I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Sullivan, an Instagram Influencer, blogger, aspiring author and fashionista who lives in the UK. As a person with cerebral palsy, Rebecca is an inspiring advocate for the disability community, during Disability Pride Month and always. She is someone you’ll love getting to know. So, read on!
Daisy: Hi Rebecca! Thank you for taking the time for an interview. I’m a big fan and love your Instagram. Seeing your huge smile, inspirational words and colorful outfits always brightens my day. You’re an amazing role model to everyone, and an inspirational disability advocate.
So, tell me a little bit about your blog, From This Window. When did you start it and what inspired you?
Rebecca: Firstly, thank you for such a kind and complimentary intro. I really appreciate that. I started my blog, From This Window, about 4 or 5 years ago after having a conversation with a friend and just started writing about the world around me! And then a couple of years later I started sharing parts of my experience of cerebral palsy and now I mostly write about disability and raising awareness about different subjects within this.
Daisy: You have written about people with disabilities being stereotyped or treated “unfavorably.” You express the need to be seen. Can you explain more about that?
Rebecca: Some can view disabled people through a fragile lens. See us as unable or incapable. However this is so far from the truth. It is so important that this is realized and that disabled people have the same opportunities as non-disabled people, from education to work to voting to medical care.
Daisy: I totally agree. How can people who do not have a disability be an ally to the disability community?
Rebecca: Listen to disabled people. See disabled people individually--what I experience as a disabled person will be different to someone else’s. Campaign for inclusion and accessibility. Understand that these subjects are for everyone to act on.
Daisy: For sure. We’re all in this together.
You’ve written about how people talk to/approach individuals with disabilities. What have you encountered regarding that?
Rebecca: I’ve had people just refer to me as ‘she’ and only address the person I’m with rather than directly speaking to me. However, I’d love for them to speak to me! Or if I rock up somewhere in my wheelchair I can see their animated expressions suggesting that they have seen me through a disability stereotype lens.
Daisy: I’m glad you are raising awareness of this so people can be more mindful in their interactions.
So, I want to help kids in school understand what it feels like to be considered “different”, and how they can be more inclusive. You wrote an Instagram post to your younger self saying “it can be really difficult to find your place.” How was it for you in school?
Rebecca: As a young kid, as strange as it sounds, I wasn’t fully aware of what my disability meant. It was only as I got older that I realized this. I think kids needs to be encouraged and be familiarized with the thing that everyone is different and be aware that people do things in different way. For example, some people get from A to B by walking, while others use a wheelchair or another mobility aid. Introduce children’s books with disabled characters. Normalize disability as much as possible.
Daisy: Absolutely. I love your suggestion of books with disabled characters. Including You is actually working on getting some books like that distributed.
Tell me about your painting. Do you have a favorite medium? Is your work available for sale?
Rebecca: Painting is just a relaxing hobby that I have. I paint white wooden hearts with a combination of different colors. I find it really exciting watching a mix of colors come together.
Daisy: I see you love unicorns and rainbows! Do they bring you joy?
Rebecca: I love rainbows and unicorns! They make me so happy! The more colors the better!
Daisy: Would you ever consider modeling? You dress so fashionably. I loved that outfit with cherries, all coordinated, that you had on in one post! And I love your use of color! Even the wheels on your chair are awesome!
Rebecca: I just like dressing up for fun and playing with different looks—It was so exciting putting together that cherry outfit. It is so important to me that I can accessorize my wheelchair. I see my chair as an extension of myself and so I love how I can show some of my personality through my wheels.
Daisy: I love your style!
Daisy: You have written that “your voice is your power” and that you “no longer want to be silent and pretend that I am not moved by the inequality that is blandly obvious in society, a society that is fractured and unable stand in solidarity with those with differences.” How do you plan to continue to raise your voice about this issue, and how can others help amplify it?
Rebecca: I think it is just a case of keep talking. Keep discussing about the injustices that disabled people face and make this reach as many people as possible.
Daisy: Thank you so much, Rebecca!
Follow Rebecca on Instagram at @FromThisWindow and check out her amazing blog at http://fromthiswindow.co.uk/.