Women with disabilities write to their past selves

thrivesliderEaster Seals has been supporting mentorship programs for many years, and in 2012 we helped launch a mentorship program focused on young women with disabilities. The program is called Thrive, and the offline program is based at Easter Seals Massachusetts. We’ve just expanded nationally online at Easterseals.com/thrive so anyone can join in!

Last year Thrive’s program coordinator Sandy Ho helped launch a Letters to Thrive blog encouraging women with disabilities to write letters to their younger selves. I follow the Letters to Thrive blog, and I found Sandy’s letter so compelling that I wanted to share it with you Easter Seals blog readers.

12 June 2013

You’ve just begun college, and I gotta admit that you are already a different person than you were just a few months ago. But right now I am writing to you five years later from the future, and there is even more that will surprise you about yourself even though right now sitting in your dorm room you feel like you’ve got everything all figured out.

The truth is that you don’t have it all figured out. And I know that that scares you to admit. It scares you because it makes you feel alone and isolated, because you are holding onto some secret mystery that you think only you have to hold onto for dear life. Right now you don’t even know what that secret mystery is, it’s just a presence inside of you that you’ve become used to until the day you begin to give it a name and let others in on it too. Over time the secret doesn’t really become heavier or any lighter on your shoulders, it just becomes less of an elephant inside of you and more of a light.

Spoiler alert: You aren’t afraid to try even though up until now you haven’t experienced failures that will leave you in your bed for days, crying and refusing to talk to anyone. You aren’t afraid to jump into things and become involved even though those decisions may make you completely re-think the person you are, and what you’re capable of. But most of all you are unafraid to reach out to others and help, even though you will learn in that process parts of yourself you were too embarrassed to admit, and quite frankly felt like you didn’t know the words to explain what you wanted and why.

I will say that five years later none of those things have stopped being true. At least now you know what that secret mystery inside of you is. You know that it hasn’t really stopped being a mystery, maybe less of a secret because you have found so many others to share it with. But there are still some parts of it that are unknown, and I am so grateful to have discovered other disabled women whose experiences and willingness to come together allow the questions from yesterday and today to ignite your passions for tomorrow.

Love always,
Your future self

Sandy’s is just one of many letters that have been submitted to Letters to Thrive on Tumblr. Some are empowering, some are resourceful, some give advice, and some are empathetic. Letter-writers brag, vent and celebrate. one thing they all have in common? They’re all honest.

The Letters to Thrive is creating a community out of shared life experiences, and they’re looking to grow. If you are a woman with a disability, please consider writing a letter to your younger self and submitting it to Letters to Thrive. I’m working on a letter myself and will be sharing it with both the Letters to Thrive blog on Tumblr and here on the Easter Seals blog as well. Stay tuned!


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  1. Beth Finke Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment here, Elaine. Someone from Easter Seals will get back to you personally with suggestions.

  2. Elaine M Cassinelli Says:

    I am a persistant Lyme disease woman who is dyslexic 70, and unable to help myself get a shower. I have been moved to Maine to be closer to my son with a wife and 2 active children and am slowly finding I cannot be counting on them to help me when needed. I have limited funds and need help to wash and pickup
    around the house. Can you advise me?
    I was diagnosed as a child with ashperger’s syndrome at Harvard University, though, I prefer to not be labeled with that. I am trying to do for myself when ill,but,cannot. I also would like to blog. Can you help?
    Elaine Mullen Cassinelli

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