This guest blog comes from Sitting Pretty Vlogger, LoLo. She lives in California and documents her life on her YouTube channel while also being the Dating 'Cur8er' for Cur8able. Sassy, stylish and strong, Lolo shares her journey towards self love in the dating game as a woman with a physical disability.
"It amazes me that it took until almost 30 years old to finally grasp what it means to have self worth.
The years I’ve spent holding my subconscious mind hostage to negative thoughts about myself and believing in my insecurities are indescribable now that I’ve finally recognized a glorious part of who I am. The fact that I was able to hide how I really felt about myself from others was something like a magician. All this time wasted doubting myself was rooted in the fact that I am physically disabled and use a wheelchair. School, work, pursuing my dream and purpose was never an issue. It comes so naturally for me to work hard and plan every move I need to make to achieve a goal. But love and romantic relationships have been the most difficult area of my life to become successful in.
I was diagnosed with A.L.S. (which I recently discovered could POTENTIALLY be a misdiagnosis) at 14 years old. In high school I wore leg braces because my legs had gotten weaker and I needed the support in lifting my foot off the ground to walk around campus.
Around the infamous age of 16 is when I started to notice that everyone else was having boyfriends and receiving love letters except me. I thought to myself, “Who would REALLY want me as a girlfriend? I can barely walk. I wear these leg braces. I’m as skinny as a toothpick. I can’t play sports. I can’t dance anymore. I never wore “girly” clothes…so why would a guy like me in that way?” Before I knew it, I’d talked myself out of being loved and settled in believing I was only good enough to be “just a friend.”
Today, as a grown woman, I realize it’s a gift and a curse. It’s one of the best parts of me, being able to create and maintain platonic relationships with men. On the flip side, I’ve spent many years secretly loving a male friend as I watched him love someone else, feeling my insecurity of not being “good enough” grow, and having many conversations with men who bragged about how they wanted to pursue other women as if I wasn't sitting directly in front of them. This wasn’t the case with all my male friends, just a handful during my younger days. Nonetheless, the experiences affected me in my early adult life when dating was much more frequent.
When I finally went off to college and transitioned from leg braces to a power wheelchair my desire for a relationship became much more prevalent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried, yelled and ranted, about, “What do those girls have that I don’t?” The only difference I could see was my disability and my wheelchair, but that was something I couldn’t help or control. I can’t change that, so now what? I started thinking, “Besides my disability, what about me is unattractive to men, and can I change those things?”
I started comparing every aspect of myself, trying to identify my femininity based on what my friends did or what I saw celebrities were doing, which is probably the WORST thing that you can do to yourself as a person, especially as a woman. I started making active changes. I began wearing makeup, which I’ve actually learned to love. I changed up my clothes and started showing more skin. I started wearing heels because I figured, if I’m not going to walk in them, why not wear them? I’ll admit, it definitely started to make me feel more feminine and I loved it, but it still didn’t seem to make a difference in my dating life. So I thought, “I’ve upgraded my look, what else, within my ability, can I change to be more attractive to men?”
Then I bought a self-help book titled “Powerful and Feminine” by Rachel Jayne Groover. What drew me to her book was how it is focused on re-training your energy to attract the attention you want versus a “do’s” and “don’ts” list like other books. As I read the book I got to where she explained that a woman’s feminine energy comes from our hips and our walk. These are the core areas in how to exude feminine energy out to the world and essentially attract men. When I kept seeing how often it was referenced throughout the book, I just thought to myself, “It’s over for me. I’m never going to be able to show how feminine I can be, I’m forever going to be just the friend, and men will never be attracted to me enough to actually want to date me. AGAIN another thing thrown in my face to remind me of something I can’t do thanks to my disability.” I legitimately was sad because of it. I wanted to change this area of my life so badly and now it seemed it would be impossible to achieve. Literally there was nothing I felt like I could do; I felt helpless and unsure about myself once again.
But I knew I couldn’t feel this way forever. I was tired of being overlooked and under appreciated in my relationships and interactions with men.
After spending a lot of time by myself, I realized my focus to change was all wrong. My motivation to change anything about myself should’ve NEVER been about men. It should’ve never been about wanting to impress others because what is meant for me will come naturally and will never feel forced. In that moment it was like a domino effect. Light bulb after light bulb went off in my head of every thing I was misunderstanding about myself and my motivation to change. Then the biggest light bulb went off; I recognized that my disability was not the root to my insecurities, but was in fact, the solution I was looking for during this journey of learning to love myself. My disability is not to blame for the things that go “wrong” in my life. It is what I need to embrace because it’s a huge part of what makes me special and who I am. It’s my disability that drives me to be successful in my purpose, my purpose is rooted in how I live fearless as a wheelchair woman, so I had to love my disability in order to love myself. And like the saying goes, if you don’t love yourself, no one else will.
Coming into that self-awareness was like the glass of a fish tank breaking. I was overwhelmed in my newly found confidence that I had not known I even possessed. I learned that I could never be fully happy with who I am if I don’t love my disability. Now that I love every part of me, no person, nor their actions could ever make me feel like I’m not “good enough.” I know it’ll take patience, strength to keep the insecurities away, and even making some mistakes, but I feel powerful in knowing I’ve become the woman I know I am meant to be. As far as my dating life goes, the desire of looking to be in a relationship has fallen by the way side. I’m no longer searching. I’m allowing love to happen organically, so in the meantime, I’ll be right here just “sitting pretty” until the day love arrives.
Facebook: Lolo Sitting Pretty