Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E40: Kicking Ableism’s Ass with Sam Tokita (@bionickick)

by DGWL
December 28th 2020
00:53:45
Description
Creative photographer by day and kickass Muay Thai fighter by night, Sam Tokita shares her experiences simultaneously navigating these spaces and her identity as a disabled person. Through sport and p... More
this is disabled girls who lift, we are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time, it's mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that a bliss comfort zone. Mhm Welcome folks to yet another episode of disabled girls who lived, we Miss Chloe but we do have two of our hosts and a special guest today, this is Marcia from Seminole, tried land in south florida and it's mary Beth on Aloni lands from northern California, we've got such an amazing guest joining us today, Sam Tokyo to, she's been a part of the disabled girls who lived community for quite some time now, really, really strong listener of the podcast as well, but we finally got some times in our schedule to, to talk and um I'm super excited, she's coming in from Seattle Washington.

Finally we get some west coasters here. Um Sam's a creative portrait photographer, she works in VR muay thai practitioner and really just all around badass, we see her modeling like all over the world and um I want to talk to you a little bit more about that today, I'm so excited to be here, thank you guys so much um and just uh add on because you mentioned uh the native lands that you're on, I'm on Duwamish land here in Seattle also um I don't know anything but Seattle, so that's new name for me uh so I'm curious because our limb different folks here, mary Beth and Chloe of course always talk about their childhood um so not a traumatic thing, they're born the way they were born, so it's something they've always had and their parents were like supportive and good to them and all that stuff, but yet they spent most of school hiding, so mary beth with her arm in her pocket.

Um Chloe always wearing long sleeves even though it was summer, so I'm wondering if you had a similar experience and if you did, are you still there? Are you coming out of it? I have absolutely had a similar experience um and it's interesting because I've really only come to the realization um of like how much I really went through um in my youth in the past year, I guess I kind of all hitting me at once, I think I I may be blocked out some of the pain that I was feeling growing up, but I as well had extremely supportive and really awesome parents. They did everything in their power to make sure that I I always felt that I could do everything that everyone else could. Um probably sometimes even even more so than the usual parents because it was like, if I said I wanted to do something, they were going to, they were like, yes, we're going to support this so hard.

I said, I wanted to read when I was three years old, just like casually off hand and my mom made me sit down every single day and do like flashcards with, there was like, I regret saying that I wanted to do this, but you know, you can only protect your kids so much. Um like once I stepped out of the house, there's a whole different world and I was battling with people staring people, like making jokes without really knowing me well enough for me to feel comfortable hearing them. Um and I and I had the privilege of, you know, just being able to hide my disability completely by growing on a pair of pants. Um like I've walk pretty well. You wouldn't really, no. Um and that became a source of pride for me because when people did find out that I had a prosthesis, it was like, oh my God, you fit in so well, I never would have known and it was kind of like a huge compliment that I conform in that, in that compliment.

I'm sure now you would cringe. Yeah, and I didn't even little things like that, that maybe you weren't so little that, you know, I thought that that was cool and that was what made me um made me cool I guess is that I could fit in so easily, but it did hurt me. Like I was also wearing pants. I mean I grew up in Vegas, so you know, There's 100 different summer. They were awesome. Yeah. Shoes too that I'm guessing like you weren't hanging out in flip flops. Yeah. Not at all. Um I loved wearing different kinds of shoes when I was a little kid. And then when a middle school and high school came around, it was always wearing tennis shoes, hi socks. Like I just just wanted to cover up my leg as much as possible just so I felt normal. Um So it's and nowadays that's that switch like just in the past year, like it's gotten very cold and rainy here in Seattle and I'm still walking outside in shorts as much as possible because I'm just trying to just own it.

Like I'm making up for lost time. Well, y'all want one in Seattle. You don't even walk around with an umbrella when it's raining. Like everybody knows I'm a foreigner when I go, I'm the only one using umbrella. Really? True. They're just like, maybe this guy anyways. Yeah, go about our days, dogs are still walking the other day because uh like I'll just go run like in shorts and a tank top when it's like raining out. And uh this my product is probably gonna get mad at me because I'm going to start resting and he's not going to know why. Yeah. Um So at what point did you start because you know from your profile that you do muay thai So at what point did you start doing that? Is that what helps you come out of it? Because I don't think you wear pants and that. Yeah, absolutely. That was, that was a huge part of it. So um at the beginning of 2019, I kind of had a huge um I guess wake up call, I just realized that I wasn't happy in my place of work and I didn't just didn't love myself and I wasn't really putting into my relationships what my relationships deserved.

