Since the Fourth of July is right around the corner, we are going to spend this post dedicating it to our womanhood by highlighting an Independent MW, Delaina Parrish. To us, the term independence has many different meanings. However, one word comes to mind when we think of independence: Freedom. Whether it be financial freedom, freedom of expression, or freedom of speech — independence is a word we are all familiar with. For Delaina Parrish, the word independence carries a lot of meaning for her. Delaina was born with a unique ability, Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy, or CP, affects muscle tone and person’s ability to move freely. People with disabilities, especially women, want to be independent as much as possible.
“Independence comes in many forms, and often is taken for granted in America; from freedom of speech to freedom to speak; from women’s rights to disability rights; from equal access to medical care to equal access to higher education, it all matters.
“Independence comes in many forms, and often is taken for granted”
As a young woman with a disability, I have a slightly different perspective on independence and what it means to me. For most of my life, my parents, therapists, and doctors have played a substantial role in my decision making. As I grew up, I came to realize that I wouldn’t be fully “independent” and would always need assistance for daily living routines. That meant I would have to learn to speak up for myself and advocate for my own decisions.
“From then on, the word independence took on a new meaning. Being independent is having the will to live my life the way I want to no matter who lends a helping hand.”
From then on, the word independence took on a new meaning. Being independent is having the will to live my life the way I want to no matter who lends a helping hand. While my Cerebral palsy does come with physical challenges, my self-confidence has been the most difficult barrier I had to overcome. Thankfully, I was born with a high sense of self-perseverance to cope with the challenges I face throughout my life, which has been a big benefactor in how I approach life. Our victories are different from others’. For example, most people don’t have to think about forming their muscles to complete a simple task such as getting dressed in the morning, as it takes me great effort and energy to complete this same task. No matter the level of Independence, it is a badge of honor and we need to keep fighting for it. Living fearlessly independent is a lifestyle and that’s exactly how I plan to live my life.”