This article was written by Lina Levien originally for the Brazilian blog “Cantinho dos Cadeirantes“.
Only daughter, only wife *giggles*, unshakeable optimist and always ready for a good laugh. My name is Carolina but online you’ll find me as Lina Levien.
A born-and-raised Brazilian girl, more precisely Gaúcha, from 1994 to 2014. Currently living very far away from her land and with a dream to create a socially conscious digital platform that wishes people to express their best selves and intentionally create a meaningful life. (Wow, shameless self-promotion!)
Since I was 15 years old I have a condition named Polymyositis – it basically makes me lose the strength of my muscles. I was very reluctant to use a rolling chair but at some point in my 20’s I had to; it was simply better for my locomotion. But I felt a failure; I had that self-prejudice, and back then I didn’t want to leave my house anymore because I wished no one would see me “like that”.
It was only in October 2014, when I moved to Germany – seeking new treatments – that I slowly started to realize how much time I was losing of my own life with that attitude.
I was always passionate about a lot of seemingly unconnected things: writing, drawing, belly dance, psychology, spirituality, creativity, beauty, fashion, architecture, and photography, just to name a few — quite sure I’m forgetting something. Then in 2016, I started a blog to write about some of these interests and it completely changed the course of my life in a way that I didn’t anticipate.
At some point later in 2016, I thought: “Carolina, you need a rolling chair now and that’s fine. This fact doesn’t mean you’re less woman and that you can’t be, do or have all of those things that you dream of. You don’t need to wait until you can walk again to be happy.” When I had that epiphany, the lenses that I had in front of my eyes switched and I started to see I wanted to redefine myself and by doing so, redefine the way I see the world. And the world was beautiful but very unforgiving when it comes to respecting people who are different somehow. We had a little inside joke at my home – that wasn’t a joke at all – that when my electric rolling chair was delivered “no one could hold me back anymore!”.
My blog is my art space. It’s where I display my creativity and, currently, my interests in beauty and fashion with beautiful original visual content. I take very seriously what I produce in my content, but I don’t take myself too seriously. I don’t have all the answers (I’m only 23!!). I make mistakes, have bad days, fears and self-doubt, just like the rest of humanity. But my commitment is to bring you the very best of what I’m living and learning, always keeping my content honest and real as I roll.
I intend much more with my blog but it’s my baby and needs time and care to develop. That’s why I was so thrilled when Carol from Cantinho dos Cadeirantes invited me to write this “little text about myself” – sorry, Carol. It’s getting a little long hihihi 🙂 But I believe that what she does here is very important and I wanted to be a part of.
Often people think it’s unpolite to talk about disabilities – a.k.a. “deficiencies”. But it’s that attitude that makes society so disinformed and mystified about it. It’s a taboo that must be broken if we want the policies to change. It sucks when you can’t enter somewhere because there are stairs; it sucks when you don’t have access to clothes because they’re not in reach at the store. That’s why we must not be ashamed of speaking out. We can’t blame people for not knowing what they don’t know.
I don’t allow my disability to define me – why should I? Technology is nothing more and nothing less than an extension of the human being. The same way that I use my rolling chair to take me to places, you use your phone to communicate with people. For this simple reason, I wanna be able to have my free will and my rights to come and go whenever and wherever I wish to.
It’s kind of nice when you’re leaving a restaurant – a cool one that makes possible for every human to go inside – after a long delicious meal and everyone else but you need to walk! I only need to control my joystick! Há! My husband always tells me “I wish I could be there!”. Jokes apart, it’s obvious that I do things in a different way and that I depend on a lot of help but that doesn’t mean I wanna stay hidden inside a little room. Hell, no! I wanna enjoy the amazing experiences that life has to offer and I’m the only one who can do that for me.
Lina – how I chose to be called on my blog – is the short version of Carolina only by the number of letters because along these months she’s become my heroine. I can’t say she’s my alter ego because we have a lot in common, but I can certainly say she’s my second skin. Lina has traits (i.e the shameless self-promotion) that Carolina doesn’t have and vice-versa. I can only be, do, give and have everything in life because I am both of them.
You need to go after what you want. Move. The way you can. But move. And fight for your rights.
With all our care,
Lina & Carolina.
P.S.: You can read here on the blog more about me and my project The Art of Redefining Yourself.