Meet Kae, a strong, empowered and creative woman who also happens to live with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2B, a physical disability. Kae shares her journey in understanding herself while also sharing her reality with her community online and in person. This is just a snippet of the full conversation between Kae and Mary – which you can now listen to the whole conversation on our podcast.
M: This has been, I know I’ve said this before, it’s long overdue. You and I have been internet friends for actual years now. I realize it was definitely before the pandemic that we became internet friends. And I’m just going to blame the pandemic as to why we haven’t met in person. And now I live in LA and you’re in Toronto, so I’m going to blame that as why we haven’t met in person. But here we are together and I’m so excited to chat and get to know you a little bit more and have our community get to know you.
K: I’m so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me. It’s long overdue to finally chat and connect in a real world.
M: So for people who don’t know you, who aren’t following you the way that I am, what are three things that you would want people to know about you?
K: You know, it’s funny, when I read your questions, I’m like, what do I want people to know? I was getting really deep about it, because I think when you have a disability, it really messes with your identity. So then I’m like, do I introduce people with my disability or do I not as me without it? But I’m so intertwined now. It’s like, I have to announce it now. This is a part of me. And I don’t want people to be like, your illness is not your identity or your personality. Oh yeah, it is because it’s affected and shaped me. So yes, I guess. Hi, everyone. I live with a progressive muscle wasting disease called Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and I am also a creative freelancer and model. I advocate for disability and accessibility rights, as well as raise awareness for muscular dystrophy. So it’s a lot.
M: It is a lot. And like you said, obviously having a disability is a label that society can visibly see and put on you and you don’t want to have it define who you are. But you’ve done such a great job of having it as an aspect of who you are, but not define you as an individual and falling into this category. This is just one aspect of who you are. And I think that’s such a beautiful way of telling your story and making sure that people understand that this isn’t just who you are. There’s so much more about you. You’re passionate, you’re creative. You model, you love your home time, you’re a homebody. There’s all these things about you that are more than just the label society would want to put on you.
K: Thank you. Thank you for saying that because I do what I do now because I wish I had someone like me when I was younger. Growing up, I really, really couldn’t identify with being disabled. And I didn’t understand that either because I didn’t look disabled, conventionally disabled, whatever people think disabled means. And I remember in high school, you were separated from the kids that have different abilities. And I was, I really hate to say this and I’m embarrassed, but it was like, I was so ashamed. And being a woman of colour, as well, I grew up in Barry (Ontario). It is like all white people, so I was already dealing with being the Asian girl. And now I was losing my mobility. So then I was like the disabled Asian girl. And so that was really hard to come to terms with and accept. And I actually hid my disability for as long as I could. And now I’m like, you know this is what it is, but I’m also me. And so for a very long time I hid it because I really wanted people to see that I was more than just, you know, my disability. I really, really didn’t want that. And so now I’ve come such a long way to be the opposite, to be like, I am disabled. Here I am, this is what it is. So yeah, it’s been a journey.
Listen to the full conversation with Kae on the self love club podcast and leave a comment below, or on the Spotify app with your thoughts!