Many of you are familiar with my wonderful boyfriend, @onkar_nerurkar. As a person with physical disabilities, Onkar has overcome many challenges in life. This is his story of self-acceptance and personal empowerment. ✨
"My name is Onkar Nerurkar and I'm 24 years old. I'm an Indian-American Hindu college student studying cybersecurity. I enjoy computers and launching model rockets; I'm part of a university fellowship contracted by NASA. My goal is to work for the NSA, FBI, DOD, or CIA. I like Bones, Castle, and the Fast and the Furious series. I love travel, and I'm always overdressed.
I also have a disability: I'm legally blind. And, I'm partially epileptic. Both conditions resulted from my developing meningitis at birth. This caused scarring in my occipital lobe and holes in my brain. I have no peripheral vision or depth perception. I don't have grand mal seizures anymore, but I still get random drop attacks.
My #1 tool for getting around is my cane; I also take the bus a lot. I can do this because of the help I received from teachers and family as a child. I had occupational therapy and mobility training to teach me life skills. Technology has also been, and still is, a major part of my life. To help me read, for instance, I use text-to-speech software, magnifiers, and audiobooks.
I was bullied for the majority of my 12 years in public school. People saw my visual impairment as a weakness and made fun of me, plus they thought my seizures were contagious. Because of this I always felt like I needed to one-up everyone, so I focused my energy into studying hard. I believed I had to succeed to prove myself. (I still strive to be my best. But it's no longer to show anyone I'm better than them, it's for my own achievement, to show myself what I can do.)
As a kid, I hated using my cane. I wanted to fit in, and my cane made me different. In high school I wouldn't use my cane on campus, even though this was a safety risk for me. But from my first day of college on, I've used my cane daily. I realized if I didn't accept my disability, I would suffer most. In order for me to be independent, I needed to use my cane. Now, I do so with pride...(cont. in comments ↓)