Here at Liberare we love talking to your favorite disabled influencers about all things disability-related, which we’ve loved getting to do through our community chats. Our community chats are a way for us to connect with our amazing Liberare community and get to speak to you folks and your favorite influencers on a deeper and more personal level. This is a sneak peek at one of our first community chats with Michelle Roger. Michelle is an incredible disabled model and influencer and she’s always spreading awareness about disability and what it’s like to be disabled in the modeling industry. In this excerpt she talks about her life and how she came to have a platform related to her disability and how hard it can be to just get out of bed sometimes. If you like what you read here please go watch Michelle’s community chat and others here! You can find Michelle on her Instagram here!
In this excerpt, Michelle will be talking about her #upanddressedproject, a movement to celebrate small accomplishments to show that just getting up and getting dressed is enough, and can be even so extremely difficult with a disability.
It was sort of one of those things that there was no planning for that just sort of happened organically. Back in, 2015, it was, I should know. I was really quite unwell, at the time, just multiple things were going wrong with my body just completely out of whack, or spinning long hours in bed, barely getting dressed. And my mood, pretty much matched what was going on with my body, which I'm sure everyone's pretty familiar with, you get into that cycle of you're feeling dreadful you're in pain, nausea, this week, and then the idea of even dressing or doing anything, just becomes overwhelming and I just had a day where I just, I needed to not be in pajamas.
I just needed to not “not feel”. And so I got up, I didn't show I didn't do my hair or anything like that I just got dressed and I put clothes on. It had been so long that I went into my laundry which is about the best light in the house and stood there and I took a photo, and I put it online, just to prove to myself that I'd actually physically gotten up and got dressed. And then I did it the next day and the next, and the next, and I think I've got to 17 days in the end, which is like a miracle like that just hadn't happened for us. And then I found people responding to the photos on Instagram going, “that’s amazing”.
People in the chronic illness and disability community get just how hard that is, just being able to get up put clothes on, but not also have to go through the rigmarole of sharing brushing your hair, making sure everything else is presentable because I mean all those factors like sharing and that so exhausting when you're already ill. To add that into the mix, was just, it was too much for me, and I found so many people responded to that knowing exactly what it felt like. It just started from that it was just that simple idea of proving I could get dressed, to myself, more than anything, and I noticed that I started to feel different about myself, as well as physically forcing myself to get out of bed and taking a shot, and it was just at my front door, or as I said in the laundry. It's nothing. Nothing exciting of flesh.
But it did something for me, which I suppose I'd forgotten that I enjoyed fashion, I forgotten. Just that simple act of putting a couple of things together and creating a look, actually meant to achieve something that makes sense. It sort of just started from that and then the more I did it, the more excited I got about it, I started going through my wardrobe and in my wardrobe I had all these clothes that I warn before I got sick, and I just couldn't bear to part with them, but they've been sitting there and they were you know traditional go out clothes and the good clothes. And I thought, I'm going to where I'm at home. So I started wearing them. I started wearing it when I'm sitting on the couch I was feeding my chickens, you know, you know, address I'd normally go out to dinner in that kind of thing. And I just was finding, I felt so different inside myself for doing that. And I even started collecting things like vintage pajamas. So, when I'm sick in bed. I have lovely pajamas.
It doesn't take away from being ill, it doesn't take away from vomiting and pain and all of that, but there's a softening around the edges, I guess, and a bit of that little kid in me that I wasn't experiencing previously. I've just kept on with that and then I found I also loved photography, which was, you know, normally, I wouldn't have put up a photo of myself that just wasn't a thing. But then I found I enjoyed doing that and I enjoyed experimenting with photography and experimenting with composition, and particularly I've really noticed this last year, because I've been, like, Well, most of the world stuck at home for the past year, that idea of creating in a really limited space, and how much you can create and reusing things and redefining spaces and that whole creative conceptual stuff. Through that, it’s allowed me to explore other issues around access to fashion. The way we portray disabled people in the media or in the fashion.