July was Disability Pride Month, predominantly in the US to mark the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed into law in the US in 1990, this was also when they held the first Disability Pride Day.

I created some digitally drawn self-portraits to celebrate my identity as a disabled woman. 

They are quite different from my usual work but I wanted to create something joyful! I have tried to create three images that represent some of the variations on my disability which can change day to day depending on my various illness', the complications they cause and the situation.

An outline self-portrait drawing of Charlie, a white women in a long blue dress and outline of brown hair tied in a ponytail. Her face has oval blocked in pink cheeks, she stands with her left arm at a 90 degree anglewith her body, as if supporting herself on a wall. Above the line drawing in orange painted text it reads 'proud disabled woman'. Behind the outline drawing there are block coloured shapes. At the top is a blue hexagon, below that and to the left a light green rectangle, below that a grey triangle and below that a light blue circle.

Proud Disabled Woman #1

digtal self-portrait, July 2020

In this image I am standing without mobility aids, although I'm using my arm to support myself, because standing still is always difficult and painful for me. In moments like this my disability is almost invisible to those who don't know me.

Proud Disabled Woman #2

digtal self-portrait, July 2020

In this image I am using my wheelchair. I am an ambulatory wheelchair user, which means I use a wheelchair as and when it will aid me, not necessarily all the time as my disability and illness affects different parts of my body day to day.

An outline self-portrait drawing of Charlie a white women with brown bob in her wheelchair. Her face has oval blocked in pink cheeks. Above the line drawing in bright pink painted text it reads 'proud disabled woman'. The background is lilac and behind the outline drawing there are block coloured shapes. At the top left is a blue square, next to that is a peachy pink octagon, below that a light green triangle and at the bottom a light blue oval.
An outline self-portrait drawing of Charlie a white women with brown hair tied back. Wearing knee braces and using a walking stick. Above the line drawing in blue painted text it reads 'proud disabled woman'. Behind the outline drawing there are block coloured shapes. At the top is a green square, below that and to the left is a light blue rectangle, below that a bright blue circle, below that a yellow triangle and below that and to the left a dark purple pentagon.

Proud Disabled Woman #2

digtal self-portrait, July 2020

In this image I am using a cane and knee braces. The primary genetic connective tissue disorder I have, Classical Elhers-Danlos Syndrome causes my mobility to vary almost daily.

I feel slightly uncomfortable sharing self-portraits but I find them so empowering from other people, especially when they highlight an experience that is often marginalised. I think the discomforts comes from the discomfort of taking up space as a disabled woman. I often find myself being overly polite or accommodating to the detriment of my wellbeing, especially in public when I am using mobility aids. As disabled womxn we need to be seen in society. Self-portraits, memoirs, artworks representing our individual experiences is a way to take up space.​