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PO Box 220751
St. Louis, MO 63122

May 2004

“You Are Important”

First, I would like to say “Congrats” to St. John’s for continuing this newsletter. I’ve been writing “Katie’s Korner” since its inception in1991. You should be proud of yourselves! I know I’m thankful for this opportunity to share what my life, as a woman on wheels has been like, in the hope that it my help and/or educate others.

This year I am looking at forty years here in the third dimension. I’ve been wheeling for fourteen of them. While I hate the wrinkles on my face and the sagging parts I can’t move, I love the wisdom I have gained. Life is too short to just sit and worry.

After my injury dubbed me; “super quad.” Soon after my auto accident, I sat on three not for profit boards; president of two of them, I was a founding member and six year participant of the theater group “The disAbility Project,” I served the city of Webster Groves for five years as their Access Coordinator and mentored many other people with disabilities. That’s when I realized- I need to take a break.

Time has taught me to slow down. You have to. Otherwise you’ll miss what life is teaching you. Sometimes we keep ourselves so busy we forget to take care of ourselves. OK, I’m sounding a little Oprah-like. But it’s true. Remember- you are important too. When you love and place yourself first, you are then able to fully give to others.

When I finally placed myself in my own driver’s seat I felt healthier, more at peace and able to take my time and enjoy what life has to offer. My husband Steve gave me this wonderful bumper sticker that said “The secret to life…is to live it.” I’m living life on my terms and the biggest gift I’ve given myself; is the ability to say “No.”

I don’t have to be everything to every body. I was for so long and that gave me head aches, stomach ulcers and really played havoc on my depression. Thank God for my therapist and my antidepressant. But now that I put me first I appreciate life so much more. I spend time with my friends, the ones who are interested in me and are good for me. I’ve left those who were users with ulterior motives and hidden agendas. I don’t have time for any b.s. in my life.

Finally, find out what makes you happy, provided it’s not illegal, immoral or fattening! Take pride in who you are and what you believe in. Stand up for yourself- OK not the most applicable statement for all of us on wheels! But you know what I mean. You are more than just disabled. Believe that.

But really…we are all dealing with something. I provide disability education programs and one of the tasks I give the participants is to take an index card and write down three things they can’t do, that they feel the average person CAN do. I then ask them what their lives would be like if they had to wear that card everyday- displaying their disabilities. Man, the looks on their faces say it all!

So, be good to you. You are as important as anyone else and don’t let anyone tell you different!

Katie Rodriguez Banister works with audiences to embrace diversity
through motivational speaking and disability education.

©2019 Access-4-All
PO Box 220751
St. Louis, MO 63122