal you went through, something like that award, or a recognition of your perseverance, is fine. it's unorthodox, but much less so than the ableist joke award it ended up being. however, there's a big, and i mean big difference between that and some woman "proudly" telling me, a visibly disabled person with a walker, to "keep doing what i'm doing~!!" while walking across the costco parking lot. honestly, the worst moments for me aren't the "inspirational" ones, but when people will ask a question meant for me to someone i'm with (especially my parents) as if i can't understand them. like…i'm an adult, not an infant, and i'm standing right fucking here. ask me. and that's what can hurt a lot about those "inspirational" moments in certain contexts. it's all about infantilization. it relies on the idea that we, the poor misbegotten disabled person, will be overcome by the generosity and benevolence of the able-bodied people who had it in their hearts to give us an award. because truly, disabled people can't have happy or fullfilling lives without able-bodied approval. ~vomits~

  • Morgan Burns says:

    Someone I used to be friends with asked about my invisible disabilities one day, after explaining my symptoms he turned around and told me that if he were me, he’d kill himself, because life just wouldn’t be worth it/enjoyable… right thanks that feels great
    Despite having multiple diagnosis, my family still accuses me of using my chronic pain to get what I want and be lazy….

  • NotDeadJustYet says:

    speaking of dumb awards, my friends in I guess it would be high school got an award from our school for being the best friends. meanwhile, they hadn’t tried contacting me once for the three months (May-August) I was in the hospital after a big surgery. but yeah, sure, they didn’t kick me out of the friend group when I got back, and that was just bloody inspirational of them! 🤔🤦‍♀️

  • LosingLara says:

    So I am not disabled, but I did have a number of birth defects which meant I had to go through many surgeries over the course of half of my life. I don't bring it up a lot cause it's not super relevant to my life now, but if it comes up in conversation people feel the need to ask all the questions and hear the whole story and so I tell it cause I don't want to be rude. At the end of it I will usually hear the same sort of thing like "Oh my god, you're so brave." "You're so strong." "You've been through so much." and oh my god how I hate that. Like bravery to me, is a choice. You are scared to do a thing, but you choose to do it anyway, hence you are brave. I am not BRAVE for dealing with my body and health concerns, like what do you expect? Either I scream and cry and no one wants to be around that or I just go about my daily life as best as I can and suddenly I get called brave? No, that's dumb. Also I was a baby when most of the really big stuff happened. I literally had no concept of the term "brave", and you can't retroactively apply the feeling on the past. I wasn't brave. I was a baby. I'm not brave now because I am not dealing with those health problems. Even if someone IS dealing with health problems in their present and get told they are brave, like you said, but much more eloquently, what are they supposed to do? Just not go about their life? It's so so frustrating.

  • Scorched Earth says:

    I'm so sick of people finding out I have MS, they cock their heads to one side and give me look, the aww bless her look, the patronising look. Then they open their mouths only to add to their patronising attitude and say something like "But you are doing so well" as if I need a certificate for simply opening a door or moving 10 feet under my own steam. Some of these people also speak to me very slowly, least I become lost in their conversation if confronted with sentences of more than 5 words. It annoys me no end. I have taken to apologising to them because I hadn't reaslised they were mentally challenged. Some of these people become quite irate and say there's no need to be rude. It would seem some choke when presented with their own medicine.

  • PoetGiest says:

    My job got a certificate of thanks for hiring me from a business I worked with to find the job…I have Cerebral Palsy by the way. I have to see it all the time.

  • I'm Josh Dun With Your Shit says:

    thank you, disabillities arent glamorous or fun or "inspirational" like theyre messy and uncomfortable and difficult and frustrating. yes they go through a lot and thats great but we dont want a fucking medal

  • Star Hunter says:

    <eye twitch> I hate being an "inspiration". I got so sick of it (it actually doesn't happen very much online) that it makes me almost glad I'm sick enough to not leave the house very often. I think the way you explain it makes a lot of sense. So many of those people that said those things to me, it was very often the very first time I had ever met them! They didn't really know anything about me or bother to get to know me, I was inspirationall simply for being sick.

  • Disgaybled Princess says:

    People always say my boyfriend and me are inspirational as a couple… and I am like… wat…
    He is a psychopathic asperg autist with a very heavy nerve condition.
    I am a undifferentiated schizophrenic with a spine injury/vertebral prosthesis.
    There is nothing glamerous about our disabilities and our relationship. We get along, because we both know we have problems, and maybe because schizophrenia and autism are pretty related in a way. But we are not an inspiration, I have no idea why people say that.

