Sharing Raw Stories is a way for us to connect, acknowledge the beauty, strength and perseverance involved in every journey. We hope these stories enlighten, inspire and encourage you as you walk your own path and help you to know that you are never alone.
What is your Raw Story?
My name is Gemma and this is my story,
I was born with a missing left forearm and have hidden it all my life…up until the start of this year. I was tired of hiding it under clothing or buying clothing to cover up my arm. It became a habit of hiding it, something I’ve done my whole life, something that was part of my nature. In January, I had the realisation that I let it control my life and stopped me from being me. I’ve always been scared of what people think, what they would say, I hated people staring, I hated people looking at me like I was weak or less than…. But I allowed them to think this by covering up my arm. So I went out, I bought the sleeveless dresses that I’ve always wanted to wear, I started an instagram to promote body positivity, I followed beautiful people on instagram with disabilities similar to myself and I felt the confidence that I never had. As I hid myself away from the world I wasn’t able to see the community behind disability, the strong empowered men and women fighting for diversity in the fashion industries and the millions of people with disabilities that are out there. It‘s a shame how society perceives disabled people, how there is a stereotype around the word that is very negative that allows every person with a disability to feel insecure and powerless. It’s a shame there isn’t enough diversity in fashion and media industries so that the younger generations have someone to look up to as a role model.
24 years I hid my disability from the world, I always believed I was given my disability for a reason and that’s to make a difference. I am now an Ambassador for an amazing charity @modelsofdiversity supporting diversity in the fashion and media, I am now a disabled model in the hope to get more disabled models out there to inspire the younger generations, I will continue my instagram in the hope to inspire others and most importantly, I will never hide my disability again.