Maisie (she/they) is a UK-based parent of two. Maisie has autism, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEds). They use their Instagram page to advocate for self care for adults with disabilities. She also works to consult businesses to help them become more disability-friendly.
Maisie took the time to chat with VUSH about the intersection between self love and disability — here’s what they had to say:
1. What kickstarted your self love journey?
My journey has been an incredibly long one. It was difficult to truly accept and love myself, when I didn’t know who that person was. I have struggled for most of my life with my disabilities, though they went undiagnosed. This meant I spent a long time feeling different, but without a reason, and it was frustrating not to understand why. My self-love journey started when I discovered I am disabled. It gave me so much insight into myself and the way my body and brain work, and it was only then that I was able to love the real me. I was able to investigate what makes me tick, and the reasons why that works for me – even if it's different to what other people experience.
2. What does self love look like to you?
Self-love looks like discovery. It is analysing who you are, and what you like. It’s being comfortable that what you enjoy might be different to what you hear from friends, or what you see online. It is being content in your own self and mind and being willing to fulfil your desires.
3. What gets you in the mood?
I’m still figuring this one out! I know for sure that feeling safe and secure whether I’m on my own or with a partner is more likely to facilitate an exciting mood, but beyond that is a part of my journey I haven’t yet experienced.
4. What’s your favourite thing about VUSH?
VUSH’s dedication to self-love. It can be easy to fall into the conversation of how you can improve relations with others with help from toys. But you don’t see much out there on how important the relationship with yourself is essential to form over all else.
5. Why do you think self love is important for people with autism, OCD, ADHD, or hEds?
Autistic people, those with OCD and ADHD, and those with conditions such as Ehlers Danlos all share commonalities. We have all felt frustrated with ourselves and questioned why we cannot just *be* like everyone else. Being Disabled, by default, is more difficult than not being Disabled. We need to take extra time to know ourselves and know our bodies. Being in tune with what makes our bodies more relaxed and happier is critical to our medical and mental wellbeing. We are often in charge of our own care; it is essential to know what our bodies need and the steps to be able to satisfy those needs effectively. It is also important to remember that we are deserving of self-love. It can be difficult to spend so long feeling like an alien in our own skin, and keep the mindset that even though our bodies feel like they can fail us at times, it is still deserving of love – and that is more often than not self-prescribed.
6. What would your advice be to someone with autism, OCD, ADHD or hEds that’s just starting their self love journey?
Get to know yourself. Take the time to investigate every inch of yourself. Learn what feels good and what doesn’t. Take things slow, it can be overwhelming at first. We are so used to an unkind mindset about ourselves and the frustration we feel in feeling ‘abnormal’ is difficult to unlearn. Self-love doesn’t happen overnight, it can take time to teach yourself how to love yourself and accept that you are deserving of the time it takes to learn.
Read more from VUSH Stimulation
To hear more from influencers who advocate for self love, read our blog with Dom & Ella from MAFS Australia. You can find all the sex-ed you missed out on in school on our VUSH Stimulation Blog. Here are our top ten educational resources and top eight reasons to masturbate. We also have guides to using a clitoral suction vibrator, bullet vibrator, and rabbit vibrator.