Why do I share my story? Why do I feel it is necessary?
I recently had the good fortune to be featured in an article in the Globe And Mail. The article touched on how a breast cancer diagnosis motivated me to ride with one hand as a result of being born with congenital birth defects, the most noticeable of which are my right arm and hand.
I encourage others to reach for the stars - to not let others influence what they should and should not do, to have the confidence to take that next step.
I have always asked others to not judge people based on their appearance. I have had to navigate this throughout my life. You can't catch, you can't play hockey, you can't type, you can't play guitar, you can't possibly ride a motorcycle...... really?
I heard these things from people who didn't even know me - they had formed opinions based on what they saw when they looked at me. They wouldn't ask how I would accomplish things, they only decided that it was not possible because they could not understand how I could be successful.
This is why I would try to hide my arm. So that I would not be made to feel inadequate. This is why I always pushed myself to excel at whatever I chose to do. This is why it is hard for me to ask for help - because there are some that will decide that I only need help. because I have 1 hand. This is why I look around if I drop my motorcycle - because there are some who will decide that this only happened because I have 1 hand.
I know what it feels like to be invisible when you want to be seen and to be seen when you want to be invisible.
When I was looking for my first job, I was told by a prospective employer who ran a coffee kiosk in a mall that I should be "hidden behind a desk somewhere".
I don't want others to ever have to feel inferior - to be cast out, taunted, judged, discriminated against only because of their appearance.
So I share my story. I share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, my website www.justridin.com. I made my documentary ANGIE - TALES OF DETERMINATION and am writing a book.
I became an Inspirational Speaker.
Why do I share my story? Because of comments like the one which appears below.
Don't feel that by calling me "remarkable" that you can then decide what I should and should not do. This person has decided that;
- I could not stop in an emergency situation
- Riding will and badly for me and. others
- That my riding tests were not adequate otherwise I would not have passed
- That I should not be able to get insurance
Why do they feel this way? Only because of how I look.
I welcome feedback from others and would love to ride with this individual. If this person had their way, I wonder what I would be able to do.
So, I share. my story
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for booking information.