It’s been a minute since I touched base with you. Ummm, more like several months! I’m feeling the friend guilt. Kinda like when it’s New Year’s Eve and you and your tipsy BFF clink your champagne glasses, yell cheers, and agree that you’ll “definitely go out for drinks soon”. The next thing you know, it’s the 4th of July and you still haven’t seen each other. Life gets in the way, y’all!
In my case, life included the birth a beautiful granddaughter and the subsequent month-long hospitalization of my daughter afterward. No worries though. Both are home, happy and healthy, but whew, what a crazy tightrope of a month.
Champagne toasts and IV drips aside, I’ve continued to create and shape the content for my book, Does This Cane Make My Butt Look Big?. Whether it’s through my own observations, research or shared experiences from others, I’m always on the hunt for teachable, relatable stories that can change the way people think about living with a disability. That’s why I deliberately chose “Thought Hacks” in the subtitle of the book.
About that subtitle…because I’m not married to it…yet
27 Thought Hacks for Tackling Vanity, Self-Worth and Disability in a Woman’s World
After reading that subtitle do you instantly understand who this book caters to and how it’s going to help them?
When you see Thought Hacks, were you confident the book was going to provide you with alternative ways to think about living with a disability? A new perspective? Because that is the premise of this book, but if I can’t clearly express my intention in the subtitle, a reader may never pick it up.
Here’s the cool part, and where I need your help. Well, at least your thoughts, ideas, and/or suggestions for an alternative subtitle. I’m going to share with you one of the 27 Pain Points (obstacles, difficulties) from the book along with the corresponding Thought Hack (different way of thinking). After you’ve given it a quick read, let me know if the current subtitle clearly explains the intent of the book. I’ve listed a poll of several alternative subtitles after the book excerpt. I would love to hear which of those listed subtitles you think best describes the type of advice I’m trying to offer. Here’s the excerpt…
“PAIN POINT—WORK/CAREER IDENTITY
Why do people struggle with their identities after becoming physically disabled? At least, why for so long? Are we cocky enough to think that it couldn’t happen to us? Did the combination of how your body looked and what it was able to physically accomplish determine the real you, or are you more than that? I know you are, but some people are harder to convince. The shear thought of possibly losing an ability, talent or occupation makes them think their life is over and spiral into depression. I am by no means discounting the potential effects of depression on our society, but come on! You need to rationally think this through before you take the plunge into the dark side. You likely have decades left on this planet, and no one wants to hear you incessantly complain about what you can’t do or whimpering about who you used to be.
Until about six years ago, I was able to type 90 words per minute, and it served me well throughout my 30-year career in the legal and medical fields. Today, thanks to minimal dexterity in my right hand, I may type 15 to 20 words per minute. It’s not up to the standards of positions I’ve held in the past, but here I am, using voice-recognition software and filling in the gaps with two-finger typing to write a book that can help thousands of people around the world. You don’t have to lose your voice or your value just because you’ve lost your physical skills. In today’s world of electronic connectivity, apps, touch screens, voice recognition and the ability to work with only a laptop or even a smartphone are all a person needs to thrive and make a difference on this planet. From a secluded mountaintop to the sandy shores of a tropical beach, as long as you have an internet connection, there is zero reason not to be making a productive contribution to this world and making money while you do it.
Marianela from Atlanta was the director at a nonprofit organization for 18 years and was very active in the community. She shared, “I loved my job. My salary was a joke, but helping people is my calling in life. Due to my disability, in 2014, I had to stop working. It was really hard. I’ve always been the person helping, listening and supporting others. Suddenly I was just a stay-at-home mom. I have a Latino background, and I love dancing and going out with friends and family. The pain and mobility issues were making that hard too. At first, I was sad and frustrated, but after a while, I realized I’m the same person. If I didn’t see myself the same way, people wouldn’t see me the same way either. So I tried to be the same person within my limitations. I started volunteering at my daughter’s school, dancing while sitting down, and turning up music and singing to my playlist. I’m well known at my daughter’s school. I even sit on the school council board!”
THOUGHT HACK: If you had a child or family member who became physically disabled in a tragic accident, would you instantly think that they were doomed to a life without purpose or contribution? No, you wouldn’t! You would encourage them and do everything in your power to help them find their new niche that made them feel like a worthy and integral part of society. You need to do the same for yourself.
Reinvent yourself. Just like the kid who was the biggest geek in your high school class but returned to your 10-year reunion as a stylish, savvy entrepreneur or the newly retired accountant who turned their lifetime hobby of painting into a passion project, you too can turn your ship of adversity around by taking a completely new direction in your life. They were able to remove themselves from their prior existence and become something they had always dreamed of being but needed that change of scenery to make it happen. Make your disability your change of scenery. These new opportunities may be even more exciting and rewarding than anything you’ve ever dreamed of and designed perfectly to suit where you and your physical abilities currently stand. Did you hear that? Abilities.
TAKEAWAY: You are worthy of the same respect, patience and encouragement that you would provide to your child or a beloved friend or family member. If you don’t see yourself in the same way, those around you won’t either. Acknowledge and adapt to the changes. Learn something new that you love as much as or more than your previous occupation or hobbies. Don’t want to abandon your area of expertise? Build on your old skill set in a different way. Teach or counsel in your area of expertise. Create an online workshop. Use your perceived misfortune as an opportunity to explore new endeavors without losing the true essence of YOU.”
Now, imagine 26 more Pain Points and Thought Hacks. Those will be the meat of this book along with short fun challenges, tips and thought shifting tricks.
Now that you’ve read the excerpt, would you keep the original subtitle?
Below is the poll of alternative subtitles I mentioned above. Keep in mind, it’s all about the way we think. CLICK ON YOUR FAVORITE! Your input means a lot to me!
Now, I’ve got to get back to writing, editing, writing, editing, writing…
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