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๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜‘๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜”๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ?!

It took a long time for me to come to terms with being โ€œ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™,โ€ let alone feel any ๐•ก๐•ฃ๐•š๐••๐•–. I had a complex relationship with the word. On one hand, my body failed me in ways that made me feel I wasnโ€™t able-bodied. On the other hand, my body hadnโ€™t failed me ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ that I felt like I "๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅโ€ the title of ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™; as if there was a certain amount of suffering I had to endure to qualify.

Over time I realized that ๐š๐š’๐šœ๐šŠ๐š‹๐š’๐š•๐š’๐š๐šข ๐š•๐š˜๐š˜๐š”๐šœ ๐š๐š’๐š๐š๐šŽ๐š›๐šŽ๐š—๐š ๐š˜๐š— ๐šŽ๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š›๐šข ๐š™๐šŽ๐š›๐šœ๐š˜๐š—; it comes in all shapes and sizes. But even once I came to terms with having a disability, I still struggled with calling myself ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™. For the longest time I felt like my disabilities and chronic illnesses were something to be ashamed of and that I had to hide from the world. I felt like I wouldnโ€™t get into veterinary school or be employable if I openly claimed my disabilities. Eventually, my disabilities impacted my life and my ability to be successful in veterinary school to the point where I couldnโ€™t hide it anymore; I needed to ask for help. Once I started to open up about being ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™ and chronically ill, I was met with mixed reactions. Some people welcomed me into the veterinary community just as I was. Others judged me before knowing me. They judged me for something I couldnโ€™t control before they could witness the things I could control, like work ethic and dedication. But gradually, I realized I didnโ€™t want to work for or with anyone who viewed me as an inconvenience or less than qualified because I am ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™. I want to work with those who value and give opportunities for growth and learning, not those who feel I have to constantly prove myself because I have a disability. Iโ€™m here to show that ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ฎ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ-๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ. Itโ€™s not a dirty word you should be scared to say. There is NO shame in being ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™™, and itโ€™s not something you have to hide. ๐•‹๐•™๐•–๐•ฃ๐•– ๐•š๐•ค ๐•’ ๐•ก๐•๐•’๐•”๐•– ๐•—๐• ๐•ฃ ๐•ก๐•–๐• ๐•ก๐•๐•– ๐•จ๐•š๐•ฅ๐•™ ๐••๐•š๐•ค๐•’๐•“๐•š๐•๐•š๐•ฅ๐•š๐•–๐•ค ๐•š๐•Ÿ ๐•ง๐•–๐•ฅ๐•–๐•ฃ๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•’๐•ฃ๐•ช ๐•ž๐•–๐••๐•š๐•”๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•–


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