Ableism, Accessibility, And The Journey Of A Brave Woman – Our Interview With Marcela Marañon

You’re in for a treat today! I had the honor of speaking with Marcela Marañon of The Journey of a Brave Woman about her experience as a role model for women with disabilities. Marcela is an incredibly strong woman who is committed to living a brave life and always taking risks. Keep reading for our full interview!

arrow

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: What inspired you to start The Journey of a Brave Woman? How has your Instagram account/brand helped you connect with and have a positive impact on other women?

A: I created it in 2017, and it was about showing others the way I live a life with a disability. I’m not a brave woman because I have a disability, but because with my disability and without my disability I always take risks. To take risks you have to be brave, you have to have courage. I wanted to show that on my social media — your abilities don’t matter, if you’re brave enough to live your life, do what you want and take risks and you’ll be rewarded.

People reach out to tell their stories. Some are amputees like me, some have spinal cord injuries. They always say things like, “Oh, I didn’t know I could do that in my wheelchair,” or “Oh, you’ve really inspired me, I wasn’t confident enough to wear skirts or dresses and I didn’t know I could look so pretty in a chair,” or “I didn’t know that I could travel alone in my chair.” They say that I’m really helping open their minds to possibilities, inspiring them to be independent and beautiful and take risks.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: I love that you love to travel — what advice would you give to other women with disabilities who want to travel more but may think it’s too difficult?

A: For someone who hasn’t traveled alone, start small. Maybe go somewhere close to the sea or explore your city. Once you’re ready you can do longer flights. There are a lot of resources right now — if we compare it with 20 years ago, we didn’t have a lot of accessibility in regards to traveling back then. Now there are options available, we can call the airlines and call the hotel to make accommodations. 

I would also say don’t worry about it and don’t stress! If something doesn’t work out, there will always be people around who will try to help out. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: What are some unexpected obstacles you’ve encountered while traveling, and how have you overcome them?

A: Traveling all over the world in a wheelchair is not easy! You’re going to face obstacles regardless because you’re physically challenged. You’ll travel to some places that aren’t accessible. I couldn’t have done all this travel if I didn’t have the help of kind people. Wherever I go, if something isn’t accessible for wheelchair users, that’s a big obstacle and a really big issue for anyone who travels in a wheelchair. If I didn’t have good people helping me, I wouldn’t be able to go into certain buildings or see certain sights. I’ll have obstacles regardless, but I always rely on kind people to help me. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: Are other countries better or worse than the US in terms of accessibility?

A: I love how futuristic Dubai is — they have really good accessibility. But regardless of where I go, the world isn’t made for us. It’s not 100% adaptive to us. I think that America does a pretty good job and people with disabilities can do a lot here. We have more opportunities and laws, and better access to care and accessibility. Other countries have those too. But I think they’re kind of all the same. No country is perfect at accessibility. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: What are some examples of ableism/accessibility in daily life? Things that aren’t on most people’s radars when they consider ableism and accessibility.

A: People really need to learn about disabilities. If you have a disability, or you have a friend who’s disabled, or you’re in the healthcare field, you probably already have knowledge that can educate others. But people just don’t know about disabilities.

Some people try to be nice but they don’t know how to be nice — they use vocabulary that’s offensive to a disabled person. For example, when someone says “You’re too pretty to be in a wheelchair” or “You don’t look like you have paralyzed arms.” They’re trying to be nice, but they don’t know how to interact with people with disabilities. This is why education is so important in schools — if we teach in schools that we’re all the same but we have different needs, we wouldn’t have ableism and accessibility wouldn’t be as much of a problem. There are a lot of disabled children who are going to need accessible options to fully live life. Of course there will be mean people and bullies, but we could do a lot of good by not being ignorant to the needs of others. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: What are some things everyone can do, regardless of age/profession/ability, to move our society toward becoming fully inclusive and fully accessible?

A: Tolerance! People need to learn tolerance. Some people cannot handle a disabled person or think that a disabled person is a burden. Also adapting — there are millions of disabled people in the world. You need to adapt yourself and adapt everything to include people with disabilities. It’s a weird world. People with disabilities create things for people with disabilities, and people who don’t have disabilities create things for people who aren’t disabled. And there are some advocates who know a lot about disabilities and try to design things for people with disabilities. I hope one day they all come together, and that there are more inclusive and universal designs that serve people from all groups instead of just one group.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marcela Marañon| lifestyle (@thejourneyofabravewoman)

 

 

 

Q: Is there anything else you want to share with us?

A: My life is not perfect! I have my ups and downs and I have my bad days where I feel unmotivated and like I need to breathe a bit. But I also have my good days, where I’m happy and I want to keep going going going and do all my projects. But I learned a long time ago that the only way to move forward is to accept the way you are. You need to accept what’s happened to you. Once you accept that, your brain says, “This is me, this is who I am.” You can’t go back and change the past, but now you have the present and the future. When you finally accept, you can adapt to your circumstances. I live my life with what I can. I love the quote, “Do the best you can with what you have.” And then you just overcome it! Life is never always easy for anybody. You can overcome anything.

LINE

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Marcela! Did Marcela’s words inspire you? Leave a comment below!

 

 

 


marcela maranon

About Marcela Marañon


Marcela was born in Peru and moved to the states at the age of 18. At the age of 20, Marcela was involved in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down and lost her left leg. Marcela has a bachelors degree in communications and became a mother to Mikaela. Marcela is one of the Pioneers in Exoskeleton technology and ambassador for ReWalk Robotics. She became the first Latin woman with a disability to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Her work is gaining a lot of attention on social media where she focuses on accessibility awareness, disability representation in fashion, and accessible travel. Her favorite quote is “Live your life to the fullest with what you have.”


IG: @thejourneyofabravewoman

Shop Marcela’s Apparel Line: The Journey of a Brave Woman


For More Inspirational Stories From Women, You Should Read:

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Ran For Office

How To Heal From A Toxic Relationship According To A Trauma Expert

Join the Conversation