When we think about body image, we rarely consider its diversity. Social Justice is expanding the way we view ourselves and our connection to others. We recreate ourselves as we open our lives to experiences, views, and bodies different from our own. In recognition of Disability History and Awareness Month, BodyImage4Justice is honored to present today’s reflection by Kamisha Heriveaux, a young leader from the EPIC Service Warrior program.
When I think of my body, four words come to mind: vulnerable, powerful, driven and weak. As a woman with a disability, I have received a variety of messages about how my body does or does not fit what a person should be. Having a physical disability changes the way others often view me. My body, my mind, and my spirit are not always the first things seen, and are not always what people base their interactions with me on. Instead they see my chair. My chair has played a part in how I view my body, but my ongoing fight is to get others to understand that my chair does not define me.
I continue to work on myself, and surround myself with others who don’t treat me differently based on my chair. I am lucky to have supportive family and friends, and to be part of programs and communities that help me continue to find my power and myself as I embrace the body I have been given. My body may not be what magazines, television, and society see as the norm, but I am proud of my body, my ability and my disability. As I continue to grow with that knowledge, I hope that other young people with disabilities can begin to embrace the power and beauty their body holds.
– Kamisha Heriveaux
EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities) prepares young people with disabilities to be actively engaged community leaders through education, leadership development and community service. EPIC Service Warriors is a one year community service and leadership development program for youth with disabilities in the Greater Boston Area. Learn more at http://www.epicleaders.org