Model: Lorinda Gonzalez
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Grant Writer & Trainer, Grants Inc., LLC
The beauty of life comes in a moment of hysterical laughter with a friend, during a high-energy song that uplifts our spirit or when we first lay eyes on someone we will love for the rest of our life. Being in a wheelchair has molded my perspective of life from the start and taught me to focus on joy and excitement rather than on bitterness and self-pity.
I was raised to see myself as equal to any other person – with or without a disability – just with an extra accessory. My parents supported an active and mainstream lifestyle and insisted that I was included in every activity brought into my experience. Even though many times I had to do things differently than others, and sometimes it took a little open-mindedness and adaptability, there has been nothing I haven’t been able to do. This reality is something I am passionate about sharing with others.
Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes and she’ll conquer the world.” Instead of a pair of shoes, I was given four wheels, a brilliant mind and just enough boldness to see that anything is possible. Experiencing love and true appreciation for life, having the support of loved ones and a deep sense of resilience can transition any barrier into a stepping stone. Stay happy, live life fully, and open your eyes to the beauty around you!
My definition of beauty is when a woman breaks through the barriers of her own mind, giving her inner confidence that, in turn, shines a light to the outside world. This, in turn, transitions the perception of her disability from pity to simply a unique characteristic that makes her beautiful, desirable and sexy!
Photographed by Maria Socarras