  • Ellie Marie says:

    The best compliment that someone can make me is genuinely forgetting my disability. People get so embarrassed when it happens to them and they realize that I can't come with them to the step dance course on the weekend because I'm in a wheelchair (actually happened once to me with a girl I've known for over a year), but I'm so glad that she thinks about me as a person they'd love to spend time with instead of someone to accommodate, pity, help or be inspired by.

  • Maria Caú says:

    This video is increadibly educational for me. I thank you.

  • Moriah Scogin says:

    As an able body person, seeing someone doing something you struggle with, but they struggle even more and are often more successful than yourself, it makes you really remember how terrible you are. Me personally? I have mild depression and enough anxiety to feel crippled but not quite enough to seek counseling: it really makes me look at people who get out if bed everyday with extreme pain, work 40 hours a week and get promotions, and makes me want to be like them. I want to look past my panic and do the things that are expected of me. I understand some people say "well that is simply how I do things. It's normal for me. I don't see it as being exceptional. If I didn't I would be in a bad place. Everyone does the things they need to survive. The way I do it just doesn't look like yours, that's all" and while yes that's true, I look at that and think "they have every excuse to lay down and quit because it actually physically hurts and not a soul would blame them. They do it because they want to. They posses that character trait that makes them sucessful. They made a choice to do those hard things. Me? I do lay down and quit and it's significantly 'easier' for me to do them pain free. I want to choose to be like her/him. I want to move mountains like them and I need to remember that I'm not choosing to be successful when it's easy."

  • MGTOW_Monk says:

    I realize you are a lesbian, but I must say you might be the most gorgeous lady I’ve ever seen in my life! 😱🌹 I love your accent as well. I find myself watching your videos a lot lately. Just thought I’d mention all that. IDK why though. If I ever saw you on the street I’d be too shy to even say hi to you.

  • LivingLifeWithLisa says:

    And we are all so brave, too!

  • Dancer Chronicles says:

    As an autistic person who suffers from anxiety and depression I have been having a lot of problems with physical health to the point where being too far from my house overwhelms me physically, but the doctors say it is just my anxiety when I feel too weak and unwell to do anything. So I can see where you're coming from, I don't feel like me just being able to do the simplest of task is inspirational.

  • SolemAutem says:

    Hey, I'm here from your shoutout over from Phillip DeFranco, and I just wanted to say that you make some very valid points, and opened my head to ways of thinking that I hadn't considered before. I also struggle with hearing like you do, as well as having a slight mental deficiency, and I think that while Disabled people should inspire others to do better, it shouldn't necessarily be for merely existing. My issues don't affect me nearly as much as they do for others, so I've lived a pretty normal life; however, I've always had the terms Autistic and Hearing Loss floating over my head, and because of that I've seen both worlds in fair detail. You've made some pretty excellent points here and I look forward to seeing the rest of what you've made. Thank you.

  • Miranda René says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’m paralyzed from the waist down and, personally, I find it kind of patronizing to have strangers tell me how “inspiring” I am simply for existing in public.

  • One Really Grumpy Jill says:

    People will probably turn on me, but I really don't like the whole "you are inspirational for existing" kind of thing. Like, I am not disabled, but if I would be and people would tell me how cool I am for existing and moving on…I would kinda be angry? Annoyed?
    Then again, such praises can help younger people feel better and more inspired.
    I guess there needs to be middle ground where, you tell disabled people that they are cool for not allowing their problems get to them but at the same time you should not overshoot it.

  • Rebekah Castro says:

    Hi abled people
    What the fuck do you think giving up looks like
    Please stop congratulating us for not killing ourselves thanks

  • Ping TheAwesome says:

    I'm torn on this. It cheers me up and encourages me to keep going…but what about my accomplishments? Why do they just see the differences instead of seeing me and what I've accomplished?

  • Like90 says:

    It always amazes me how rude people can be with their comments about someone else's life and disability.

  • Chris Passmore says:

    I think a thing I find iffy about one channel I watch is that it's run by a disabled person who constantly sprinkles in lessons about how you shouldn't let your disability rule your life and you should just go out and live your dreams despite it. It doesn't really take into consideration the fact that some people just…can't. Like I can't afford a nice mobility device or a gym membership and I don't have the spare time to do physical therapy or take as much time off work as I need because I work a normal, full time job and they will fire me if I start acting "too" disabled. I love how you take in consideration your lot in life and how it's not the same for everyone who has a disability!