And it was kind of this like, very cyclical thing um where things were just getting darker and darker because I needed to heal something within myself, and so I very raptly, like, left my job, I moved out of my home and uh was suddenly kind of in this space where I had a lot of time and um I, I battled an eating disorder in middle school and high school and thought that it was behind me, but it came back very abruptly when all of these things were happening and I was in this kind of high stress environment at all times, so it just always felt like I was in a fight or flight mode and I didn't know who I was, and so I just kind of was bouncing back and forth between like, do I go see a therapist, do I check myself into, like, an eating disorder clinic, um like, what do I do to help heal myself? And I looked into a couple of eating disorder clinics and it just in my gut didn't feel like the right way for me to heal.

Um so I was like, I need something to fill up all of the free time that I spent engaging in destructive behavior and also something that's like very mentally challenging, like I don't, I don't want it to feel like it's about my body, um it needs to be something like very mentally stimulating, stimulating. And so I just looked up like what's the most difficult martial art uh in existence, like what's the most brutal thing that I can put myself through and it ended up being my tie and I felt kind of like scared like that was the first time in my life that I've genuinely face something and felt like I don't know if I can do this um just because of like I do have, I do have to acknowledge that they have knee mobility issues and I don't have an angle on the right side and those are things that I may need for this sport for the sport. Um and so I was like, screw it, I'm going to do that and my very first day I just fell in love with it and decided that I was going to fight and this is like who I am, I just felt something click and awakened inside of me as dramatic as that sounds.

Um and so I've been doing it for about a year and a half and it's pretty much been a religious thing for me, I'm there every day that the gym is open, um sometimes multiple sessions a day and everything that I do is like with that in mind. Yeah, that's so awesome. I feel like we have so much in common with those of us in strength training, other sports or just sports in general. It's coming out of any um eating disorders or body issue, you know, body image issues. Um really finding both the distraction and the passion in these sports and then also realizing how the only thing on the scale you're looking at is probably a, a weight class and nothing else and doesn't define your worth is like probably the most awesome thing that we, I ever found in powerlifting. That's really awesome. Did you guys do other sports prior to finding power listing?

Was that like the first thing that you stepped into? And it was like, I think Marci and I both did a soccer, right? Yeah, well in high school I did soccer and flag football. Um and I always loved it, but I used to have a lot of pain and I didn't understand then why now I understand why, but whatever, that's besides the point. And so because of that, I just never felt like, like, oh, I guess I'll never be good enough to be like a college player and I just kind of played it like those random leagues every once in a while and I'd be in and out of the gym in and out of like yoga stuff and never feeling comfortable in general. Um until somehow I started doing powerlifting. So it was one of those things, I just like looked up and I saw a meat and I was like, you know what, I'm gonna do that, I feel like I'm kind of strong and that's where that started kinda yeah, breaking records up the ying yang. It's very interesting that things seem to happen on a women out of nowhere, but once you're on that road you're like, all right, this is a good street.

Okay. Yeah. And the empowerment, you feel like as a woman, as a disabled woman, as a person of color, like how strong and powerful we are on that stage and all of these crowds of random people cheering for you. It's it's a great feeling and cheering for you, not because they know you are disabled sometimes. Yeah, but just because you're strong and you're good at what you do. But sam that uh that timeline of yours, sam like I think correlates so much to my timeline of like feeling comfortable in my own skin as someone with a limb difference. Both like, you know, growing up, we had a great support from our family elementary school. I probably just went out there, like both arms out and about played basketball, played handball, like played whatever I could do with my limbs out there for the public and my friends to see.

But then coming into middle school high school, I felt the exact same thing where all of a sudden, you know, you had to impress the other people for popularity, both of both genders who was ridiculous. And so from all of the sports that I so dearly loved baseball, like growing up with my family was a really big thing. I chose whatever I could uh like the only sport I felt like I had access to is somebody missing a hand, which was soccer because I was like, oh well we don't have to use hands in soccer until it comes out of the line. Um and so even playing that sport, I hit it like this was high school, you know, so I totally feel that and I feel like I found para lifting the same year that you found my tie and I'm so glad that you found that outlet, it's like our like you're so free and act like every other child until you basically learn to be uncomfortable with yourself like, right?

