Disabled Girls Who Lift

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November 4th 2019

On the premier episode, listeners learn what pushed Marybeth to create this community and listeners are introduced to the voices behind Disabled Girls Who Lift..

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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 Hello folks, welcome, Welcome all to our first inaugural episode of disabled girls who lift. Are you ready for us to get up in your ship? I don't know, I don't know if you really are. Anyways, so let me introduce myself, My name is Marcy, I'm a power lifting strong woman from south florida, You've got two other badass bitches here, they're gonna introduce themselves, I'm Chloe, I'm 28, I'm a power lifter from Iowa, I'm Mary Beth 27, I'm also a para lifter from the bay area of California. So I started stable girls who lived as a community for every one of us who didn't feel included in the workplace at school, in the gym, mostly based online.

Find others like myself for us who are gonna act out in public. Start at followed sometimes questions as if they have a right to know what's wrong with your hand, are you sick here, let me help you, You can't do that yourself. I'm like fuck off, I can do it myself, I've learned how to adapt for 27 years in this able bodied world, so give me some space, let me continue to treat me like everyone else, don't chastise me, don't look to me for inspiration. Anyway, disabled girls who lived has been a really, really great community, looking for others like myself, it would showcase all of the different disabilities that we find in other sports. That being a strongman powerlifting. Olympic lifting. We found so many already. It was it was created for the disabled community by the disabled community.

And intended intended for us to share techniques. We found adaptive tools and training other federations to compete in to get others to compete. Um basically any other questions that a new lifter or new athlete might have for the general community. So I believe it's important. We're tackling super important topics. Super uncomfortable topics. And including everyone. Everyone else that might be people in wheelchair crutches, prosthetics, others in the limb difference, community amputees, paralyzed folks. Sunnis anyone on the autistic spectrum, we've met some strong as folks who have lou Gehrig's disease so many more. And we're all looking for the ways in which we can be active, healthy, strong, just like everyone else. Exactly. Just like anyone else. And I think the best part about this is it's for anyone that I mean, not even everyone identifies with the word disabled, It means different things to different people.

And that's okay. Maybe you don't like the word, but either way, it's for people that are dealing with things visible or invisible because you know, all of these things affect us. So, I mean looking at me, nobody's going to guess that something is up. I mean, they look at you two, they're gonna be like, oh well she's missing. Ah Armed. What's up with her hands kind of deal. Mm hmm. So it's really interesting that we can make a community that kind of fits all of us together because we need this most definitely. So Marcia tell us a little bit about you and and how you found us and why this is important to you. Well, I think I found you mary beth on instagram when I was doing my first um like searching around, I have a clothing shop besides my physical therapy stuff. I have a clothing shop. And I was like, yeah, I found baby, baby mary beth uh sent you a little shirt back when you were doing your crazy one arm dead lifts.

And and then kind of just went off from there and it's pretty awesome because it's not like, you know, it's not like I found you and I was like, oh, this girl has one arm should be great for my shop. You know, check off that check box. So I got a disabled person. You know, like I was just like, it's just like, oh, she looks cool. Like a quad squad. Hello dad. So yeah, at quad squad shop. But I reached out to a lot of people just people I thought looked cool and you know, just like send him a shirt. Maybe we'll post it. Maybe people find out about my brand. And you know, you're actually one of the few people that anything came out of it, you know, besides just posting my shirt, I mean the fact that we got to know each other and here we are recording a podcast. So that's pretty nuts. So, and so do you identify as disabled or do you identify as differently abled or what's, what's your sitch?

Um I usually I just call myself a spoon. E that's usually what I call myself, but in general, in generic terms, I do I do identify as a disabled person because I don't think that there are things that enabled body person can do that. I can't really like I can't hang. Um and I know that the word disabled is a heavy one and everybody feels different ways about it. But to me it's just like if I feel like this world wasn't built for me, I think I'm disabled, like I'll take it. You know, if I, if I, if I buy like a, you know, if I buy like a hello fresh meal And it says prep time, 10 minutes to cut vegetables, like my hands are not good for that. It's going to take me half an hour. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about what money is and how it got that name, definitely. So the spoon is based off the spoon theory who made it. I'm not sure if you google, it'll pop up. It's not a big deal. So the spoon theory is based on anyone that has a chronic illness. So it could be literally anything that affects you over your lifespan.

