IS THIS HOW STRANGERS REALLY VIEW ME? #1
“Is this how strangers really view me?” Was a question posed by Rebecca, one of our models, as she spoke to us about the ignorance she faces in her daily life. Often, how the world views individuals who are in some way ‘diverse’ whether by disability or otherwise is in conflict with the lives they actually lead. So we brought together people who each know different adversities and lead dynamic lives.
Some of these people are trusted advocates others have lived experience, they each have a story to tell you. By placing these individuals in control of narratives, they know or understand we take power away from ignorance, prejudice, and stereotypes. Instead, we are advancing an authentic narrative.
After lots of thought and advice, we decided the most accessible way was for us to host this content on allisforall.com – for anyone’s viewing. Every image in this will have alt-text, we hope as many people as possible read these words and are empowered by them. We will place each interview up regularly so sign up to our mailing list or follow our Instagram to be notified.
This was made possible by Angela Bevan, Madeleine Brighouse, Anya Brighouse, Adam Bryce, and Hunter Williams. With many thanks to Estee Lauder NZ, particularly Blair Gamblin of Bobbi Brown and Sarika Patel of MAC cosmetics. As well as Kingsize Studios, Showroom 22 and also thanks to Atomic Coffee’s Connor Hill, who helped conceptualise this idea.
The first of these written pieces is below – When ‘Girl Knew York’ is navigating the streets of New York City she goes by Mira Mariah. Mira, a fashion designer turned tattoo artist, is hailed as one of New York’s most promising illustrators. Mira wears her own collection of tattoos in the same way she wears her prosthetic limb – with an unapologetic fierceness.
To my Disabled Sisters,
As a professional internet girl, I like to say if my presence online makes my relationship with my disability look easy, then I am failing my disabled sisters. I will not use my platform just to complain, but my platform must reflect the reality of my disability. If that makes me confusing to able-bodied people, then that’s it seeing it’s intent through. My disability is confusing, and my level of ability, like that of my disabled sisters, is not consistent. I would go as far as to say nobody has a consistent level of ability but a disability certainly enhances this.
At times my disability is a superpower, bringing compassion, joy, and vibrancy to my life, making me feel more interesting, sharpening my problem-solving skills, gracing me with gentleness for others. Other times, my disability is annoying, a quiet consistent buzzing, making minor tasks not impossible but inconvenient, keeping me from doing unessential things I only half want to do anyway, making me – just a little irritable.
And then there are times, that the weight of my disability is so unbearable, even getting to the bathroom, or pouring myself water becomes a war. Days my basic needs are not met, my mood is so lowered my hope is the size of a pinhead. Irritable buzzing from chronic pain might make me snippy, but the suffocating cloud of chronic pain, when it is at its worst makes me angry, sharp-tongued, ungrateful, bitter and overwhelmed. Because those days can’t actually just be spent napping I navigate my daily tasks in a fog and because pride rears its head asking for, or even accepting help feels like failure.
This fluctuation is probably more normal than I think. I hope you’re reading this and relieved. And for every time you have to explain to an able-bodied person why you can dance on Monday night and you can’t get out of bed on Wednesday, I give you a gold star because that shit is exhausting. Energy levels, pain levels, things like that often aren’t so transactional and might not ever be predictable.
What we need is to trust each other. And that goes for the voice in your head that assumes you’re being judged for being able to walk yesterday and not today and maybe tomorrow because people are often less judgmental than you think. We also need to trust the words of those around us, check-in with each other and listen to one another’s needs and accommodate to the best of our own level of ability.
Right now I’m wishing you more good days than bad, I’m with you, I’m rooting for peace navigating the internet and real world, I am championing your success. Diversify your feed, listen to your body, and have the grace with yourself you would have with your dearest friends.