What it's like to live with a disability, illustrated with comics.



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With a social media tagline like “I didn’t choose the disabled life … the disabled life chose me,” you know sisters Jessica and Lianna have a great sense of humor.

Jessica, 25, and Lianna, 27, both live with an undiagnosed medical condition, and both use a wheelchair. They noticed there was lack of disability comics and memes online, so they thought: “We like to draw — why not start making some we could actually relate to!”

Eventually, the sisters started The Disabled Life.

They thought it would be a fun way share their disability humor online, and the site immediately took off. Now the comics offer able-bodied people like me a glimpse into Jessica and Lianna’s everyday lives (with a little humor and lots of wit), and they give other disabled folks a place to talk about issues they face, too.

Here are 13 of their witty comics about living with a disability IRL:

1. Like when it comes to denim struggles.

All images via The Disabled Life/Tumblr, used with permission.

2. Or dealing with inaccessibility and able-bodied people thinking it’s the most inspiring thing ever.

3. They remember their cousin hopping on the back of their chair to go through a drive-thru.

4. Or how, growing up, everyone was more aware they had a disability than they were.

5. Then there are funny anecdotes, like how they’re always “half done, never fully cooked” when tanning.

6. Or trying to tame that mane when it’s a bad hair day.

7. Then there’s stuff we don’t normally think about — like hugs.

8. Or trying to bite into a jawbreaker when you have limited use of your arm.

9. When it comes to personal space, the struggle is real.

10. There’s no getting out of doing the “YMCA” just because you’re in a wheelchair.

11. And the less-than-gentlemanly behavior they encounter online is the worst.

12. Then there’s the ever-important but ever-difficult struggle that is selfie-taking!

13. And feeling like Miley Cyrus swinging on that wrecking ball every time they use a wheelchair lift.

When it comes to The Disabled Life’s popularity, Jessica says it’s amazing that people find their personal experiences so relatable.

“It’s so weird because we actually had no idea this would go anywhere. It just started as something for us, for fun. So it’s overwhelming to see all this positive feedback!”

The sisters are also aware other people may not find their material funny. They even have a disclaimer on their website: “To the able-bodied: other people with disabilities may or may not agree with our views. And that’s cool! Because us disabled folks are people too, with a wide range of opinions on stuff.”

By documenting “the jerks and perks” of living #TheDisabledLife (their hashtag of preference), Jessica and Lianna invite you to ask questions about what living life in a wheelchair is really like.

As Jessica so powerfully puts it: “It’s 2016! We’re human beings (who happen to sit). It’s really not asking much to be treated like other human beings.”

Jessica and Lianna are on a mission to make having a disability not so taboo, and these comics are a great way to do just that.

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Lianna and Jessica asked that we only use their first names.

All comics in this article were featured with permission. See more of Lianna and Jessica’s work at The Disabled Life.





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