ByKayla Whaley

Kayla Whaley is co-editor of Disability in Kidlit and a graduate of the Clarion Writers' Workshop. She specializes in being way too earnest on the internet.

  1. I sit in my wheelchair at the edge of the pool. My seat belt is undone, just in case. If my chair somehow ends up in the water, it’ll be easier to escape that way.

  2. I. Tradition I always wanted the kind of holidays you see in Publix commercials, ones stuffed with family sitting around a mile-long table that’s covered with dishes all lovingly made. I imagined waking on Thanksgiving to frosted windows and a house already warm from the oven. Aunts and uncles and cousins would stagger in throughout the day, some early enough to watch the parade while the air slowly turned savory; some just in time…

  3. Sometime during middle school a male relative told me that if I weren’t in a wheelchair, I’d be “tall, thin, and gorgeous.” He meant it as a compliment, and I took it as such. Even as my throat tightened and my palms tingled with discomfort, I thanked him. Because I knew could have been was the closest I’d ever come to beautiful so long as I used a wheelchair.

  4. In some ways, camp was an exercise in playing pretend. If we rode horses, went swimming, shot some arrows, and never talked about our disabilities, then maybe we’d be almost normal, almost abled. There wasn’t a chance to wonder if we were just as whole as abled kids and our experiences just as valid. We accepted without hesitation that normal was the goal.