And it's always that age range. Like I recognize that, you know, we, we probably faced it more than others of course. But like every kid, like everyone I meet is like, yeah, that's the time train between like middle school and high school. It's just so rough. Yeah. When you're so impressionable. Yeah. When you're, when you're like noticeably different, looks like a whole different level of anxiety. Yeah. And where you grew up in Vegas. What, what was, what were the people around you? Was it all white people wasn't mixed was a black and brown Because that's where the level two, it was very, that's such a transient city. Um like there's there's a handful of people that are born and raised and they never leave and then pretty much everyone else is like in and out, like there's there were so many kids that were there for a couple of years and then I never saw them again. Um So, but a lot of them at least like in my county and the ones that went to my school were primarily white, there were, and I, and when I moved to Vegas, like I'm I'm, I say born and raised, but I'm a military brat.

That's just the, it's just my home because I remember most of that. Um So I had gone to elementary school in Puyallup with a bunch of kids and I was in the quest gifted program. Um So I had the same classmates for like three years and we all knew each other really well and they all knew about my leg and then I moved to Vegas at the very beginning of middle school. And so it was like this whole new school, nobody knew about my leg, I had to like make friends and it was middle school, so just like everything all at once. It was very, very stressful. Um and so I kind of was immediately welcomed into this group of kids that were like, all asian. Um And I didn't really fit in with them because they were all, like pretty much second generation and I'm the 4th generation um in my family, so I didn't really relate to a lot of like the kind of like family upbringing that they all did. Um And I was kind of rejected from like any group of like white people for the most part, and that's that's also something that I'm like looking back on and I like didn't even realize how segregated our school was until like really looking at it later in life.

Um But yeah, I didn't, I did not fit in anywhere. Um I ended up being like one of those weird art kids that would just like draw in the theater on my life because that's the weird kids that like climb trees in the middle of the night because that kid doing it there as well. Yeah, exactly. I think uh yeah, can relate. And I went to mostly black and brown schools. Um But you know, I was like an oreo, like, oh, you talk white and then with the white people they're like, can I touch your hair's? I'm just like, okay, yeah, there's no in between, There really is no in between. Yeah, there's nothing between that didn't really exist. I don't know how it is for kids now, but I mean at least at this age growing up you're like, all right, I could just be me and I don't care if I'm weird, this is fine, But that's not a vibe when you're like 12. Yeah. Yeah. And before social media like it, you can like meet a bunch of people across the world and connect over things and realize that you're actually not that weird.

Your only options are the people around you. Yes. So does that mean that you avoided any any sort of sports and activity for most of school and in college then is my tie the first like movement you've done pretty much. I definitely stayed out of um sports in high school. Um I just didn't want one. I didn't think that I could do them and two. I felt like in pe um that was kind of when the, my eating disorder really started. Um I had like like, couldn't keep up when we had to do the mile run partially because my leg and partially because I was under fueling myself and some of the girls that were on the track team, like didn't understand that. And we're kind of like, I heard them whispering yeah, behind my back in the locker room and so I was like, I don't want to be part of that. I want to subject myself to that. Um and I think I had had that same insecurity. I just brought it along with me. Um post high school, I did pick up crossfit for a little bit.

Um but there's so many, we did so many squats and I could feel I couldn't, it's funny because it sucked in general, but also like my my femurs are different lengths and so I could tell like at different points of the movement that that was going to be a problem if I started lifting really heavy weight and none of the coaches knew what to do, like a few of them told me to just keep doing it and oh my yeah, they're just like, just keep doing it and this is the same gym, like you didn't try different gyms or anything? No, I I r one that was like near one that was near where I lived at the time. And so I was like, maybe this is for me, that's my biggest fear. Crossfit. Crossfit is not a bad sport, You just have bad coaches sometimes if they're not looking at it, right movements, right, you know? Not okay.

Yeah, no, I totally, I totally get that now, but at the time I was like, I'm in pain and I don't know if I can keep doing this. Um So I loved it. I was in the best shape of my life in that like six month period. Yeah, definitely was not squatting right room time. Yeah, no, there's no way in a few abs, man, so what's your split look like these days? Do you still try to do any crossfit kind of stuff or is that chapter done with? Um My my schedule is kind of crazy, so I haven't found across the gym that like works with what I have available and also leaves me open to being able to do more thai um Our gym is closed right now for the multi gym is closed um To hope hopefully bring down our covid numbers. Um Just fine. We we actually got into a new space, it's significantly bigger and um there's very few of us training at any given period of time.

