The Courage To Write About Disability: An Interview With Becky Curran

Hey readers,

Today I have a special treat for you: I’m interviewing motivational speaker and writer Becky Curran.

I first learned about Becky from reading an article she wrote for Maria Shriver’s blog, entitled “6 Tips To Overcoming Any Obstacle In Your Life” which I highly recommend reading.

Ever since I read that article, I though to myself: I gotta interview her on the C2C!

Well, finally, the day has come.

Hope you enjoy the interview!

much love,

Ollin

The Interview

Ollin: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Becky: As a little person, I’ve adapted to living in an “average” height world every day. Since there are only 30,000 little people living in the United States, whether I’m driving in my car with pedal extensions, or walking down the street, there’s always someone who’s going to be curious in my presence.

Through my speaking, I encourage and motivate others to set exceptional goals and work towards them. By telling my story and using my personal struggles and triumphs as examples, I’m able to shatter those preconceived ideas regarding people who are physically challenged – we’re as capable as anyone else.

Ollin: What misconceptions about physically different people do you want to clear up for people?

We don’t want people to feel bad for us. We just want to be treated as equal members of society. We want to be given a chance to lead fulfilling lives, just like anyone else. I always tell people that if I had the chance to live a life in an “average” body, I would choose not to. I just want to change the way that society reacts towards people with physical differences. We can all relate in more ways than one would think.

Ollin: I know that you are also a writer: how has writing about those who are physically different influenced you and others?

Becky: I absolutely love hearing about and sharing stories about anyone who motivates me to push harder. I search for the word disability online every day. The purpose of this is for me to find at least one positive article that I can share with my followers. Most stories that I find are related to achievements in sports.

I think that these stories are absolutely necessary since some people think that they can no longer compete in sports once they’re faced with disability. Everyone wants someone to relate to and I find ways to relate to these people.

Since I was born with a physical difference, I learned how to stay active in sports at an early age. I grew up participating with my “average” height peers in sailing, skiing, soccer, and swimming. These stories that I find motivate me to continue to stay active. I spend at least an hour on the elliptical several times a week.

Ollin: I was wondering: in your experience what kind of inappropriate behavior do non-physically different people make when they encounter physically different people, and how can we all work to exhibit more appropriate behavior that is respectful to those who are physically different and avoid offending folks?

Becky: It’s inappropriate when a parent points to their child and encourages them to point and stare at me because I’m different. If I don’t know you, please don’t try to sneak pictures with your camera phone of me.

I also encourage people to refrain from using the “M” word, which is also known as Midget. I just want to be called by my name.

I know people are curious but the best approach to take is to come up and ask me a question or two. Have no fear. No question to me is offensive. I rather people ask questions than assume, point, and stare.

Ollin: Let’s go to the bigger picture: so many people are struggling these days to get ahead, or just survive, especially writers. These are tough times for a lot of folks. Is there anything from your life experience that you can share with these folks who are struggling, that can inspire and motivate them to not give up and keep on going?

Becky: Remember that anything is possible for anyone. I find ways to adapt to the “average” height world every day. I think the best thing I learned is to not take “no” for an answer.

So many people put limitations on themselves and others. Only you can decide what you can and can’t do. Go after what you want. If you’re doing what you love, you’ll be much more efficient than doing something you hate.

I’ve always wanted to be a motivational speaker and that’s what I’m doing now. Of course there are financial risks but I’m doing it for the bigger purpose. I want to make life easier for the next generation of people with physical differences.

You can help me out by going after your dreams and treating everyone, no matter what walk of life, the same way that you would want to be treated in return.

Let’s work together and make this world a better place.

Ollin: What can we all learn from the physically different community about how to grow and thrive as human beings?

Becky: Disability is the one category that anyone can fall into at any point in his or her lives. Life doesn’t have to end with disability. We want to put you at ease and hear your story just as much as you want to hear ours. Share your stories with us. We can learn from each other and find what makes each of us unique. We’re on this earth for a short time and we should find ways to enjoy out time together.

Ollin: Where can we go to learn more about physically different people and learn more about their experience, struggles, and triumphs?

Becky: As far as my physical difference goes, you can visit: www.beckymotivates.com, www.lpaonline.org, and www.understandingdwarfism.org.

Ollin: What do you do when the going gets tough? Any last words of inspiration for all those courageous creators out there?

When the going gets tough, I try my best to keep calm and carry on. I always try to remember what my motto is: I truly believe that anything is possible for anyone.

We must all remember that it’s about the journey, not just the destination. Of course it takes some hard work and dedication, but keeping a positive attitude is key.

Becky Curran was born a little person in Boston, Massachusetts. Most recently, she worked in television casting at CBS Television Studios, after spending 5 years working at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles, CA. As a motivational speaker and blogger, she’s on a mission to find a way to change the way little people and all people with disabilities are perceived in the media, which ultimately influences the opinions of society as a whole. You can check out her website at www.beckymotivates.com, her blog at beckymotivates.tumblr.com and follow her on Twitter@beckymotivates.

