Paralympic Swimmer Mallory Weggemann Says Her Disability "Is a Part I Am Proud Of"

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In honor of July being Disability Pride Month, Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann shared this powerful Instagram post about how proud her disability makes her feel. She said in the caption how, following her paralysis, "I wished these four wheels away. Their presence made me ashamed and the idea of their permanence terrified me." For four years, she said, she used swimming as a way to run away from an identity she wasn't yet ready to accept. She was ashamed because she felt society sent the message that "living with a disability was no way to live," that having a disability is something to be pitied, and that you're incapable. But she knows now that's completely untrue.

"Now, I realize the pride I carry for the wheels beneath me, the journey they have brought me on, and strength I carry in identifying as a woman with a disability," Weggemann stated. She said her disability isn't something to be ashamed of but is rather an integral part of who she is: "a part I am proud of."

She said in her caption: "I am not sorry I am paralyzed. Maybe at one point I was, but I have grown to realize that accepting my disability as a part of my identity doesn't give power to that day, actually quite the opposite. Proudly accepting that I am a woman with a disability allows me to lean into the fullness of who I am."

Weggemann said that while rolling instead of stepping is different to some, it is her normal, and she chooses to celebrate it. And she said, "I invite all of you to do the same."

Related: Pay Attention: Team USA Wants to "Make the Paralympics Impossible to Miss"

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