"We live in a complicated place. And it's difficult to find your space," says Chaeli Mycroft, who shines brightly in this inspiring film from Green Renaissance. Chaeli goes on to remind us in her words and presence that "Everybody has something to offer. We just need to allow space for people to do that... to shine."
Green Renaissance produces gorgeous short films that uplift the personal stories of ordinary people, with the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change. We feel hugely blessed to feature video-stories that filmmakers Michael and Justine capture with exquisite expertise, and which so beautifully illustrate grateful living principles and practices. In this short film we hear from Chaeli Mycroft.
What feelings/thoughts/questions surface for you in viewing Chaeli’s story?
How does Chaeli’s story move you?
We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.
“Tinder? Everyone is on Tinder. Dating is hard. And being disabled is hard. So being a disabled dater is hard. It’s an interesting challenge to navigate. Haven’t figured it out yet though, but there’s time.
I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 11 months old and a Degenerative Neuropathy at 6 years old. My legs have never been legs. They just live here. So being unable to walk has just been my life experience. It’s my perspective.
Her name is Eden. She helps with little things that people don’t really recognize as barriers to independence. So if I drop something she can pick it up and bring it back to me, unless it’s a treat bag, and then she’s like, no, this is mine. Come! Good job, thank you. Good job.
People think that if you have a service dog you don’t need any other help. And I’m like, that makes no sense. How is my service dog gonna put my t-shirt on. It’s not gonna happen, bro. and then people are like, hey why don’t you get a helping hands monkey, and I’m like, I’m not gonna have a whole menagerie around me when I go somewhere with my dog and my monkey and my, like, service pig.
She’s just like a permanent attachment. But a cute one I think. Hey? Yeah.
I walk into a situation…jokes. That was really bad, I’m sorry.
I think life is hysterical. Disability is often hysterical. Sometimes you’ve got to laugh at a situation so you don’t cry. But also I think we need to, we need to see the funny side of things. We’ve got to laugh through things because if we laugh at it, people are less scared of it.
People are really judgy about cross fitters. But the people who are judgy about cross fitters are not cross fitters. The first thing you learn when you do cross fit is how to fall and how to fall properly. And I’m like, that’s amazing because I fall on my face all the time. And now I know how to do it so I don’t give myself a brain injury.
Well, I think in life generally, you’re gonna fall on your face. It’s gonna happen. You’re not gonna have smooth sailing throughout your whole life. That’s just an unrealistic expectation. It’s about not being afraid to fall on your face. You’ve gotta just go with the fear sometimes.
It’s not about where you end up, it’s about how you get there. And we don’t get there by ourselves.
It’s important to have some ridiculous people in your life. They push you to do things. My people are the people that recognize my disability but don’t let it dictate the conversation and how we do things and what we do. I don’t see why I should hold myself to a different standard just because I live my life on four wheels instead of my two feet. I’m way more than my disability and my disability is just part of my being.
When you see a disabled person — you see me, and the first thing that you see is a wheelchair. And I understand that. It’s confusing to people, so people don’t know how to engage. And if the only thing that you’re seeing is my wheelchair, you’re not gonna see my potential or what I can bring to the situation. You’re not gonna look for the light because you’re looking for the differences. And society is built in a way that doesn’t really cater for difference, when difference is the only thing that makes society.
We live in a complicated place and it’s difficult to find your space. If we see the light in each other we can build a much brighter world. And as cliched as that is, I really think that’s important because everybody has something to offer. We just need to allow space for people to do that. To shine. Everybody can.”
Justine and Michael are a creative couple living in South Africa. Their project, Green Renaissance, works to spread positive stories that reflect the wonder of the world. With the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change, they produce gorgeous short films that are posted online and available for anyone, anywhere, to watch and share freely.
Through their films, they explore what it means to be human. They touch on topics that can often be difficult for people to discuss – from loss of a loved one to aging and retirement to friendship to love and courage – universal themes that we all deal with at some stage in our lives.
By sharing these stories, Justine and Michael hope to remind us of one simple truth – that we are all human – that inside our hearts and minds, we are all facing similar challenges. We have so much to learn from each other, and our connections run so much deeper and stronger than we think. Learn more and support their work at greenrenaissance.co.za.