Um So I we were having like multiple classes um So like I have one dedicated training partner and we'll just go at it for three hours. Um That takes up most of my evening, so in the morning I just try and get in some extra cardio. Just go for a run and do some physical therapy to try and build strength and my uh leg, my right leg on my prosthetic side um do a little bit of strength training, but nothing is as intensive crossfit therapies in person or that's like some homework that you have on your own homework. I worked with a physical therapist for a few months and took down all the notes and have just been following that same exact regimen. three hours though. I know I saw your face is so that dude I I had a roommate who did some form of martial arts very very similar. Not only three hours of like actual martial arts, then there was weightlifting, then there was cardio running Or like on a bike.

How do you like, how do you do that like 2-3 workouts in a day? So do you have a lot of food? You got it, yeah, you're looking like you really have to pay attention then. That sounds expensive. It's uh I I actually just recently hired a coach to help me with that because I realized I could not handle it on my own. Um Yeah, I I've kind of been just eating whatever uh that seems to have worked for the past few months, I think I need more protein is what I'm trying to get some help with. Um But yeah, I'm up early in the morning, usually like 5 36 o'clock to get into some running um some basic strength training and my pt and then I'm working for like 8 to 10 hours in the middle of the day um which makes it hard to to cook the right things and feel myself properly and then I'm jetting off to to the more anti jim. Um I also don't eat meat, so I'm kind of relying on like a lot a lot of uh hummus and yeah, so it just seems for days.

Yes. Oh good, that's great carbs and protein vegan um protein powders that you like. Um These ones aren't vegan, I've I've been a huge fan of quest just because uh their flavors are really awesome and you can bake with them. Just kind of breaks up the monotony of drinking shakes all the time. Uh They got everything, they got chips, they got falling out. I fell out with Quest, they change like the bars and then it gave me indigestion and I was just like never mind. Oh no never mind. A lot of it does. I don't I don't I don't take any adventures. I don't know it wasn't even that I don't know what it was. They changed. Oh God. So I don't take much adventures with my supplements. Don't not at all. Yeah not to mention I don't even want to find out, not to mention a lot of the plant based protein is just way too expensive. You get like a little 16 ounce bottle and that's 60 50 books. Like it's not that serious.

Like all off. Huh? I try to find some just to see because sometimes they have like more vitamins than they had to them, which I like that idea. But I can't find any that are bearable. Like I don't want to drink sand water. Never. Well for plant base might as well just make your own shakes and smoothies with you know, nut milks, greens, berries get all the nutrients there. Yeah, protect your all right. What's your go to then if you if you have it sounds like you have a strict set of uh Oh yeah, yeah. I don't, I don't take adventures because I don't want to like, first of all, I'm very weird of textures and certain flavors of certain brands, Even the same brand will blend differently. Like it has to be like a certain consistency. I can't wow you notice the way that they bless you already know? I have to get optimal nutrition. Gold standard. It has to be vanilla ice cream. No, that is good to know.

That is really, no, it can't be the other. Vanilla has to be the vanilla ice cream. Specifically. That 1s my favorite if it's like really cold strawberry or chocolate malt. Not that some of the chocolates are iffy. That's it. I can't. We're not taking any adventures there. Hmm. Is this a specific brand? Yeah. Optimum nutrition, optimum nutrition. Yeah. That also started because I used to do us a pl and then people who get drug tested and failed, they're always like, it was a supplements I didn't know. Um but oh, I know lean right? Um Yeah, so there's a website that you could go. I forgot what it's called. But they basically certified some of the supplements and and optimal nutrition is supposedly not putting random ship in their stuff so I don't stray much from that. And um do you mess around with pre workouts is pre workout like a culture in martial arts at all. Um I've only met one other person that has talked about pre workout and he um he got a look for some reason to have everyone like oh you take pre workout before my tie and he was like no, no no no, no, I only do it before before weightlifting.

I swear. I don't know where. All right, just caffeine. I love it. Power lifting equivalent would be like, oh I love with gloves, right, what do you do? Excuse me, That's cute. I did cross it with gloves. I think I might fall into that category. I'm sure you get so much said I I dare, you know, no judgments here and I like my tie is so intense. They start like actual tie kids out pretty freaking young. Oh yeah, I went to one event. I don't know how many you've gone to Sam like you're actually competing for sure. But they I've seen seven year olds like kicking each other in the head just going at it. Yeah, it's pretty crazy. I haven't I haven't seen youth muay thai fight um at all. There's not actually very many here that have happened in Seattle and probably not in the States honestly like in Thailand they happen so often.