  • Catalynz says:

    I very much agree. Just being disabled should not be a reason for those who are able to call us inspirational. But I do believe that getting to know someone who is disabled, and who has overcome their limitations in various and sundry ways to do things people told them they could never do is something to be inspired by. Then again, I say this from the position of someone who has never really been called inspirational in that light because most people don't realize I'm disabled, and even among those who do know, I'm not sure they understand how much it affects me and how hard I have to work to do what I do. I mean, my family tells me they're proud of me, but I've never been directly called inspirational.

    Personally, I am very inspired by you. You remind me that being disabled doesn't have to mean that I can't achieve what I want in life, just that I might have to change how I go about it. You inspired me to go back to my doctor's and insist on reexamining my condition and changing my treatment because I was clearly getting worse and the meds I was on weren't helping me anymore. You remind me that self-care is not something to be ashamed of, and that pacing myself, or needing to take time off to take care of myself, or being unable to fulfill all of the tasks on my to-do list in a given day, doesn't make me a failure. You also inspired me to be more open about the fact that I am disabled, and be less ashamed to share my struggles with friends and co-workers. And you've helped me believe that maybe I won't need to be alone for the rest of my life, that love is something that I can expect, and that I wouldn't just be a burden on a partner.

    I think that kind of inspiration is a very important thing. Your channel has meant a lot to me in the last year, and perhaps most importantly, you have helped me to not feel alone, which is honestly something I can never thank you enough for. <3

    (This got a lot more sappy than I had intended!! Sorry! *blushes*)

  • Jamie McCullough says:

    I quite like watching your videos. Your voice is great, I really like your content, and your updates make me feel much less alone being a spoonie and young.

  • Gabby says:

    you're so charming

  • Wheelie Blind says:

    Best ranty type of chat if I do say so myself. I am now someone's inspiration and you know what they can do… they can F off. :-)) cute smile

  • Skyler Sorum says:

    I’m agree as a disable

  • Frida Leigh says:

    Be proud of yourself for trying! This may be offensive to you, but often people don't understand the struggle of chronic illness. I'm absurdly proud of you, (though i don't know you well) for continuing to try. You are doing so so well and it's grounding for me. You're not perfect but it isn't the focus point. Your disabilities make your goals different but it means that those of us whose goals are simply to wake up and leave the bed and try can have a goal to look up to. You're wonderful, don't forget!

  • May Athena says:

    When my dad passed away, my cousin used whatever my family and I suffered as a thing to be thankful she doesn't endure. And it's fine feeling that way, but don't tell ME this! I don't like living without my dad either! AND she used his death as an excuse to not do things with friends A YEAR AFTER HE DIED. Just tell them you're busy, don't use my suffering to get out of doing things you don't feel like doing!

  • madgirlmuahaha says:

    My disabled sister inspires me to treat even the most unsavory situations with dark humor and excessive swearing.

    God, I love that kid.

  • Green Elf says:

    If I am inspired by someone it is because they have already demonstrated an attribute to which I aspire. It does not lessen them in my eyes as the inspired beholder. Infact the opposite. Inspired, breathed in, for me is the active component of admiring someone.

    Perhaps some normals do mean," Ai shame, poor you, well done". Disability lands one a dollop of sink or swim. So if you're swimming you didn't sink, and that is to be admired regardless of the source of the challenges. Disabled or not. Acknowledge my achievement for surmounting the
    challenges, but do not pity me because of the nature of the challenges. Double edge sword. What to do, so many others, so many ways. Lifes too short, smile and run over their foot with your wheelchair.

  • KakapoCode says:

    Wow, I coincidentally uploaded a video on the same subject on the same day! I love what you had to say. ❤️

  • Aaron Lee says:

    1:57 lol we should call majorities people playing life in "easy mode"

  • TheRennellReedChannel says:

    The really inspirational things are jumping out onto a train to save a child's life before they get hit by a train. Not for the sake of existing. Until I do something that's inspirational I just want to be called Rennell.

