Monthly Beauties | Marta DiVito
- Editor’s Note
- Introducing Marta
- The Reality Of Life With CP
- Accommodations In Higher Education
- Paying Forward Care & Compassion
- Disappointments & Determination
- Lessons I’ve Learned
- Connecting With Marta
- Image Descriptions
Representation Matters! Bold Blind Beauty believes that “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” and July’s cover model, Marta DiVito, is a beautiful example of our belief. Typically our Monthly Beauties’ features contain a word of wisdom from our cover model but today is a special edition.
I’m particularly excited to introduce Marta to you as she is one of our summer interns. As such I’ve asked her to share her story of what it’s like living with a disability. Like many of our featured guests, when faced with the task of writing her story Marta found it challenging but she came through brilliantly.
We at Bold Blind Beauty are overcome with joy that Marta is part of our team. Enjoy! ~Steph
“Don’t let your disability define you, take each day as it comes.”~Marta DiVito
Hello my name is Marta DiVito and I am 24 years old and I live in Sterling Heights, Michigan. I embrace my Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia and was diagnosed when I turned one. My parents noticed that I was not crawling or walking like my triplet brothers were. My CP affects the way I walk and stand. I walk with a crouch in my knees and I have a hard time with balance. Standing still without falling is difficult.
The Reality Of Life With CP
I strongly dislike the word “disabled” because this term says to me that I don’t have the ability to do things which is false because I am a strong, bold, and intelligent woman. I use the phrase a disability does not define you, it’s just a small part of life. In my experience, people do not see me, they just see my disability. I am human with feelings and ideas.
Everywhere I went as a child people would stare at me and ask “what’s wrong with her, why is she walking weird?” Having people constantly stare at an 8-year-old causes insecurity and frustration. I was unaware that I was different from anyone else, it wasn’t until I was in middle school that I realized that I was different. Peers and people who I thought were friends would ignore me. To be ignored is a type of bullying, it is very isolating. I went from being invited to parties and sleepovers to being left out and ignored.
Growing up with Cerebral Palsy produces some insecurity with how you fit into the world. All of my hard work was spent in physical therapy working on walking, standing, and sitting so I could be independent in life. There was not a lot of time spent in clubs or extracurricular activities. This made it hard to figure out what I wanted to do for a career.
Accommodations In Higher Education
In the summer of 2020, I graduated from Macomb Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree. In February of 2021, I started pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Communion online at Purdue University Global.
Overall, I had a good experience at Macomb Community College. I had to spend time in the special services office asking for accommodations. I needed a test reader, a scribe, and extended time for tests. In order to get approved for services, documentation is needed. The wording is crucial because if something is not written then you don’t get that specific accommodation.
It can be somewhat overwhelming to try to schedule testing times because if you have other classes in the day you don’t want to miss that class. In my classes, I felt like I needed to prove that I belong there. It seemed like I was still being judged.
I decided to go into communication because I want to become a credible advocate for people with disabilities. I decided to go to Purdue University Global because I don’t need to spend my energy walking around campus and having transportation issues since I don’t drive. I also feel more accepted on an academic level because the only thing being judged is my work. I am able to interact more with peers and receive positive feedback.
Paying Forward Care & Compassion
I love to help others, I believe this stems from the amount of help I received over the years. This includes school aids, teachers, doctors, nurses, and so many different therapists. It’s difficult to remember them all. Because of the amazing people who helped me, I would like to pay it forward by helping others.
In High school, I volunteered at Providence Hospital and when my grandmother moved in with my family I was her primary caregiver. My grandmother was always there for me, so I devoted my time to take care of her until she passed away several years ago. My college classes were scheduled so I could be there for her the way she was there for me growing up.
I love animals, they are comforting, and they love you unconditionally. Animals bring happiness and they don’t care who you are or what you look like. I enjoy taking care of my cat, Loki.
I enjoy doing word searches, playing Rummikub. Baking helps me to relax letting me be creative, following a recipe is easy and there is a finished product that my family gets to enjoy.
I love watching shows and reading books that help distract me from my struggles. For a short time, I get to escape my world and delve into someone else’s life.
Disappointments & Determination
Finding employment is very difficult because people see my legs and say okay sweetie and don’t call me back. I have had trouble finding employment because people are not willing to give me the experience I need to put on my resume. It is quite upsetting that stores say come in, apply no experiences needed and then employees see me and pass.
After graduating, I plan to be more active in the disability community. I would like to work for a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities. I want to be a role model and help erase the stigma that is associated with having a disability.
Lessons I’ve Learned
- Fight for what you need. Be your own advocate.
- Live one day at a time and live in the moment.
- Hope is powerful, you need to know how to have hope and hold on to it,
- Know your strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to focus on the good and not the bad.
- Body awareness is important, it’s okay to take a break.
- Try not to compare yourself to people who do not have a disability.
- Trying different treatments can be painful and a long process but I can’t give up.
Connecting With Marta:
- Facebook @Marta DiVito
- Instagram @martaann3
- LinkedIn @Marta DiVito
- The header image is the same as the one used on the Beyond Sight Magazine cover. A pretty young caucasian woman with short brown hair styled in a fashionable bob. She is wearing a blue floral scoop neck dress paired with small gold hoop earrings and eyeglasses. Her hair is slightly windblown. The text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight Magazine July 2021 | Marta DiVito | Disability does not define you, it’s just a small part of life | Monthly Beauties | Meet the Faces of Bold Blind Beautiful & Accomplished Women.”
- This photo is a slightly different post from the one of Marta on the magazine cover and her hair isn’t blowing in the wind.
- A close-up photo of Marta hugging her beloved cate Loki.