So for me, I have like neuropathy, I have dizziness, um, like some decided autonomy and all this other fun stuff and that affects me day to day. So for the able bodied, regular quote unquote normal person, you could say they get, you know, 100 spoons a day and every day they get to spend their spoons, you know, 10 for work, 10 for the gym, five to cook dinner. And it's very orderly everyday. It makes sense everyday starts over every day. It's the same for me. That's not how it goes. One day I might have 10 spoons one day I'll have the full 100 you know, maybe the next day it rolls over maybe the next day. It doesn't, some days I have to choose like am I going to do my laundry today? Am I staying on the couch? Some days is great. I go to work. I hit the gym, I cook dinner. Honestly, it just depends. And I could do my best, you know, diet, sleep water, all that good stuff and it doesn't always even matter. You know, it's just kind of a constant state of fluctuating.

So that's where the spoon ideal comes from. Yeah, definitely. And obviously it's hard for a lot of people who are on social media who follow you to understand this because they see, hey, you're a personal trainer, you've got all of these amazing things going on. You manage a a shirt company, you, you are still competing in strong men, like I don't understand how are you sick? And that's why the spoon theory I just looked up was coined by Christine Miss Sarandi. No. Um it's like the most visual aid for non disabled folks to understand what it is they're going through. It's kind of, you know, it's a way to, I think she started it by when, when she was asked what it's like to have lupus, she on a table set out a bunch of spoons and literally drew it out for her friend and you have to constantly explain to others that you're sick and it's not your responsibility.

You know, just deal what you have to do in your everyday life and survive. Yeah, basically I'm just actually trying to exist. So we all are man. So Chloe, how did you find mary Beth again? Um I found mary beth through instagram. This was back through one of a previous account, personal account that I had. Um she somehow, I found her because she was posted, I want to say she might have been posted on someone else's page as some kind of inspiration or something. I think I think that's what it was because she was, it was, it was your usa pl days when you were dead lifting with just one arm because that was nuts, we'll tell you a little bit about that in a future episode. Um so I started following her after that and eventually we started talking um basically we just kind of formed a bond I would say because we were both pretty angry about how differently abled bodies were treated in the strength community and honestly just in the world in general.

Yeah, it's really interesting that you can find like it's, you know, instagram can be kind of trash, you know, there's like 50 and like you know, whatever, but at the same time you could find somebody like we're in three different time zones right now. Yeah, incredible. Yeah and this is because of instagram because you know if you make the effort to look for the people you want to connect with and I want to make like have authentic conversations with like you can find people and this is pretty, pretty awesome. Yeah and this community would not have gotten started if it weren't for Chloe and Marsha and like the encouragement and the anger that you have built up with me, it's and on top of finding others in our community yet across the world, you know everybody who's in London who have connected with us, people in Canada who have asked for different resources or tools, this is this is how it starts and I hope that this podcast can um help our lives out so that we're not constantly pointing to different resources because we are putting this all on a website.

I hope it helps everyone just hear our stories. So Chloe tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you identify as? Okay, so I don't identify as disabled even though I technically probably am. Um I was born with macros exactly that affects my right upper limb and my hand. Um So I am, I had my index and middle fingers amputated. Um I'm just going to kind of give some Information about myself so the listeners can get to know me. Um so I'm 28 and as I said earlier I compete in power lifting. Um I'm in Iowa and um right now I own a business, I'm a equine body worker and equine that's that's horse. So I work on horses um performance horses. I just do massage type therapies to help them um recover and perform better.