  • Josephine Anne Weigers says:

    You are so positive, understanding and imaginative. I view you as having a better view of life and yourself because of your determination and creativity. I am inspired by you, and I do understand how the word inspirational can be used incorrectly. However, the fact that you are open, kind and educating people on all issues is what makes me admire you and want to better myself by being more positive and understanding. And for someone who struggles with health issues and disabilities, you inspire me because I see someone who can be strong and happy after going through struggles. It can feel like nothing will get better when my health gets bad, but seeing you push through your struggles and be happy and travel and make these videos has helped me to keep going on and keep pushing forward and viewing life as a positive, beautiful thing because of your strength, determination and self-love. Not everyone has that and not everyone has a family who loving and is there to help them push for higher achievements. So I understand what you are saying, but ppl like you do inspire us because not everyone can get up and keep going if they are or did become disabled or if their illnesses or disabilities worsened. Not everyone has that desire, motivation or strength without having external support and inspiration to keep going on.

  • Becc1tate says:

    Oh my goodness- I get that all the time as a type 1 diabetic. "I just couldn't do that", as if we have a choice in the matter :')

  • Samantha says:

    I need to know what lipstick that is omg 😭👍🌈

  • Reann Hornby says:

    I have a disability and I’m doing a run 5k

  • Naptosis says:

    I get this from my family. I 'inspire them to work through the things they suffer'. I am lying on the sofa, eating instant noodles and drinking vodka straight from the bottle. Every. Single. Day. I hope I inspire everyone reading this too.

  • Kestrel Slater says:

    Had a sub teacher once tell me I was inspirational basically for coming to class. After I had explained I was late because at the time my school wasn’t actually required to keep the elevator unlocked or running and I struggle to get up stairs because disabled. I just kinda sat down and hid because I didn’t know how to respond.

  • Annonimoose Q says:

    The best part is when you have a disability but the school refuses to do anything because you get good grades

  • Justin Stacy says:

    I'll never forget that time I was just looking for a pair of shoes and felt someone grab my hand. A little elderly lady immediately began to pray over me in public in the middle of the store for a few minutes. Although I have no problem with prayer and find it quite useful myself, this was a very awkward encounter from someone I'd never seen before who either felt inspired, sympathetic, or both, just from seeing me walk awkwardly with a cane or something. I couldn't even really be that angry about it, but it definitely made me uncomfortable. I find myself wondering how many times many of us have just chosen the easy "they mean well and aren't malicious" when people have done something that is really, quite…. awkward.

  • protag_ofmyownlife says:

    This is my very, very limited opinion: I'm Autistic and I lean towards more "We should stop calling disabled people inspirational". I think it leads to a narrative that disabled people have to go above and beyond to be recognized as a person and defines them by their struggle/disability. Additionally, I feel like "Oh you're so inspirational!" is hollow when people then pass legislation that makes disabled people's lives harder or uses it as an excuse for cruel shooters. Some people can't ever achieve superhuman things, and that's okay. Personally, I just want to live in a way my peers can: independently and without one thing being my defining trait.

  • Stephanie Legg says:

    I love your eyeshadow and find myself staring at it a lot during your videos! Mesmerizing What is it that you use?

  • Caitlin Quinn says:

    I quite like recognition for effort and intention, not achievement. It's weird though, hating "inspiration porn" but then also getting jealous of visibly disabled people getting recognition while people don't see how hard I work every day because I look "normal". That's definitely coming from me though and is something I'm working on. Feeling allowed to have my pain and illness without recognition or reassurance.

  • Jo B says:

    I had to give spinal fluid for a test, too, and every time you talk about it, I cringe. In memory, but mainly about how, HOW doctors could possibly make a mistake like that which affected your life severely.
    I'm sure there's no point in staying bitter about it, that wouldn't serve you. So I'm not trying to tell you how to feel or that you are in any way wrong. On the contrary, I think how you talk about it shows great maturity. Probably more than I have at this point.
    But as an outsider looking in, I do have a need for justice and hope those doctors were held accountable for their very avoidable mistake. At the end of the day, doctors are just humans. Humans make mistakes. But why make a mistake on someone's else's bloody spine, c'mon guys!!

  • Jo B says:

    P.s. will you ever do something with the very queer TV shows you came up with? 🙂

  • Quinn Jasper says:

    i mean, you are inspirational to me, but that comes from a place of admiration like I admire your positivity, confidence and creativity and want to be like you

  • Yakir Zeevi says:

    Inspiring viedo! As alway! Thank you

  • yo merengues says:

    Haven't anyone noticed we're all (#AutisticHere) called "inspirational" but not "role models"? I think it's because "inspirational" is: "I am glad i'm not you", whereas "role model" is "I would be glad, or at least, Focus on the possitive aspects of being you". You are a role model. You are wise, kindhearted, humble, and always have something to Say. I have a dream there Will someday be a "Disability Legacy Museum", where articles, vídeos, books, films (long and/or short), etc, Made by disabled people who consented it, are kept, so when they die, their wisdom still lives. You would ve featured along with Amy Sequenzia, Amythest Schaber, and many others.