It's like a bunch like every week. Um And that's you know why people typically like fighters here, we'll go to Thailand to train because they can actually train full time and fight a little bit more often. But um and I haven't competed yet and I was sent to do a smoker before my state shutdown. Um, and so I'm sure I won't have the opportunity until we have a vaccine. But uh, it's, it's very interesting. Like I've watched a lot of kids fights um in Thailand online and it's, it's insane like those kids could beat me up so easily. It's scary stealing their lunch money. Like they do get headgear, but like that's a neck you're breaking, you know what I mean? Early on world. But yeah, it's kind of hard because you can't like, even if you're jim were to open up outdoors, it's very direct contact. So I'm glad you found like that one partner you can work with here and there.

Oh yeah, I'm totally, I mean, I'm putting him through hell because he's not the type to go three hours in a row. Um, but I like, I'll give him the puppy eyes and be like, but if you don't come, then I can't train at all. And that makes me sad. I'll buy you a beer rain or shine, wow, That's so funny. I guess Shady ask florida, we were still having, um, matches or meats or camps, whatever they're called. You guys are wide open Pro coronavirus who never met her. It would test the people before. Um, and then they'd fight the fights, I think they were back on since like may professional fights have still been, have still been going need to be tested beforehand, but there's no audiences, So I can't imagine what that's like as a fighter to like go from having an audience for all of your fights and then suddenly no one, Yeah, that has to be pretty weird.

They got to play some backtracks in the back, kind of like a fake applause something like screaming fans kick his ass, jeez man, do you have to do much to adapt the movements or anything, or do you have different legs or prosthetics or attachments or anything? I don't have a different leg yet. Um My processes and I have been discussing potentially getting like a blade that sprinters will typically use, because the bounce that's needed, could, you know, we may be able to work with the blade to, to get the bounce that I need, but I have, I have this pretty fancy um walking leg, it's um, I'm going to mispronounce it, but it's the Achillion HVAC, um, ankle, so the, the ankle moves a little bit and with every step, um air is pulled out of my socket, so it keeps the leg on air tight, which is great, super needed, that, and then there's a little bit of like, kind of a running toe, uh that makes sense.

So there's, it's not a blade, but it has kind of a similar um, aluminum toe that I can, you know, if I, when I drive through um from ankle to toe, when I step, I get a little bit of a bounce back um the way that you would get if you have, you know, the whole ankle. Um so I kind of am kind of um utilizing the point uh, the ball of my foot, I guess that point at the very end that I can bounce off of um when I'm stepping into kick Um and then for knees, I'm kind of just, I can't bend my knee more than 90° right now. Um and when you go to me, somebody in the liver or in the stomach or whatever, um you typically want to pull your ankle back as far as possible, like ideally would be like touching the back of your thigh. Um I can't really do that. So I'm kind of just, I guess it's hard to describe without like a, I guess an image, but I just kind of drive in from the side, if that makes sense.

So I have like the kind of this like 90° like boomerang shaped like weapon coming in, uh and I'm hitting like the rib cage a little bit higher, so that audiences are different. The stance is not like, you know, boxing, like you have south paul and whatever the regular one is, is that a thing in my tire? Not really your legs or wherever it is. Yeah, I'm left handed. So I happened to be southpaw. Anyway, so my prosthesis, my prosthetic leg is my front facing foot and my back leg is my power kick. It comes from my real leg. Um Which is just very your other like power that Okay, real leg real like um I guess you're both real than your own special. Uh um Yeah, so my my power was the leg I kick with primarily is my real leg which works out in my favor.

But I have started kicking with my other with my prosthetic side. Um I got a cosmetic cover made for me that mimics the texture of like a real calf. And so I had that I had that for a little while and just feeling like a flat surface kicking the pads and kicking my partner um changed my understanding of how I need to move and it's improved my kick so much on that side. However, I did promptly break The cosmetic cover. So I'm without one great kicks. So what happens when you're with someone else? Are they like worried about your leg and when they're scrapping with you, they worried about hitting it or anything or they just carrying on. I think my favorite partners are the ones that kicked me in my weak points uh like and my knee and and stuff. Uh Those are my favorite people. Um But yeah, I mean you perhaps to get better.

