Following Your Dreams With A Disability




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- This is the very first cast that I have ever worn. It was the day I was born. This is my little knee and this is all the way to my thigh. This is how tiny my leg is. And they put this on me to straighten my leg. My name's Marna Michele. I'm a singer-songwriter and I have arthrogryposis. It's a muscle and joint disorder. I have stiffness in the joints and weakness in the muscles, or a lack of muscles. I can't walk. I am in a wheelchair for the rest of my life and I can't life my arms above my head. But other than that, I am relatively capable of doing most things. I was 12 years old and I entered into a talent contest and I decided to sing. I won the talent competition and I decided this is what I want to do for a living. And people always ask me why and it's because of the fact that when I was on stage I forgot that I was incapable of walking or that I couldn't high five someone because my arms don't go over my head. I was just on stage singing a song and people were enjoying it and singing along with me and I was like this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Since sixth grade, I pursued singing. I was in choir, I would enter into competitions outside of school, and then when I hit 16 that was when I started auditioning for TV shows like X Factor and American Idol and The Voice. The challenges I've come across are people not believing in me. People who ask me questions like what is the wheelchair going to do for you in this industry? And my answer is always the same. The wheelchair will get me on and off stage. Your question should be what is your voice going to do. There was this one time that I auditioned for a singing competition on the television and I remember going in and I sang my song and they said to me we like you, we like your voice, but we don't like the wheelchair because it's an eyesore. And so I'm like sitting there. I'm not gonna be on your show not cause I'm not talented, but because my wheelchair is an eyesore. That was probably my least favorite experience I've had. Because I definitely don't believe that your talent should be related to what's attached to you. And my wheelchair is definitely attached to me but it's not what defines me. I'm on my way to a performance that I'm really excited slash nervous about. I'm performing an original that I wrote by myself and I really love the meaning of it and I hope that people love the meaning of it. And I just love being on stage and singing and performing and connecting with an audience and feeling like I can do anything in the world. I'm so excited and I hope it goes well. The song is all about being super confident and not giving up on your hopes and your dreams and being strong. And I just really hope that people in the audience connect to this song the way that I connected when I wrote it. And I just feel like this is gonna be a pretty cool song. I'm gonna perform right over there. I'm so excited. I want to show that the disabled community has bunches of talent. Just because you're different doesn't mean you can't aspire to be a doctor or a veterinarian or a lawyer or a dancer. I'm not saying I can do anything, cause I really don't believe that. I can't ever walk. But the things that I can do and the things I believe in myself for doing, they're definitely gonna happen. You have to believe in yourself. ♪ Let the stars ♪ ♪ Lead you where you are going ♪ ♪ Let the light ♪ ♪ Keep the monsters at bay ♪ ♪ Don't let anyone take away your faith ♪ ♪ Don't let anyone diminish your strength ♪ ♪ Bravery is in you ♪ ♪ There's power in your truth ♪ ♪ Let's fight for all you can do ♪ ♪ And don't give up ♪ ♪ Look inside your soul and do all you can do ♪ ♪ Can do ♪ ♪ Stay true ♪ People with disabilities, we have to believe in ourselves way more than anybody else. Because a lot of people will look at us and they will say she's not gonna succeed at that. A lot of people will watch this and think she's not gonna go anywhere. Guess what? I don't care what they think. I'm gonna go places because I'm the one that writes my own story. ♪ Be true ♪ ♪ Be true ♪