​In 2023, I Just Want to Exist

Posted by Nila Morton in Life After Paralysis on February 01, 2023 # Lifestyle

Nila in the poolThe New Year’s is the time for new beginnings. It’s the door of many opportunities to make changes within us and our life. Like everyone else, I have made a New Year’s resolution to make sure my 2023 is better than the last couple of years I have had. One of my goals for this year is just to exist.

In this society, there is no space for Black women to just be. We are labeled anything negative if we do not align with how people expect us to be. Upset? The angry Black woman. Standing up for ourselves? We are aggressive. A victim of violence? We are liars. Sad? Oh, we must be strong.

There is no space for disabled people to just be. We are often ignored about our issues when facing ableism and can never express our emotions. Sad? Just be more positive. Tired of being bullied for being disabled? Just be more confident. Want more opportunities? Be understanding that not everyone is comfortable being around disabled people.

Put being a Black woman and disabled together and it will equal my life. There are times when I just want to exist.

Being a Black disabled woman, there are many obstacles and challenges I face on a daily basis. I endure racism, sexism, and ableism all at the same time. Whenever I face discrimination, I rarely know what’s the true reason for it. Besides the challenges I endured, I will say that 2022 and other past years made me realize that I rarely have the space to just be me. I feel as a Black disabled woman that, I’m already considered “strong” and “confident” without any proof of it. I do believe people assume that I have those character traits because I do not allow my life experiences to affect how I live life. People do not realize that my identities are my norm. I do not know life as a non-black person, and I do not know life as an able-bodied person. Although I have my identity, I still deserve a space to just exist.

Whenever I am sad about a situation, especially if it’s related to how I’m being treated by society for just existing, most people will tell me to “just be confident” and to “love myself.” I often hear that advice whenever I speak on the difficulties of dating or finding friendships as a Black-disabled woman. When I express how stressed out or how tired I am, I always hear, “Don’t worry. You’re strong. You will figure it out.” Yes, I know people do not mean any harm by their advice, but good intention doesn’t always have a good impact. People aren’t aware that sometimes their advice can cause more harm than good because they aren’t allowing me to be human.

After facing many challenges throughout the last two years, I promised myself that 2023 will be the year that I will provide a place to just exist. I want to give myself the grace that is needed because to be the best version of myself; I must give myself room to process and feel my emotion, especially the negative ones. I also want to remind myself that I do not have to be strong or more positive just because I am a Black disabled woman. I’m allowed to be human. I deserve to just exist.

My name is Nila Morton. I’m a 23-year-old woman in a wheelchair. I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology and hope to become a Clinical Psychologist one day. I love being around my family and friends. I have a dog named Chloe, who is the light of my life. My favorite things to do are shopping, traveling, trying new restaurants, writing, and reading. I hope that every day I inspire other disabled people to not be ashamed of their disability and to live their life to the fullest.

Social Media:
Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @nilanmorton

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.