Feelings of self-doubt, but also determination.
One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced in my life was when I was to be assessed and graded for a brown belt in the martial art of Ju-Jitsu. A challenge that I didn’t think I would be able to overcome, but which I did.
The grading of the martial art of Ju-Jitsu centres around achieving different belts. Depending on how far you have come, you have a different colour represented on your belt. All beginners start with a white belt. Then follows the yellow; orange; green; blue; brown; and finally black belt grading. When I started practicing Ju-Jitsu 10 years ago, I never thought I would even progress to yellow belt. Therefore, the thought of one day graduating to brown belt and maybe even black belt seemed like something impossible for me to ever achieve.
Since I am in a wheelchair, I do all my techniques sitting down and I would therefore do my grading while in the wheelchair. I was very nervous about my assessment on the day of grading, and I remember having thoughts spinning all over in my head. Feelings of doubt, but also a determination, and that I really wanted to make it.
I had proven to myself that the impossible was actually possible.
During my grading, I checked my Instructor several times to see if his facial expressions would reveal how I was doing. But he didn’t reveal anything, so I just had to keep going and keep trying my best. After what felt like an eternity, my assessment and grading was done, and when my Instructor walked up and tied the brown belt around my waist, I felt like the luckiest person in the world. Not only because I had passed my grading and received my new belt, but also because I had proven to myself that what I initially thought was impossible was actually possible in the end. Now the next goal awaits, which is achieving a black belt, and it no longer feels impossible.
Everyone must be allowed to be part of society.
Inclusion is very important to me. I place great value on everyone being allowed to be a part of society and that everyone should be given the opportunity and conditions to be so. My commitment when it comes to inclusion is primarily about including people with disabilities in society. Society today is constantly working on inclusion and we have come a long way. However, there are always things to work on and improve.
The more you can normalize different types of people in society, the better.
It was only natural that I should get involved in inclusion issues concerning disabled people’s right to free movement/inclusion because I myself am in a wheelchair and have a visual impairment. For me, it is very positive to be one of the models in this photo shoot. The more you can normalize different types of people in society, the better. I sit on the board of the national organization Young People with Visual Impairment (US). Young people with visual impairments are the youth association of the Visually Impaired Swedish Confederation (SRF). Both SRF and US work to include people with visual impairments in society. For example, there may be questions relating to the right to transport services or the right to adapted education.
Promote the disabled’s right to physical activity.
Another thing that is important to me, and which also falls under the topic of inclusion, is to promote the disabled’s right to physical activity; and that we should have inclusive sports and association activities. In my spare time, I practice martial arts. I have been on the board of Swedish Budo and the Martial Arts Association’s Para Committee for about a year now. Within this committee, we focus on issues that centres around martial arts for para-practitioners, i.e. for people with disabilities. But we are also working to include martial arts for para-practitioners in the martial arts for people without disabilities, so that there are no separate groups. Everyone practices with everyone. Something that I find very enjoyable is lecturing, and I have lectured several times at, among other things, upper secondary schools, associations and folk high schools about inclusion, community and about my life, and what it is like for me to live with a disability.
My disability should never be an obstacle that prevents me from doing what I want.
I constantly strive to become more independent and to manage things by myself in my everyday life. I live by the motto that my disability should not be an obstacle that prevents me from doing what I want. I chose to start using a wheelchair about 9 years ago. At the time, I thought that the wheelchair would limit me, that I wouldn’t be able to do all the things that you can when you walk. But the fact is, I was wrong. I can do almost the same things today as I did 9 years ago without my wheelchair. The wheelchair has in many ways been a great help towards my independence.
The feeling of success is my motivation.
To me, being independent means that I should be able to choose to accept help or chose to do things myself. Being able to make this choice motivates me. Something else that motivates me a lot is the feeling of success. The joy and pride I feel inside when I succeed at something, ( Especially the things which I didn’t initially believe I could do) gives me an energy boost. Because I have a disability, I can’t always do things like everyone else, but I’ve learned to do things my way. You don’t always have to do things like everyone else, but you must find what works for you.
In my head, I always succeed in my challenges
Often when I must do something that is challenging for me, I visualize it as pictures in my head. These pictures show how I tackle the challenge. In my head, I always succeed in my challenges. Visualizing a picture internally helps me succeed with the challenges in real life. Of course, I don’t always succeed, despite the visualization in my head. But it makes it easier and more hopeful to keep pushing forward, onwards, and upwards.