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8 comments on “The Courage To Write About Disability: An Interview With Becky Curran

  1. ahmedrafia says:

    Hey! I am writing detective stories and I was wondering if you would give me some unique and interesting ideas. Please help me out. Warm regards,Rafia

    Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 10:05:46 +0000 To: ahmed-rafia@hotmail.com

  2. akismet-60aa5d1691ef82c0c00e4913e1213f3c says:

    Hi Olin,

    I have been following your blog for over two years now. It gets better and better, and your hard work deserves the success that you’re getting. I just started following you on Twitter (I’m @Rivedonian) and I wanted to ask a real favour with regard to a writing project that I’m doing connected with my university course (I’m a 2nd year mature student at UEA in Norwich, UK)

    Coincidentally, and maybe fortuitously, a couple of weeks ago I received an email from my tutor in which he told me about the opportunity to take part in a competition being run by Penguin Books. Entrants to the competition, called ‘The Penguin Wayfarer’, are required to submit a two minute film highlighting their favourite walks. I decided to enter, using my project as material, and lo and behold, I have made it onto the long-list of twenty ‘best’ films. These twenty are now subject to online voting, and the ten most popular will be shortlisted for selection by Robert Macfarlane, the author of last year’s bestselling book on walking ‘The Old Ways’. The winner will receive the wonderful prize of being paid to walk around England, writing, filming, and blogging about the various journeys. The winner also receives two thousand pounds worth of equipment with which to complete the assignment.

    My film can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/p79mqsb .

    I was in sixth place, but my votes have begun to ease off, and I would benefit from a little publicity to hopefully boost my ballot. If you could vote, and then perhaps give me a very brief mention, either on ‘Courage To Create’ or on Twitter (or both!) it might create some additional interest (and votes!). Voting ends at midnight today UK time (4pm your time), so there’s plenty of time yet for a hoped-for boost to take effect.

    Best Wishes

    Steve (Rivedonian)

  3. akismet-60aa5d1691ef82c0c00e4913e1213f3c says:

    Hi again Ollin,
    I’m very sorry for the typo in my previous message, which resulted in a slight mis-spelling of your name.

    Best Wishes,

    Steve

  4. I liked reading about Becky Curran and her attitude and accomplishments. I didn’t have a disability until I was 58 years old. And it doesn’t show. So I get a lot of “But you don’t look sick” comments, and the resulting confusion for that person.

    Becky is right about keeping a positive outlook, but please don’t interpret that as being something easy to pull off. In fact, it is the hardest thing to do in the face of a both chronic and terminal illness. There are all kinds of complications to my life that I never imagined – money, having to accept help from family, friends and the govt., fatigue so that you can’t work fulltime and sometimes not even parttime, and having to rearrange your goals.

    Recently though I participated in a 10K (yep, 6.2 miles) walk/run and it was an accomplishment that has spilled out all over the rest of the parts of my “disabled” life. I have a completely different outlook and have finally, after 8 years, reached a point of acceptance and calm about this disease and the way it’s changed my life. Now I view it as change for the better.

    Yeah, I still have the disease, but it doesn’t have me by the throat every day anymore. A positive attitude arrives with regularity every morning and stays with me all through the day. There is no end to the possibilities I can now imagine for myself. I chose to challenge myself and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for me. I’m signing up for Becky’s blog now. Thank you, Ollin, for presenting this interview on your ever-expanding blog. And thank you, Becky. -Dana

  5. […] The Courage To Write About Disability: An Interview With Becky Curran (ollinmorales.com) […]

  6. Susie says:

    Ollin, I was wondering if Becky is available to comment? I was thinking about how physically different people are portrayed in texts, specifically “The Imp” Tyrion Lannister from a Game of Thrones, the seven dwarves etc. On the one hand this could be a negative portrayal of people with differences. On the other, I think it is important to make a text diverse – if not to make it PC then to keep it interesting, perhaps to highlight certain attitudes. Becky, how do you feel about the representation of/stereotypes of physically different people in texts?

  7. The Simple White Rabbit says:

    Such a good point to bring to people’s attention: “We just want to be treated as equal members of society. We want to be given a chance to lead fulfilling lives, just like anyone else.”

  8. karaswims says:

    Excellent interview-I’ve been seeing more of Becky on social media and am really enjoying reading her perspective. I’m also a little person and a writer (among other titles!). Loving hearing another strong voice out there. Keep it up!

    @Susie-I understand that you were hopeful Becky would respond but I’ve also written/reflected on your question as I am also a little person. Tyrion Lannister’s character (in book and show) is AMAZING! I love the way they have created a multi-faceted character that seems “real” in the way that dwarfism is addressed-especially given the time period. There should be more representation of all disabilities in the media but inaccurate and stereotypical representations can be harmful. It’s not “politically correct” to avoid showing disability though….quite the opposite.

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