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A Story of Being Human, Advocacy, Personal Reflections

A Story of Being Human: Persuasion in Persistence

This is an installment from our storytelling photography project entitled A Story Of Being Human. To learn more, check out our introductory post here.

Haley1

“I had a coworker tell me the other day, “You’re very persistent, you don’t really let things go.” I said, “No, you’re right, I don’t. I like to get things done.” Having a list is the most cathartic thing to me and checking things off that list feels amazing.

In my family, we are pretty persistent human beings. We don’t really give up, ever. My parents are both very driven, hard working people, and that was instilled in me growing up. If you tell me I can’t do something, I am probably going to say, “screw you” in my head, and then turn around and prove you wrong. Even if my own family is telling me I can’t do something, I think, “Okay, watch me.”

Haley2

 “My parents had a very strict household growing up, but in a good sense, because they really expected me and my sisters to do the exact same things. Our household was structured. You weren’t allowed to turn on the TV until your homework was done. All three of us were expected to get straight A’s in high school. We were all expected to go to a good school after graduating. My sisters are both at UW-Madison like I was. They’re both “Baby Badgers“ now.

We had high expectations but I think it was good that my parents never treated me any differently than my sisters. And I’m the oldest, so let’s be real, I had higher expectations! I had to set the bar, my sisters had it easy!”

Haley3
“I try to live in the moment, but my life is so [revolved] around planning. For a long time I planned down to the minute I had to pee. That’s kind of ridiculous if you think about it.

Because I’m a planner, when things don’t go the way I envisioned, sometimes that’s hard to accept. But I’m a big believer that it’s going to happen when it’s supposed to happen, when it’s right for me in my life and that’s not something I can always control, so learning to let go of that control is good.

Most of the time my life just is what it is – it’s what I’ve known my entire life. Like anybody, some days I think “Well, this really sucks. I can’t get up and go do X, Y & Z.” But there’s no point in being upset about that because there’s nothing you can do about it. So I have to focus on what I can do and move forward.

My life has made me flexible. If I was easily rattled by issues I wouldn’t have my job and I probably wouldn’t be in life where I am right now.”

Haley4
“Being a 24-year-old single human, it’s all the typical struggles of a new young adult. Getting my job under my belt, making sure I eat dinner and that it’s not cake or Mac n’ Cheese. But ultimately, it’s about finding a voice. I like to help people see a different perspective and challenge the way they think and the way they perceive things.

The government and politics and all that would drive me nuts. It’s so frustrating to get anything done. I think those bills will come in time if we can change people’s perceptions. I think society’s view of people with disabilities is harder to change. Until you change that, you are not going to get anywhere with policies. I find that’s a bigger challenge, but it’s more fun to me because it’s just seeing people for people and really getting on their level and helping people understand that we’re all human.”

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