Why is 'Rest' Such a Taboo Word in the Disability Community?

People living with disabilities not only navigate their unique life challenges but also grapple with society's unrealistic expectations.


Shilynn Marshall

9/19/20231 min read

I'm Shilynn Marshall, a Black woman living with chronic illnesses, rare diseases, and AUDHD (autism and ADHD). My journey has been defined by resilience and redefining norms, but one word has always lingered in the background: "rest." In the disability community, the concept of 'rest' often carries a taboo weight that we need to address.

Living at the intersection of being a Black woman and having disabilities has brought unique challenges. Each day, I balance the weight of chronic illnesses and rare diseases that often go unseen.

Society has expectations, even for those with disabilities. The relentless pursuit of appearing "normal" places immense pressure on us. We're constantly reminded that we don't fit the mold. Juggling multiple conditions is an everyday struggle. The challenges aren't just physical; they're mental and emotional too. The world often misunderstands the realities of living with invisible disabilities.

Why is 'rest' such a taboo word? It's deeply ingrained in cultural and societal norms. We're afraid of being labeled as 'lazy' or 'unproductive,' but we need to shatter these misconceptions. Rest isn't a luxury; it's a necessity for physical and mental well-being. It's a form of self-care and self-advocacy. By embracing 'rest,' we regain control over our lives and empower ourselves.

Black women in the disability community face a complex web of challenges. It's crucial to recognize these unique hurdles and advocate for intersectional approaches to disability activism. The first step in breaking the taboo surrounding 'rest' is speaking out. We need to create a network of understanding and empathy. By challenging the stigma, we inspire others to do the same, fostering a more inclusive and empathetic society.

In redefining 'rest,' we rediscover a sense of self-worth and empowerment. It's time to break free from the stigma and take control of our well-being. Let's continue advocating for inclusivity and empowerment in the disability community. Rest isn't just a word; it's a revolution waiting to happen.