Keep Pushing

I was unable to find anyone who recorded (or even took a picture!) of the LPA Speakers’ Night, but I wanted to share my piece with you. I plan on recording me speaking it, but wanted to share it with you (written) in the meantime. So, without further stalling, here is my LPA Speakers’ Night Piece entitled: Keep Pushing.

#lpaSD2014 #LPA Speakers Night

As I embark upon the birth of my second child, I find the title of my piece ironic.

Keep pushing.

While that’s not my birthing mantra- that one is just breathe- Keep pushing is my mission in life.

Letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, so why do other people expect me to allow such behaviors from them?

The answer is simple. The answer points a finger. The answer stings. The answer is me.

People treat others as they are allowed to. Sad? Pathetic? Lame? You bet. But it’s the truth. We love to take advantage of life- be lazy where we can be. We often, as humans, forget the implications of our language.

We let people call us homo, fat, crazy, midget, whore. Because as a culture stopping these things is too “politically correct”. We fear that we are being “too sensitive”, we aren’t raising tough kids, or we ourselves do not have thick skin.

“Good luck this time!”
“Good for you- trying again.”
“Sucks you didn’t know before she was born.”
“Is there anything they can do for her when she’s older to make her taller?”

Fellow humans have said these things to me. Why does the world view dwarfism as something to be cured, rather than embraced as a difference?

We don’t want to question what others say. We give up our right to know about ourselves when we don’t ask the hard questions.

“I don’t know.”
“We will learn together.”
“Let’s come back to that.”
“This is my first one.”

Doctors have said these things to me. Why is the education about dwarfism so slim that many medical professionals fear the diagnosis of dwarfism- offering patients little education and less options.

My mantra, Keep pushing. For respect, for knowledge.

Do you see it yet? Do you feel the need to push?

There is change that can be made. There is change that needs to be made. There are generations coming up behind you and me, behind the children being born today and the children following them. There are millions of people yet to be born, and thousands will have a form of dwarfism.

But they will not be dwarfs.

They will be painters and doctors. They will be writers and scientists. They will be political leaders and dreamers and veterinarians. Those born with a form of dwarfism will love and be loved. They will change lives and shape the world for future generations. The way we need to now.

There is a need to define ourselves by what we want as a community and let the masses, not the few, lead the way. Television shows that pigeonhole this community, media misconceptions, movies and comedians are things of the past when we push- and keep pushing- to be defined not as little people, but as people. Height doesn’t make someone smart, or happy, or better than. Average height just makes you average.

Be spectacular regardless. Keep pushing.

When a doctor tells me they do not know, I ask, “how will you find the answer?” When I am given news about a health concern and then that same medical professional attempts to leave the room, I ask for further explanation. I ask what our course of action is. I ask what their medical opinion and experience are. What is the timeline. How do we proceed? I push to know more. I push to make them answer. To make them accountable for their diagnosis. I refuse to let Google do my doctoring. I refuse to leave not knowing.

Too many parents email me with the same story. It goes like this: The doctors told me my baby would be a dwarf. They gave me a packet of papers and told me to make appointments for these things. They told me to be prepared, but not for what.

More often than not, I offer my telephone number. I spend hours each week calming mothers-to-be and new parents. Not giving medical advice, but offering an ear and listening to questions that are left unanswered. Unanswered concerns from a doctor who left their patients with a handout and maybe a few people to call.

This is not OK. This is not how patients should be treated. Dwarfism is not unknown. Specialists exist!

In my hours on the phone I’ve looked up local hospitals with clinics, referred many to our own team in Delaware, and always given out the LPA’s website. Hours spent giving the same basic information that needs to be readily available to all patients with a diagnosis of dwarfism. Support, love and most importantly, knowledge.

Keep pushing.

Keep pushing so that when someone sees a person of short stature they smile, the same smile they offer any other human on the street. Why? Because a person of short stature is any other human.

Keep pushing to make changes, because if there is such an uprising about a professional football team name change, then there should be a change across the nation of high school sports teams named The Midgets. Because other people do not decide what offends you. Because other people don’t control our emotions. Because being sensitive, caring, respectful people is what defines a civilized culture. That is what humanity means. Because even doctors need to learn something new every day. Because bedside manner isn’t dead (and neither is chivalry, if you were wondering).

There isn’t a facet of our culture that doesn’t need advocacy from our community, so be that voice. Never stop pushing because it doesn’t bother you anymore, or because you think one person can’t make a difference. One voice. One community. One change at a time.