Exactly, there's one of my, one of my teammates ariel, she's my height and she's the only person who's about my height in my weight class and so I love swearing with her because I'm always fighting people taller than me and those moves don't work the same way on her. So that's always really cool. And then she also is just constantly defaulting to lower like kicks. That's like kind of just her weapon of choice and she is relentless, she will just repeatedly kick me in the back of the knee um or like the side of my knee because she knows what's a weak point and she said sorry the first day that she did it and I was like well no, I'm actually really grateful because in a fight like you gotta be, my opponent's going to notice that that's a weak point and they're going to do exactly that. And so she has gone very hard ever since. Like once she got the green light for me like where I'm going to kick you all the time forever and it's not a weakness anymore.

That's wild. Wait, so are there, I mean it's great to that you're working really closely with your process your prosthetist um to get a better one sport related. But are there any rules in muay thai I feel like there are way too many rules in para lifting. I can't use my hook and the minute you said blade, I was like all the fucking ablest people in my sport would automatically say no. So like besides yeah, yeah, I know what you mean. Um I don't know that there are any, like, specific rules, um my coaches from Thailand and his coached a lot of fights, and been in a lot of fights, and here, um actually have a little bit more of a back story about him and how this conversation came about, but um he asked me if I wanted to fight, and this is at a point where I was, kind of, keeping that to myself, because I didn't know that people are going to take that seriously. Um So, he just, kind of, out of the blue asked me do you want to fight?

And I was like, well, do you think I can? And he's like, yeah, and he said it like, an idiot for asking. He was like, yeah, of course, you'll just have a cover on it. Um So, I think that, you know, if he thinks that that's fine, then I'm sure that that will be fine. And there has been Uh two people that I know of that are below knee amputees that have fought in muay thai fights, they're both men and I have not seen their fights, they're not any, they weren't recorded, and they're not anywhere online, so, I'm not sure if they're if they had anything additional on their prostheses or what, but I think it would be fine. Yeah, so, as long as you have the cover is game, like, you can kick with that leg, you can kick with both legs, it doesn't matter. Yeah, exactly. I think you're not going to show up, and they're going to say we have you tried the paralympics? Nobody, like, shoot you off. There have been people, like, if I post a video of myself kicking with my prosthetic side, um, either there is almost always somebody who either tried to DM me or comments like, that's cheating or, um, it's like, not or it's not fair to me, it's it's either I'm cheating or I'm going to get my ask kicked.

It's either it's one or the other. It's like, you're you don't deserve to be in this space or shouldn't be in this space for either of this. Is that all genders, usually, or I find it typically men. Yeah, you could say that. Yeah. Which is interesting. I'm wondering. It makes me wonder like, the two men that I know that are amputees and have fought. Like, I always want to, kind of, ask what their experience is about, that, I'm sure that I think, but I'm sure that it's more for you. Yeah, definitely, a little different because, like, you can imagine their masculinity is, like, curling up into a little ball, so we can't even can't even walk into a gym without some ships. Exactly. I'm sure that there jim is not allowing us to walk around their bras on. Just our bras on. Wait, what? Yeah. That's a thing that's ridiculous. You're like, you know, your body temperature is rising so much and you have to like wear shirt.

That's ridiculous. Yeah, I'm almost certain that you have a significant amount of more, more haters than they do. I would think, man, that's pretty lame. How do you feel when you get those messages? Is it like digging and bugging you or you kind of just brush off and keep, keep it moving at first. It definitely sucked like the first few months and I realized that was going to be something that I had to deal with but um I haven't thought yet and I think at the time, like first receiving those messages, I was like, well I'll just, I'll just prove them wrong. Um but as I get closer to that fight potentially happening, um I realized like I'm going to probably actually get more of those comments once that happens, so I just need to accept like this is kind of just how it is and that's part of it and therefore it doesn't matter or need any of my energy. Um I had, I was sitting um at the end of the table um near a group of some of the guys that my gym um one of them has shattered his shin and has like a metal rod in it, I guess right now and they were talking about how, oh, it's so badass that you like have this metal leg and I'm sitting there at the other end of the table, like this is not really how I was treated and I do have a metal leg just like kind of interesting like hearing a conversation like that, I mean, granted, like it's still his real shin, you know, but it's interesting how this conversation was happening and it was like this praised thing like, oh, that's so cool, you have like this weapon now um where with me, I was treated like this dainty like fragile thing.

