CASSIDY’S COLUMN: When people call me ‘inspirational,’ I sometimes take offense

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Cass Huff is a special needs student at Mt. Rainier High School. In 2016, she was named “Citizen of the Year” by the City of Burien.

by Cass Huff

Hey B-Town Readers!

Today I’m going to be writing about a topic that is prevelant in my life.

It is about when and how to use the word “inspirational“.

When people call me inspirational, I sometimes take offense to it. Here’s why: yes, I do have disability. But I don’t let it get in the way of anything that I want to accomplish. I was not raised differently because of my disability. I still get up in the morning and go to school like an “average” teenager. I still complain about homework and hang out with my friends just like everyone else.

So when you tell me that I’m “inspirational” you’re saying that if you were in my circumstances, you wouldn’t be able to do what I do. But I’m just living my life like anyone else. What else am I supposed to do?

If you call me inspirational, the first thing that I will ask is why you feel that way. If it’s because I have inspired you through my music or have helped you through a hard time or something along those lines, then I wouldn’t take offense to that.

But if I inspire you because I do regular things, or just live my life, then that’s one of the times that I would take offense to it.

I have talked to other people with disabilites and they agree with me. One of my best friends, Kaelyn, is 18 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. She says: “I don’t think that people with differences should be called inspirational for just getting out of bed and doing what everybody else does. I think it’s okay to call someone inspirational if they make the world a better place. Most of us in the disability community don’t let our challenges or differences define us. We want to be called inspirational for doing something extraordinary not for doing everyday tasks that life requires.”

So the next time you think about calling someone inspirational, regardless of the circumstances, think about what you just read and please take it into account.

Over and Out!

– Cass & Kaelyn

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3 Responses to “CASSIDY’S COLUMN: When people call me ‘inspirational,’ I sometimes take offense”
  1. Wondering says:

    Yes, you are!
    If you can do it, so can I! Some times just getting out of bed is hard for some people. So please remember you are helping.
    Love and hugs for you.

  2. Thank you for writing this piece, Cassidy. I would like you to know that I think you are a very inspirational young lady for sharing your personal feelings with us in your article.

    You have great self insight and self assurance, and I AM INSPIRED by those traits in you. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your position, thank you for sharing your music and thank you for being genuine with us. The world needs more genuine.

  3. Lakeview Too says:

    I am inspired by how much you’ve managed to accomplish at such a young age: heading up an effort to get other students computers, if I remember right, being an amazingly artistic singer (saw the YouTube video), and writing for the local blog!

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