Perspectives is a blog inspiring change through different perspectives brought to you by our Constituent Advisory Committee (CAC), HDC staff, and local community. Our current theme is risk. If you have a perspective on risk as it relates to disability, email your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A Daring Adventure” by Jamie Duplechine
What is security to you? What makes you feel safe? Webster’s dictionary defines security as “freedom from risk.” Does it make you wonder if we are ever truly secure? I mean, really, are we ever free from risk? I say, a life with no risk, is no life at all.
Every day we face challenges and risk. We get into a vehicle, risking some sort of accident due to someone being careless, drunk, or maybe even texting—although I know none of you has ever done any of the before mentioned. Just rolling over in bed and opening our eyes is a risk we take. You can fall out of the bed or be exposed to some life-threatening bacteria, virus or disease lurking in your body.
Helen Keller is one of my biggest inspirations. At a very young age, she was diagnosed with an illness that left her deaf and blind, but she triumphed over many obstacles and became a famous author and lecturer. She said: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
Does this change your definition of security? Security, to me, is simply a “comfort zone”. You are never truly living nor will you ever be successful UNTIL you get out of your comfort zone. Just as a rubber band never fulfills its purpose until it is being stretched, you will never fulfill your purpose until you’re being stretched.
Now don’t get me wrong. Risks do have consequences. I’m now in a wheelchair because of a risk I took years ago. But I’m more alive now than I ever was before an accident that changed my life-course. After graduating from high school, I took a risk by leaving my hometown and moving 3 1/2 hours away to attend college at Bossier Parish Community College. I knew no one at first, but I overcame and eventually graduated with my Associates degree in Computer Information Systems. In 2015, I bravely decided to participate in Ms. Wheelchair Louisiana, EVEN AFTER I found out that I had to present a speech. It was an amazing experience getting to meet so many others… After tough competition, I was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Louisiana which provided me opportunities to accomplish so much for others.
I would not be where I am today, if I had spent my life living inside my comfort zone instead of taking risks and daring greatly. I encourage you to expose yourself to life. Get out of your comfort zone and try a different meal, visit a different city, try a new hobby. Let your life be a “daring adventure!”
About Jamie Duplechine
After being crowned Ms. Wheelchair America in 2015, Jamie became a member of Toastmasters to improve her public speaking. Later that year, she competed in the Ms. Wheelchair America competition in Des Moines, Iowa.
In 2016, Jamie was the recipient of the “Outstanding Individual with a Disability Award” for Lafayette Parish and the “Patsy Barrett Memorial Award” through the Governor’s Outstanding Leadership in Disabilities awards. She also became a board member of the Brain Injury/United Spinal associations of Louisiana and was appointed by the governor to sit on the Louisiana’s Statewide Independent Living Council.
Jamie was selected to be Ms. Wheelchair Louisiana USA 2017 and was greatly honored to represent Louisiana in the Ms. Wheelchair USA competition in Ohio. She placed third runner-up and was the recipient of the Mona Johansson’s Spirit of Life Memorial Award and the Most Creative Costume award.
Jamie has visited Washington, D.C. numerous times as an advocate for the United Spinal Association. She applies the knowledge she gained through her Associates Degree in Theology by helping encourage and motivate other people to reach their potential by stretching their God-given talents.
Led by Jamie Duplechine as the resident blogger, “Perspectives” features different thoughts and experiences from members of our Constituent Advisory Committee, HDC staff, and our local community. We choose a new topic every few months. Our current theme is risk.