Yeah, totally. And they're like a lot of the times more men are seen as heroes, you know, amputee heroes than than women because we got to look a certain way for the male gaze right? All of a sudden we become not as attractive to the male gaze because we don't look like a bucking barbie doll, but we're changing that, we're changing that. And you said something um in your little blurb to us about how you came back into modeling and um you started posing in front of the camera again because you wanted to make space for you. Like, you know, growing up, we never thought we can be in these films or these photo shoots, but just, you know, taking one photo in front of a camera is a revolution to a lot of people, but also like it really is here we are existing and not hiding anymore is revolutionary.

Yes. Yeah, I think I realized that I think I realized that not um letting myself do the things that I wanted to do in front of the camera, it was just like complying to the standard that is hurting me so you know and that was part of why I abandoned it in the first place. Um like I'm glad that I went through the journey I did with it because you know when when I was just modeling and just acting, I had to rely on other people to cast me and to take my photograph and when I realized how hard that was going to be um I picked up other things like I did make up so that I could get in on photo shoots. Um and then I picked up the camera so that I could take control of photo shoots and create this type of photos that I wanted to see and then now I've like you know when we locked down the first time I had all this time on my hands not going to die and I was like you know I can I can't go take someone else's weather right now, but I can take my own.

And it was kind of interesting to walk into that space with self portrait Turks. It was like I had full control over the image that I was putting together, what I looked like, what I was trying to say. Um I didn't have to consult with anybody or try and communicate like this is what I want and I want you to make space for me here. It was just me and myself. Um and so that that and, and my experience both in front of and behind the camera has, you know, only emphasized my skill on, on the other. So uh I'm glad that I went through the process that I did to get here, but I'm so glad to finally be in a space where it's like, yeah, you're allowed to be in front of the camera. In fact you should be and I want other girls that were like me and looking for people like me to look up to you to at least have me or you know, everyone else now that is uh limb different and modeling and acting and breaking those barriers.

I want to be part of that. So it's really cool that it's being received so well it is cool and we need more of it because people love to think like a limb different than you have to be like that weird dude in scary movie or like the new movie which is with the fucking hands like, nah man, we're hot as funk. Shut up. Like what? Exactly. So what? It's so stupid and it's such like a mental hurdle that people really have to fucking hop through hoops for you're too pretty to be disabled, You're not disabled. You look fine. Yeah, so the fund does that mean that students like I can be all of these things, I can be disabled and beautiful and talented and smart being disabled doesn't negate every other positive trade about you. Exactly, yeah. And we've, we've been on this podcast for about a year now and we've had quite a few limb different individuals on here as guests.

And it's just like horrible trend that we keep hearing no matter what industry you're in, no matter what sport you're in dance, para lifting, soccer, baseball, modeling, theater. Like there's, it's not that it's a bad industry, it's that the people that are in it, you probably had a really bad coach who didn't believe in you, a bad dance instructor, a photographer who kept telling you to hide your leg, hide your hand. That's the ship that we have to like move as far away from and we're still seeing it in Hollywood and not even just that, like, the fact that there is, there's that main bad guy. Sure. But then there's also the people, they're just not saying sh it at all. You know, like there are people that are watching these things unfold, like, well, I mean, this is the way things are done, I guess it's just gonna happen, right, right? Or they recognize that it's bad and don't do or say anything about it and they just like DM you silently and say, hey, I believe in you, but don't tell the world publicly.

Yeah. Oh man. It's pretty ridiculous. And those things have happened for sure with um with the federation's that we fought with sam where we might be publicly shitting on them and nobody else is saying anything, but then they'll send you a message like yeah, I thought what they did was wrong to okay, what's this private message going to do for me? Yeah, Why are you so quiet about it? Like what are you louder always falls on the person who's being victimized to wake up. Like like you're already in pain, you've already been harmed and it's also now your responsibility to be the loudest when you're victimized and you're saying like, hey this isn't right in this upset me and this hurt me the victim blaming and the you know the backlash of like while you're just being dramatic or you know like you need those additional voices to step in and be like, you know, I wasn't part, I wasn't directly part of this and I wasn't directly harmed by this, but I and validating that this is wrong and this happened like it's unfortunate that you need that but those voices are needed.

So you know when the people that are yeah, they're just like not saying anything, you're like, you know what's the point? Do anything for anyone. Yeah. And you see it not just in in the disability community or the fabulous community Abel is community able able able speaking society but like in racism and that's why we talk about intersectionality so much here and just in the real world because when you know the black lives Matter movement sprouted over six years ago. It was not a silent, It was I'm sorry. It was a lot more silent than it was just this past year. There's still a lot of exhaustion that the black community had to endure and still explain through the gas lighting through the non believers that they had to teach white, non brown, non black folks about racism that had existed for like central it existed.

