“So inspirational. It’s so incredible watching you not let anything get in your way,” reads a comment in a group chat on Messenger. I know it’s meant as a compliment, but I can’t help feeling a little uneasy.


I have myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) — a chronic, multi-system condition that causes a range of symptoms including debilitating tiredness, muscle and joint pain, and problems with thinking, memory and concentration. And for the past three years, I’ve been a part of Team England Adaptive Abilities Pom, a unified team of disabled and able-bodied athletes representing our country in the sport.


Pom is relentless. A form of cheerleading, it’s two minutes and 15 seconds of high-power, endless movement. It requires a high level of stamina from athletes as we move through each synchronised skill and, without trying to sound big-headed, I know I’m talented. I wouldn’t be representing my country with this team if I wasn’t. I am strong and flexible and revel in pushing my body to its limits. But inspirational? I’m not so sure.


Because when people use that word to describe me, I can’t help but feel like I’m being used as inspiration porn.


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