Remember in the movie "The Sixth Sense", how ghosts looks depended on how they believed they looked?
Don't you wish you can do that in real life? What if you can?
It's been so long since I looked at myself in a wheelchair, so long that I almost forgot the wheelchair exists. My days are packed full with typical concerns of a 30 year old.
At work, it's business, travel, closing deals, managing the people around me and promotions.
At home, it's relationship, marriage, friends and family.
At times, I stress about things, I get angry at the unjust treatments I have to endure at work. But in the midst of all my life struggles, the last thing that crosses my mind is my disability.
I remember someone asked me once, how do you find job searching in a wheelchair? I thought about it and said :
"I'm young, I'm a female, I'm Asian, I work in investment banking at Vice President level... The wheelchair is the least of my worries."
Your life is what you make it. People perceive you as how you project yourself.
And you, are the most powerful person at determining how the world sees you.
It will be a long journey before we physically walk out of our wheelchairs. In the meantime, YOU can make the wheelchair disappear in other people's eyes.
My husband and I both used to hang out in a big group of single guys and girls, which is how we met. As a young, up and coming fund manager, he used to attract attention from all kinds of girls. After we got together, I would often ask him how he found the strength to date - and eventually, marry - a quadriplegic.
His answer was simple:
"It never bothered you, So it never bothered me. In fact I hardly noticed the chair was there."
I remind myself of that every time I go into an important meeting, every time I meet new people.
Ask the loved ones around you; they will tell you they only see you and not the chair. Now, the second half of the job is to project that to the whole world.
Ignore the uncomfortable glances and put my hand out before they have time to contemplate whether or not they should shake hands.
Head high, chest out.
Engage with my eyes and warm smiles,
Distract them with conversations.
Watch them relax before my eyes, and start talking to ME and not to ‘the girl in the chair.’
Many people did it before me and many of you will do it, too.
You know hard work always pays, and you know, YOU, are the most powerful person in your life.
So go on... Reclaim your body and take control of your life! Because you can!