And it still isn't all it's done this year is like changed a couple of minds. Like it still hasn't even fixed anything. Like it's so ridiculous and it's even worse when you're that person being victimized and you have nobody out even outside of the situation that you could check in with because eventually, I mean maybe maybe you'll be lucky and you believe in what you believe in. But honestly for the most part eventually you're going to believe them when they keep telling you that like your trip man, when they keep telling you that you're being dramatic, like eventually that's going to sink in, you're going to be like either what's the point or maybe they're right. So when you don't have like a voice of reason to check back with like that ship will suck you up. Mm hmm Or sometimes they just need that one able bodied white man to tell them the same thing. You've been telling them all these years So they can finally believe it. Oh man. Like it's really Yeah. Yeah. I definitely have people like that luckily nowadays.

And it's amazing when you do get those people that you can check in with and be like, hey, this happened to me. Like am I tripping? And they're like, no bitch. That was wild. Like then you start thinking about, you start thinking my other situations where you weren't sure and you're like, all right. Maybe that wasn't me. All right. Maybe that okay. Yeah. Alright. Maybe that he's just like just unraveling and like reprogramming and unpacking all the things that you didn't realize were hurting you and digging at your character and who you are. That's the process. You like re learn how to trust yourself. Yeah, exactly. It's just refreshing. You know, meeting people like you like you too. And everybody in this community. That is definitely true. Holy appreciate this. And we uh well this will be a while when this airs. But yeah, we're about a year end of podcasting and just amazing to just keep talking about people and hearing these stories because there's just so many levels to it to life.

I can't believe it's been a year. That's so awesome. I mean, I know you guys recently started um just because of the number of podcasts. But there's that's still crazy that in a year you put out so many like we're out here, you know, it's not to say that this is like an easy thing to do, like you do have to edit and like you know, we have to post on social media, so people know we exist but like essentially like the essential part of this podcast is easy. The hardest part of this podcast is keeping these episodes under an hour honestly, right, because we're meeting so many god dang people that just like blow our minds, You are also talented, just want to spill our hearts, just like just spill our hearts to everyone want to know more. Yeah, that's the hardest part of this podcast man, uh huh. Thanks for not enough. Thanks for coming. You're amazing. What what would you like to say to uh all the limb different little bodies out there that aren't sure about their bodies, what would you like to say?

Oh man so much? How do I convince at all? Um you know, this is something that I keep trying to remind myself, so it may be valuable for others um you know, whatever you think you can't do, you're wrong and if there is a space that you want to be in, but you don't see anybody like yourself in it, be the first person in that space because you never know who out there is also looking at that space and wanting to be in it and you may open a door for them or give them encouragement that they didn't realize that they needed. Um, so yeah, it's okay to be the first, it's cool to be the first. Um, and it's going to be hard. It's gonna be worth it. And there's a lot more people out there that will be on your side and supporting you. Then you even realize, so just go for it. I'll take it, I'll take it. That's where were you When I was 12 years old. My space barely, but sorry, it wasn't popping yet.

Yeah. Damn. That was 16 years ago. Oh yeah, we're just a tad bit older than just a smidge a smidge. Don't worry about that. Oh man, Is there anything else we missed that you would love to share. I mean, no, we always welcome everyone back. You know, once you're on the podcast, you're not against your family. You know, you could come over, You don't have to ask. You don't have to ask if you go in the fridge, just open it, get what you want because you know where they are. You know what? So you can always, whenever, whenever you're ready, like, you know what I wanted to talk about this, just hit us up, Come back. That's awesome. I appreciate that. And I'm like, I seriously, when I discovered this podcast, I felt so seen. Um, and I immediately felt like, yeah, these are my people and this is my family. So I so appreciate everything that you're doing. Um, I really had fun talking with you.

Yeah. And I'm sure I will be back control B I'll be investigating like, hey, hey, this is awesome. I want to hug you through the screen hugs. Alright, disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some of don't forget to subscribe, rate already, review of our channel. We're on Apple podcasts, Spotify player, FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who left. I.

E40: Kicking Ableism’s Ass with Sam Tokita (@bionickick)
E40: Kicking Ableism’s Ass with Sam Tokita (@bionickick)
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