It's the coolest thing and I didn't get into a long time. It's equally equine. Yeah you can say equine equine, you'll hear it. Holy damn. I was I was I was that horse girl in like, yeah that was me elementary school middle school. So I've always loved horses. Um I used to ride competitively and own my own horses. I don't I don't ride anymore. Um but I still enjoy being around them. So um basically I wanted to have a career with horses that didn't involve riding them. So I got kind of creative. It is a thing though like down south. Um there's plenty of people that do the, what I do that equine massage is relatively new in Iowa though because I was always behind with things so. Yeah. Okay well California doesn't have any equine massagers that I know of.

So you're well advanced in that? Oh man. Yeah. That's pretty interesting. Well mary beth what are you up to? How do you make your money, what's going on on your end? I wouldn't call it money but but I currently manage performing arts venues on the UC Berkeley campus. So a lot of um what that entails is overseeing the front of the house department at the Greek theater dollar bought call. So that ranges from super heavy, super deep rock concerts. We just had Lana del Rey yo yo ma who's a single cello ist or Vienna philharmonic orchestra. So it's pretty cool uh last week or sorry, just a few days ago we had Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Yeah. In the flesh it was it was pretty amazing.

But um in the disabled community. Yeah and it's really interesting hearing Marcy and Chloe's sides because I, you know as a child you start to define yourself and put yourself in boxes and compare yourself to others and try to figure out who it is you are and I never had that inspiration. I never looked for an athlete or celebrity that I can identify with and since then I've never needed that so it's been awesome. But I did always ask my stepdad, hey, do I consider disabled because I don't get a handicap placard uh like like what's the line you have to cross? Yeah, I knew that I wore prosthetics as a kid. So I got some sort of um support. But the way that a lot of adults identify as disabled is do you get social security benefits?

Do you have a plaque or do you like what does it mean to you to be disabled and running these performance venues? I get this all the time because we accommodate for people with disabilities all of the time. But I'm sorry, pregnant women, you do not consider a lot of the times we have to, you know, draw the line and what that means. But also can we accommodate you with um your mobility issues with like things like that. But with this community, I've kind of just reclaimed that word for myself. It's, it's the only way that I can then that I can verbally describe myself right now to others and it's although it's not an invisible disability while I'm out in public or while I'm in a professional setting, I don't always show my hand because I don't know, is it professional or is it a conversation that I want to have in in in the midst of a busy day, so some people just don't understand it.

Like, what do you mean you're disabled? You're able to walk around totally fine. You have a job. Yeah. So I've been struggling with it just as much as everybody else. You know, it's a constant identity paul. Um but I love that there are so many different stories to share and and to kind of like pull off of because although we're a pretty large community, we have such varying such unique stories that no one can, you know, can fully identify with. Yeah, there's levels, there's levels to everything. I mean, I'm sure you guys have been shaped growing up by what you have going on. But on the other hand, for me, this is still pretty brand new. Like I I didn't have these issues in childhood. It's not something I had to grow up with. I just grew up as like, you know, a clumsy kid who played sports overall. I was okay until about you know, five years ago. I was like, oh sh it what's going on? Mm hmm. So I didn't even have to deal with that even idea of identity and who am I what am I doing until you know?

25. Yeah. And so did your parents start piecing things together? Like oh yeah, a lot of that happened while you were growing up. Um No, not, not really. Um I was I'm very hyper mobile and I did always, you know, I did get into sports. I would always sprain my ankle. I'd always like dislocate things and you know, they were just like, well it's just clumsy her, you know her and then that was pretty much it but you know, I would have also just random little chest pain scares and like just weird things and it would just be like ah well the doctor said you find so it's whatever dude to do and then that's kind of pretty much like it was, I would I would actually have to sit here and think really hard about all those little things that happened. Like that's how insignificant they were to me, but now I'm like, oh well I guess something was creeping. Yeah and it's so interesting too because like a lot of these things of course will go unnoticed because kids will be kids or whatever.

