starring Angela Rockwood, Tiphany Adams, Auti Angel, Mia Schaikewitz and Chelsie Hill

Independence (and drama!) on PUSH GIRLS

There’s one thing you can say for sure about the push girls: They’re all strong women, and they’re not afraid to show it. In a world where women are supposed to be meek — especially women who use wheelchairs for mobility — Auti, Angela, Tiphany, Mia and Chelsie are not afraid to go up against the establishment. This week, on “Drama Town,” we saw more of their independent spirits and were reminded of the tensions that sometimes arise in everyone’s life. The hallmark of a push girl is the ability to work through that drama, though, and that’s just what they did.

From the very start of PUSH GIRLS, every single one of the girls impressed me with her commitment to personal independence. There’s a common impression that disabled people rely on aides and assistants at all times and aren’t capable of being independent, and while that’s true for some people with some disabilities (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), others can and want to live on their own. From that delightful season opener with Tiphany driving to Mia getting back in the pool, all the push girls have shown a fierce commitment to independence.

That was very much on display this week as Chelsie got an important mentoring lesson from Tiphany, who took her to the mini-golf course to play some holes. Tiphany reminded her that while she might need to get creative, she can accomplish what she sets out to do if she is patient and willing to strategize. Seeing the two girls navigate a course that was not designed with accessibility in mind reminded me of the need for universal design, and of the freedom that committing to your independence can bring.

I see the same thing in Mia, who makes a point of doing things on her own and being resourceful when it comes to solving problems. She doesn’t want to rely on people for tasks she can complete on her own, and neither does Auti. Auti tells us she’s a “diva,” and she is, but she’s more than that: She’s a ferociously independent and confident woman who loves her husband and her teammates but isn’t afraid to stand her ground when she needs to. Angela, who needs help from Auntie Judy for some tasks, is also very independent, which illustrates that needing assistance doesn’t weaken you.

All of the push girls refuse to stay in boxes, and that’s a trait that you don’t have to be disabled to embody. They’re self-confident and strong. You can carry those attitudes into a corporate boardroom, the military, your small business or anywhere else you need to, and your independent spirit will make you stand out from the crowd.

Favorite quote, from Tiphany: “I love to shock people when they say it’s not accessible and you can’t do that from a chair.”

If you can’t stand up, stand out! PUSH GIRLS airs on Mondays at 10P.