  • James Phillips says:

    If an ignorant person thinks they are all inspirational, they're so dead incorrect!

  • Ella H says:

    I am not physically disabled, I am on the autism spectrum, but I feel like there are parallels. It seems like narratives involving autistic people usually are about autistic children from the view of a neurotypical parent where the child is a burden for the parent to overcome, which almost seems worse than being inspirational? Because at least being labeled as inspirational has some positive connotations? The inspirational mentally disabled child narrative also exist and both of them are so dehumanizing. Idk this is kind of a disorganized thought jumble, sorry

  • Izzy says:

    A while ago someone called my life "undignified" because I have chronic pain and have to have a very restrictive diet. That was… "fun".

  • Jas 6236 says:

    I was once having lunch out with my family and a guy just came up to me and told me he “admired my outlook on life”. Which is pretty funny because I was actually had been in really bad mood the whole time I was there, and I’m pretty sure I had a pained look on my face due to my tummy hurting.
    Abled people are real weird man!

  • edmondse says:

    I get told crap like this all the time because I both have disabilities, am a family carer, have a full time career and both run a performance business and do community service on the side. I constantly get asked 'how do you do it all, and with your disability, you're superhuman' to which I like to respond that actually being a carer from childhood combined with severe anxiety that presents as perfectionist tendencies mean I barely ever rest and if you worked 18+ hour days and we're scared of wasting a minute you would probably be the same. 😆

  • Stephanie Hight says:

    Things about Jessica that are inspirational to me:
    1: You do your eyeliner fabulously
    2:Your hair is amazing
    3: You speak your mind clearly to state your position.
    4: You don't apologize for things that aren't your fault.
    5: You educate people about things they don't know in order to improve the world for everyone.
    6: You look for the positives in life.
    7: You are self-directed and self-employed.
    8: You and your wife so beautifully and naturally show your love for each other to the world.
    Many more things, so thank you for being an inspiration to me.

  • Mimi Ramone says:

    I just figured out who you remind me of. Julie Brown from the 80s on MTV! she had her own show on MTV, “ just say Julie”. It was hilarious. She’s The redheaded (there was also a black Julie Brown, the VJ)..

  • Roxane Kwlski says:

    Woah your makeup is so gorgeous !!

  • Regina Pollack says:

    I just can't disagree with anything ur saying. I think we have a very similar way of looking at things and also basing things on fact. Fantastic. Ur optimism is contagious and refreshing. Thank u.

  • James Westbrook says:

    I remember having my first(and probably best) livestream in late 2015, because at one point I talked about how Bentley in Sly 3 was a great character to me as a kid, since he was disabled but an active PLAYABLE character who played important roles. He was in previous games and had the same playability as he does when he becomes handicapped in the 3rd game. He had jet packs so he could jump around, and even though gameplay wise he was pretty mobile and good(unrealistically obv but it was very nice) he still clearly struggled with self worth when the girl he liked was prefering his abled-bodied main character friend. By the end of that chapter he ends up getting injured helping her and she realizes Bentley is the brave one, and they end up happy together as tech nerds.

    When I said Benyley was a very cool character to me because I was disabled at a young age, I had someone in chat go "wow you're disabled, you're so inspirational!" and given my disabily honestly doesn't ruin a good portion of my career potential and ability to live my life compared to other people who did have disabiliities MUCH more severely affecting their quality of life, I got awkward and made a joke to avoid his comment about me being inspirational.

    "I am inspiring, sexually."
    I honestly might have made the same joke today, due to how sassy/sarcastic I am to people who talk like that xD. (A meme was made based off that quote, that I found out recently is still being kept by my friend which made me laugh and cringe at the same time.)
    But yes, the effort to be nice is clearly there when you say someone is inspirational, but you are delegitimizing a lot of people who have it much worse off. Especially if you're only saying it because you just found out I'm in a wheelchair, and dont know the issues I *actually deal with.

    I don't think I'm inspirational. I'm just trying to enjoy my life and be able to take care of myself. I want to be able to talk about my disability in a positive/happy and normal manner because it's a part of my life, without people being overly sympathetic. Anyone who says it's inspirational comes across to me as an old facebook user who shares all of those "inspirational" stories that are just normal people trying to live their lives, and the person sharing those posts don't help handicapped people in any way.

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