by Carrie Derickson

I come from a small town called West Bank First Nation. Growing up I remember a lot of issues between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Sometimes I refer to my home community as Neverland, like in Peter Pan. I left my community when I was 25. I wanted to make my own future and to focus on what I really needed rather than focus on the colour of my skin.

Being independent means being able to take care of my own needs, make my own decisions and be responsible for those decisions. It also means taking control of the different parts of my life, and my lifestyle, including where I live, where I work, and the opportunities I have to learn with my mind, body and soul.

I have been blessed in finding my way to independence with my own apartment and staff I trust. But, it’s not an easy path for many of us who live in the disability world. I have moved five or six times on my journey. Most of us rely on good people that we can trust to help us. Sometimes people aren’t in our lives for the right reason, which is why trust is a big issue for me. We also rely on financial support that isn’t always there either. Many of us struggle to get a job that will pay the bills and help with medical costs. This makes the path a little bit confusing and emotional because of how it winds around and up and down for good and for bad.

Independence for me depends on a web of trust, money and support. If that’s not there, it’s a hard road. I’m hoping I will soon be able to do more of my own thing, like pay my own bills with a job, and not money from the ministry.

Even though it’s not easy, following the path to independence is worth it and I am hopeful that more and more people with all kinds of disabilities will have fulfilling and independent lives all over the world.

Carrie encourages others to follow the path to independence in their own lives.

This story on CLBC website go to the link here

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