Hello everyone my name is Marika and today I’m going to share with you tips for dating with a disability. And this a really important topic for me because if you have a disability you love to be in love and you love to have sex and Let’s make that happen! So dating with a disability is a really important topic to me because number one I have a disability and you can tell I have Cleft Lip and Palate which makes my mouth a little bit diifferently shaped and also affects my speech and I also have a syndrome that affects my leg so basically I had to have surgery and I have to walk on my toes so it impairs my functioning in some ways. I just want to tell you that In your life there are people who, there are people out there who are going to love your for exactly who you are. Exactly who you are! That includes your intelligence or your interests or your beauty and your disability. They are going to love the way your voice sounds. The are going to love helping you. You know, if you have some kind of physical disability where you need assistance, they are going to love helping you. They are going to love seeing you, your body in its uniqueness. They are going to fall in love with that. They’re not going to fall in love with you because they are able to look past your disability. They’re going to fall in love with you because of who you are, which INCLUDES your disability. That’s the most important thing I want to tell you today and that brings me to my first point which is confidence. Know that you are beautiful and you are handsome and you are intelligent and interesting and for us as people with disabilities it’s hard to kind of wrap ourselves around confidence specifically confidence in the dating arena, right? So sometimes we have great friends or we have talents in a job, but in the dating arena we feel a little bit awkward because we don’t see people like us dating and the majority of the other people in the population do. This does not include, people you know, African-Americans are not equally represented or people who are transgender. I want to tell you that even if you feel 5% more confident than yesterday that is amazing and wonderful! My tip on developing confidence is to do it one step at a time so to find something kind of simple that you know that you love about yourself. So for instance intelligence or sense of humor. Focus on that, you know. Focus, on that as a wonderful quality that someone’s going to want in a partner. So that can be you love comic books, or you’re a great writer or you have beautiful eyes or you have a sexy smile Or nice legs whatever you can find. Now if you’re kind of like, not really sure ask your friends and family. They Know! They’ll tell you. Ask them! What’s interesting about me? What’s sexy about me? Now the next step that I would say that’s very important Is to be transparent. Just be up front. Tell people that you have a disability.Tell them what it is. But focus on your strengths. There’s a wonderful example of someone that I saw in an online profile where he was talking about “I’m blind that I love to go hiking I take my seeing eye dog with me.” People who don’t have disability or who aren’t familiar with your disability might not know what your limitations are. They may assume you have more limitations than you do. They may assume you have less limitations. Just let them know in kind of a fun casual way. So talk about what is diifficult for you and also what what you love to do. So kind of play it up like that. The other thing that I recommend is to absolutely avoid overcompensating. So I think this kind of idea comes across, perhaps it came across from this Idea of charity where people who were disabled were seen as “Angels” or “Saints” or Things like that. But honestly if you’re disabled you have a right to be an asshole, you know? Hopefully you’re not! Hopefully you have developed strength and personality and character. Hopefully you are strong and badass and that will absolutely come through when you’re spending time with someone in a date setting. I would really strongly encourage you to avoid overcompensating because that’s not who you really are and what’s really interesting about you as having a disability, whether it’s physical or mental although I’m from primarily talking about physical in this video, Is that you’ve lived a really Interesting life and you’re probably strong because of that and you’ve probably had to deal with some pretty real things. So you you know how to keep it real, you’re down to earth and that’s a great quality to have! And trying too hard to be nice is kind of, let’s face it, nauseating and also not authentic. If you’re trying too hard to be nice, people won’t see how interesting and cool you are. So, I would avoid that. So another tip that I’d like to give you about dating with a disability is to take the focus off your disability and to just focus on having fun and meeting a new person and It’s really pretty interesting and cool meeting a new person so focusing on that on your date is going to really help a lot. Now the other point I’d like to make about people disabilities Is that we can get some flack and I have gotten some flak sometimes. Notoriously when I was young I wanted to eat and someone asked me “Uhhh, what’s wrong with your mouth?” And I told my friends and they, were like, well what’s wrong with HIS mouth because obviously that’s kind of a jackass thing to say, right? But ultimately you really want to go on a date With someone who’s not caught up in someone looking an exact way. Cause, you know what? Honestly people with disabilities are freaking hot and if someone doesn’t, can’t focus on that because