Keep pushing because letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, and I won’t being defined by anyone but myself.

 

40 Comments

Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

40 Responses to Keep Pushing

  1. Michelle

    Wow, you are an inspiration. That’s all I can say. I am inspired by your passion!!

  2. Such a great (and important!) message!!!
    Sarah recently posted…Sensory Bottles for Toddlers! DIY FUN!My Profile

  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I was checking in for a doctors appointment one day last week and they are in the process of changing over from paper to digital records. I was up at the desk with the receptionist and she asked me something (I don’t remember what it was), but it was a weird question and as soon as she asked me whatever it was, she leaned over and said to me “I don’t know why they even ask that – it’s retarded”. My jaw literally dropped. I was appalled and I pretty much told her as much. It’s just plain offensive and for a “professional” to drop that word to someone – especially a stranger – was horrifying.

    But yeah, people are ignorant and really need to think before they start saying things like that.

  4. You are so inspiring. It’s so difficult sometimes when people are negative but like you said – just keep pushing ;)
    Elizabeth @ Being MVP recently posted…Island Travels in Zutano + #GiveawayMy Profile

  5. When I read your posts, I am truly inspired. I like” When a doctor tells me they do not know, I ask, “how will you find the answer?” ” When it comes to our family be have to be the Mother Bears and take care of business. :)
    Carlee C recently posted…FREE Popcorn App and a Movie Playdate with Pop Secret! #PerfectPopMy Profile

  6. This is such a beautiful post. You are an inspiration to so many and a true advocate for your daughter. She is very lucky to have you as her mommy.
    Robin (Mom Foodie) recently posted…Zoobean Your Resource for Summer Reading #zoobeanexpertMy Profile

  7. This is a great post. We have a tendency to let other people define us, because we all want to be accepted. The hard truth is that the only person that we absolutely must have acceptance from is ourselves.
    Jennifer recently posted…Win Free Internet for a Year SweepstakesMy Profile

  8. You are quite the inspiration. Most people give up in a moment of defeat, but I like how you “keep pushing.” That’s a great message that can apply to all aspects of our lives.
    Meagan recently posted…Finding Flattering Swimsuits for your Body TypeMy Profile

  9. This post is all kinds of awesome, sure makes me smile. Also – the things that people say blow my mind. I have twins and have gotten ‘better you then me’ a lot. WTH?!!? Since when is having a kid {or two} something to be pitied?!
    Tammi @ My Organized Chaos recently posted…Generations Riviera Maya Launches Little Eko ChefsMy Profile

  10. Pam

    Amen! Your piece brought tears to my eyes. As the mom of a child who is often defined by her illness, I agree. Keep pushing! We can make a difference.

  11. I love this! Society is loaded with a bunch of ignorant people who have no manners! Bring different is not a death sentence, it just means you are extra cool!!
    Amy D recently posted…Homemade Macaroni and Cheese & Roasted BBQ Spare RibsMy Profile

  12. In the short time I’ve been reading your blog, you have blossomed so much. I love how you are pushing and reaching and learning and sharing!
    Liz Mays recently posted…Saving Money on Summer TravelMy Profile

  13. Its great that you are sharing all your progress. Being your own person is not other peoples place to have a say.
    Tess recently posted…Photo editing apps for your phone AND a Flash Giveaway!My Profile

  14. Your post is so inspiring and it really hit me. I’ve had a rough week and I am going to keep pushing. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. This is an amazing speech. It is wonderful to see you speak about your courage. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I agree — beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your story with us!
    Brittany C. @ Mom. Wife. Busy Life. recently posted…3 Ingredient Chocolate Banana Ice CreamMy Profile

  17. Love love love this message Chelley! xoxo I love that you guys never stop pushing :-)
    Jessica Morrison recently posted…Baby Palooza and William’s First Photo Op!My Profile

  18. I love reading your words. They are passionate and inspiring. Good for you for pushing back and getting the answers you need!
    Emily recently posted…Stop Burning Popcorn! #PerfectPop #GoodbyeBurnedPopcornMy Profile

  19. Brett

    This is such an inspiring post. I love how you have a positive approach.

  20. Angie Martin

    So beautifully written and the message is powerful. Important in so many ways! I wish I was there to hear it live:) Tears:) THANK YOU! I have continued to follow your blog for months and look forward to reading your posts! Best wishes:)

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