But we have to also realize that as women, we are told to just fight and move on and not feel a thing. Like they say that women have way less heart attacks or way less strokes because they just continue pushing through work and acting like it's okay because we go through periods every month. You know why not go through another heart issue and deal with it because we have shipped to do we have kids to raise, I don't have any kids but you know we have were fought to were taught to fight. Yeah, you just keep on going and you don't ever like take care of yourself or think about yourself or anything like that so that that definitely plays into it, it wasn't a concern or a problem and even when I first started having issues, you know, going to doctors, it's like well you look okay and you know, I tell a doctor, like, you know, my memory's kind of shitty lately, like I feel kinda, you know, I was like really anxious, it's some weird shift going on and you know, they would look at me straight in the face and like it's not like you have dementia or anything, you're young, you're too young.

Oh my God, I hate that. Yeah, I'm sorry, I don't look a certain way and like do you want me to not, I'm sorry, do you want me to look sicker? I don't understand, I don't know what that, I don't know what that, what, what is, what was that like for you guys growing up? Did people tell you how you should feel or actor? Um I'm trying to kind of think about different experiences. I know my parents, my dad especially was always like, because I wanted to always hide my hand under, let's say a sweatshirt or what's something I was carrying and he pulled me aside and he begged, don't you ever do that, which was, he had good intentions but it also kind of scared the sh it out of me, I was like I still left, like I was left feeling really conflicted still, even after that um it was just hard.

What about you, mary beth Yeah, well we give them so many phases in life, like I was taught at a young age to love it and I was, I was considered the lucky one and I always chose lottery numbers for people because they just like finding nemo called it a lucky Fin or something, they actually called my hand monkey monkey. So it had some sort of a cool identity when I was a kid, its own little personality, my little hand. But as I started getting older and you know, started wanting to impress the guys or other classmates, I wanted to look and feel like everyone else. So I started hiding it in middle school, high school and it kind of didn't stop from there and it it's a little disheartening, like we have this online identity and we have all of this pride when we're in our sport, but when it comes to everywhere else in social settings, I just can't do it. Um You know, like, I, I don't know, it's it's a little weird.

No, I, I get it, I get it, I get it. Yeah, because I mean, I have like, like I have a heat intolerance and I would have no trouble posting about like a strongman competition and mentioning that I felt like shit, like I'd have no trouble, you know? But in person, while I'm like dying somewhere and I'm at work and somebody's like trying to talk to me, like I'm not gonna be like listen man, I need to go like sit down and take a nap for an hour. I don't feel great. This is what's going like I'm not gonna say that, I'm just gonna be like okay, I gotta go. Yeah. It's also a lot of conversations you don't feel like having and be okay. Yeah because you know, it's it's not going to just end there. It's not just gonna be like, oh little mary beth has an arm out, that's cool. Like no, it's gonna be, oh my God, what happened to you? Do you wear arm is that you have the surgery? Did you get on a motorcycle? Like you know, it's not going to be simple. Yeah. Those reactions like when people, because I've had people big, oh my God, like me. That's that's actually like, like I laugh about it now, but it is actually really hurtful when people respond to me like, like my this is how I look and when you um respond to my image that way, it's like, oh that's it hurts.

Yeah. And and it's just funny that don't understand when we say when we use the word able ism because that should exist in real life constantly. It's not addressed like there are so many aggressors or so many offensive words and conversations that I have without taking us into account. Like it's so easy to understand understand what racism is and sexism and while all of those are important in our intersectionality it's just so much harder for us to describe with other people because unless they had you know a cousin or a friend who was autistic or a cousin or a friend who's paralyzed like they will not understand. And even then we're just their token disabled friend. What's that understand who I am as a person. We're all so different. Yeah it's it's absolutely so true.

