Two women who use wheelchairs are putting a spin on the typical narrative of living with a disability.
Sisters Jessica and Lianna Oddi illustrate the "jerks and perks" of living with disabilities with their comic series "The Disabled Life." From dating to dealing with microaggressions, the sisters' comics cover situations that aren't typically discussed when talking about disabilities.
"Welcome to our internet abode! Most posts are just based off our life experiences," the sisters wrote on their Tumblr blog. "To the able-bodied: other people with disabilities may or may not agree with our views. And that's cool! Because us disabled folks are people too, with a wide range of opinions on stuff."
The sisters launched the project as a way to connect to — and accurately portray the lives of — folks in the disability community. Though "The Disabled Life" started as a Twitter account, Jessica and Lianna developed their jokes into illustrations once they received such a profound response from the disability community.
At birth, Jessica and Lianna were originally diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 1, a genetic disease that affects a part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement.
However, after visiting a neuromuscular specialist, the sisters learned they were actually misdiagnosed. They're currently waiting for test results so they can be diagnosed correctly.
"The first test we just did blood work for is to rule out or confirm if we have a rare form of spinal muscular atrophy (which apparently happens in 5% of cases). BUT HERE’S THE COOL PART: IF that test comes back negative, we MAY have the opportunity to get our ENTIRE genetic make up tested!! HOW COOL IS THAT? They’ll compare it to that of our parents, to see just exactly what’s going on with us," they wrote.
Between early June and late July, "The Disabled Life" blog grew from 300 to more than 1000 followers. Jessica told Upworthy that she finds it amazing that people find their personal experiences strongly relatable.
"It's so weird because we actually had no idea this would go anywhere. It just started as something for us, for fun. So it's overwhelming to see all this positive feedback," she said.
While the sisters create comics from their own experiences, they also illustrate submissions from fans.
We're looking forward to the rest of Jessica's and Lianna's work on "The Disabled Life" blog.
Revelist has reached out to Jessica and Lianna for comment.