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May 7

My Roadtrip to the States!



It was so hard, to be honest.


The first day at Disney World out of my 3wk roadie with my family, I requested the most pictures, mostly staying in my chair. I was comfortable, in considerably less pain, and happy to be where I was. As the day passed and eyes lingered on me longer than I would've liked, and I kept getting cut off in crowds/lineups, the emotional toll began to kick in.

By the end of our 9 days at Disney, I wasn't as confident being in my chair because I knew what it led to. It led to being completely ignored in lines and skipped in front of, it led to parents getting mad at their children for staring, and it led to judgmental glares when I would suddenly get up from my chair to stretch or move around. It led to me breaking down on the inside. It led to strength I forgot I had, as I confronted and tried to teach each fellow human, each stranger, who did me wrong that what they were doing wasn't okay. I can't count how many times I said to strangers, looking up at them from my chair, "I'm still a person too." By the end of my time there, I felt so detached from myself that I didn't feel like a person anymore, but an object to be overlooked.



Of course, these are just the strangers of the crowd. 98% of the Disney staff went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable, accepted, and welcomed on attractions and in stores. In the Haunted Mansion ride, the crew called my chair a carriage, and I thought it was the most awesome thing.


My wheelchair, as you may notice, is bright, neon pink. I chose this when I was 14. Some of the time I regret how girly it looks, but almost all of the time I'm thinking how rad it is that 14 year old me wanted to push the boundaries of what an assistive device looks like.


Getting into my children's lit course, I'm learning about what it means to read a text and get a moral message from it. Inevitably, that's what this piece might do. But all I'm really trying to do is share some of my experiences to better equip the next person with disabilities going on vacation, to remind them that they aren't alone.


Travelling, like everyday life, is harder for us than the average person, but it can still be done.✨


New Posts
  • https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/opinion-story/9218527-a-peterborough-student-s-relationship-with-personal-and-physical-grief/ This week's #TessaTakesCharge I open up to the public in a way I didn't expect myself too. Grief isn't a taboo topic for me, but I have never talked about this kind of ultra-personal, physical grief I feel just by being on my own campus almost everyday. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here is a crucial exerpt from the piece: "Coming to university was one of the hardest decisions I made, not because of money, or time commitment, or dedication, but because I was putting myself in an environment of primarily able-bodied people. Obviously, these people walking or running up the Bata steps may have internal disabilities that I cannot see, but it is a constant test for me, as an amputee, to watch each student who has full-leg mobility just walk. It can be traumatic to watch anyone just walk. This is grief." I'm very grateful that I'm able to attend University, on scholarships nonetheless, and this is an obstacle I face all the time. I wrote this piece because I wanted to be a voice for others who've ever felt this way before, but didn't know how to put it into words. I wanted those people to remember they're seen and recognized, and just as important. I've actually had someone reach out and say this column did exactly that for them. After reading, does anyone else feel the same? You feel alienated in an environment you're supposed to undoubtedly feel accepted / welcomed in. It's strange, and something to adjust to; you just have to remember that people do care, and your real friends will always be there for you. Please enjoy the column, and as always, your feedback is greatly appreciated! ❤❤
  • Hello everyone! I have been absent the last few days with QOTDs and general maintenance because my partner and I were reunited this weekend after 5 weeks apart! It can definitely be difficult dating someone who's career is the military, but it's very much worth it for all the overwhelming love and support I receive from him. I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day (weekend), and are now enjoying Family Day. Speaking from a place of gratitude to have a family that is very much together and united, I recognize that not everyone has the same dynamics and/or support. So if you're by yourself today, or experiencing the repercussions of trauma, or whatever the case may be, please try and remember you're not alone, and I got your back - as does your community here! In light of this, I'd like to ask: Who is someone (blood-relative or not), that you've always looked up to / idolized? For me there are two people - one blood-relative, and one not. Those two people are my mom, Annie, and Terry Fox. Both of these people are hero-figures to me, and I'm very grateful to have their influence in my life - even though I never had the privilege of even meeting Terry Fox. I think that's it for today! Don't forget to share your thoughts, or post about how you're feeling today in 'Free Flow', or wherever you like. I may not be directly online as much, but I do see all your messages when they come in. Lots of love, -Tess
  • Good morning loves; happy Valentine's Day! (or Galentine's Day; or the-most-expensive-day-to-buy-flowers, depending on your stance!) In light of it being a love-obsessive day, I thought I'd go along with it and ask you today's question: What do you do to practice self-love? I often post on my own social media about the importance of self-love even if/when you're in a relationship. It is true that you cannot wholeheartedly love somebody else if you don't love yourself first; this is a lesson I've learned time and time again. So while I'm in a good relationship myself right now, something I really like to do for self-care/self-love is to make time for my art. Lately I've been really into making collages in a little notebook I carry around everywhere with me. On the days I don't have time for something that takes this much emotional thought, I'll write a little poetry or prose, or just read my go-to poets. Art is the most important thing I have within myself, so it makes me feel really good when I allow myself the time to practice. I get some good music going, make some tea or hot chocolate, curl up with some blankets and my dogs, and get to art-ing. Sometimes I sketch too! It depends on the day :) Anyway, I should really be doing my readings for school now - class in an hour! Have a lovely day everyone, Tess