you, don’t have xyz that’s just like xy and whoever Well you know, what who cares about that? And someone who Is caught up in those really fine details and who can’t handle learning about someone new or who isn’t able to stick around to learn more they’re probably not people who are gonna be able to endure through thick and thin so they’re probably doing you a favor. Now the other thing Is that It’s not always about your disability, right? So some people may not actually want to go on date with you again because They might (I know!) not like your personality! What?! So if you have a disability, you are just like everyone else, you can have quirks that are annoying or that people don’t like, or Maybe you, like, burp inappropriately. I don’t know! But, you know, it’s good to take a look at like, “Hey maybe there’s something else that I’m doing that is not, you know, attractive, or is not exactly caring on a date or is a little bit repellant.” Because, honestly, it’s not always about disability and it’s really Important to realize that. That, you know what? We have a disability but just because you have a disability doesn’t mean that you aren’t learning and growing and you might have things that you can work on. The most important thing is to surround yourself with people you love It’s really not important if you’re not with a significant other all the time. The most important thing is surround yourself with people who love you and care about you as a person. Whether or not, that’s your Family and your friends or a lover is somewhat irrelevant. Now the whole point of this video Is that you can totally date and mate etc Tons of people are doing it and enough said on that! But it’s really more important to be with someone who really treats you well. And this is my last point Is that sometimes people with disabilities through bullying and experiences in the past, or not seeing themselves represented in the media can have low self-esteem and that can lead to being in relationships that are not healthy and It’s interesting so sometimes people who are not healthy themselves will choose people to be in relationships with that already have low self-esteem. And so sometimes that can be people who have disabilities, whether or not that’s a mental disability or a physical disability or perhaps they’ve been traumatized as a young person, that’s also the case commonly, but . . .. So that is something that can happen and people who have disabilities can be victims of abusive relationships sexual, physical emotional. And I’m here to tell you that you deserve more than that and you will have more of that. If you are in an abusive relationship right now, I know that there is so much more in store for you in the future. And don’t let this idea of lack or limitation prevent you from surrounding yourself with people who love you and every single moment that you’re with this person who Is treating you in a way that is hurtful to you is one less moment that you could be enjoying your life, enjoying your family, or enjoying your future lover, and so I really encourage you To step out of that idea that “Oh, no I have a Disability. No one else is going to love you.” That Is complete bullshit! That Is something that Is portrayed in the media, this Idea that you have to look a certain way. But, honestly a lot of people are now unplugging from the media because they are tired of these images. And these images aren’t correct, okay? So people with disabilities are in happy loving relationships every single minute of the day and you deserve that too. I know you do! And you’re gonna have that you’re going to have love in your life and whether or not it’s a romantic partner right now, that’s totally fine Now there is, also the reality of living with a disability is that because of, you know all that I’ve talked, about lack of awareness about people with disabilities, lack of understanding about people with disabilities, We may have somewhat less partners than other people who don’t have a disability. There may be times in your life when your love life may be a little bit like a desert, you know what I’m saying? But that doesn’t mean there is not an oasis around the corner. And someone who loves you is going to be someone who loves all of who you are and appreciates all of who you are. And so wait for that oasis! Wait for that Oasis! Don’t settle for something that’s hurtful for you or harmful for you. Now there are people who will be attracted to you when you have a disability that aren’s exactly right for you. And so it’s important to realize that too. That just because you have a disability doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a relationship that you’re not happy with. So I want to end this video with saying that I believe in you and you are going to have some amazing dates, some amazing experiences, some amazing love, as I have and so many other people with disabilities have had. And you deserve it It is part of who you are, having sexual experiences, dating experiences. And I want you to grab it by the horns and even if it’s just starting to think about yourself as a sexual being, Just start doing that and really owning that and taking that into your heart “I am a sexual being. I’m a being who deserves love and I am damn sexy!” I want to let you know that by incorporating these ideas you are helping the world! You are the future. You are the one who is going to help people with disabilities be accepted and aware in the Community. You’re going to break down boundaries. Please don’t hide yourself! Please date Like crazy! And show people the amazing potential that you carry inside you. Thanks for watching! Bye bye!