And it's funny because you mentioned how people respond to your appearance Chloe it made me think of um so besides my clinic where I work with like athletes, I also work at a medical daycare and these kids are like totally along spectrum. Some of them you can't tell anything's wrong with them. Some of them have like tricks G. Tubes like all of that. And there's this one little boy who's like five and he has S. M. A. So his muscles are like atrophy. He's in a chair, he wheels around, he's very weak but mentally he's 100% and then we have another girl, I'm gonna murder the name but basically you're born with like contractors and like your joints her the wrong way so you have like a club foot like her wrister turned the wrong way. You know her shoulders are stuck in, its like Arthur grip hope is group posted, something like that and this is a kid in a wheelchair and he looks at her and he's like, why does she look like that? Oh my God. So if he doesn't get it, how is anybody gonna get?

And I had to explain to him, she was born like that. And sometimes people look different than you and in the look of absolute shock in his eyes and he's like, what? Yeah, it's neurogenesis. Arthur Grippo sis your broker. Yeah, it's hard to say so yeah, I don't even understand how is the regular normal person going to understand it? Yeah, totally. And I hear it actually all the time that the most marvelous comments and the most offensive things we hear are from other disabled folks because they see themselves as this way and they define themselves as disabled. Um, like I've seen fights in the parking lot in the handicapped section. People looking at each other or waiting to see if that person is disabled enough to park. It's really ridiculous. Is that persons disabled enough is asked so often even in my venue like, oh, why are you sitting that person down in a normal chair?

Whereas you know, my back hurts when I sit on the cement. It happens way too often where where we're comparing each other souls to others and there's people that are not Wheelchair users, 100% of the time, like that's a thing. You know, there are people that sometimes they use a wheelchair and sometimes they use crutches. Sometimes they're okay like that's that's real life. But if you are the person that is always walking are always in a chair, like you just can't conceptualize like other people outside of me exist. I mean it's kind of like the main idea like other people that aren't like you exist. That's it. That's it. If you get your podcast no more, it's pretty much the main idea. Gosh, anyways, Yeah, and and jumping off of what Chloe said in people's reactions towards you and how hurtful that is, especially as a kid, like I was so juiced to be a part of the Girl Scouts um for less than an hour, sometimes there are these activities and they do it still in high school and college where they stand you around in a circle and you're forced to hold each other's hands.

And as a kid I'm like, oh yeah, okay. Everybody holds my hand and you know my family, they hold my hands very often. But when outsiders of another Children or other individuals like see it for the first time or touch it for the first time they yell. And so that happened happened quite a few times in my life where they look at it and they don't want to hold my hand and they scream and actually this one caused the girl to cry and I was like, oh no, it's okay, I have to be the one telling her it's okay, you know, whereas you as a kid sucked up my self esteem five times more than it already. So I went back unfortunately, luckily Girl Scouts was not something that I wanted to go into because once I found out that all we had to do selfie, I want to, I want to be outdoors. But yeah, luckily for me it just wasn't my route.

But for others, like how many times are are disabled? Just discouraged to join something because they're looked at a certain way or even told that they couldn't do this. Like we are gonna federations and other sports um future podcasts, but we're constantly told that we can't do this because of our disability and it's so frustrating, that's why this is important for those able bodied coaches, able bodied federations, other communities that just don't understand and write the rules in an able bodied mind. Yeah. And and the people that do exist that are making modifications and that are being adaptive and whatever. Like take everyone with you, you know, like take, take everyone with you. Like we have to like nobody's gonna do this for us, we have to bring each other up and I don't think there should be any any lines or boundaries.

They're like, we just bring everybody up if I'm if I'm coming up with the spoon is coming up, you're coming up to, you know, that's like that's it. Yes. Just like when, you know, we're in, we're in a conference meeting and nobody hears the woman or nobody hears the woman of color and the white male says the exact same thing listening to him. So in these times, the people who are making the change are able bodied folks who are listening to the disabled community. Yeah, that's true too. That's pretty true. So on that note, thank you all for listening. Yes. Welcome to the podcast and uh, stick around disabled girls up. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who lift. Don't forget to follow rate and like us on Spotify itunes and player FM. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who left.

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