The Art of The Tee

Empowering Stories

The Art of The Tee

Trymane Alexander spent his whole life listening to people tell him what he couldn’t do due to his disability but decided that the real issue wasn’t what they said, but whether he chose to believe it that truly determines the direction of life.
The never-ending question…

As a disabled person, people often do one of two things—neither of which I believe are correct: They either give you a look of pity or ask you an often insensitive set of questions that flow like a repeat of the worst movie you’ve ever seen.

Person: “So if you don’t mind, may I ask why you’re in a wheelchair?”

Me: “I have cerebral palsy. I was born this way. It’s just how I am, and I have always been in a wheelchair.”

Person: “Oh! I’m so sorry! That must suck. I didn’t know.”

Me: “That’s okay. Don’t be sorry. I’m not. It’s just part of who I am.”

Person: “I can’t even imagine. It must just be so awful. You’re so brave!”

Me:(Screams internally) “I’m not brave, I’m just a person. Have a nice day.”

There is no introduction, because if they bothered to introduce themselves, I would say, “Hello, my name is Trymane. I am the founder and creator of Educated Tees, and I advocate for and speak on behalf of people with special needs. I love absolutely everything about me. How about you?” But if I can be truthful, those conversations never begin with an introduction where I can allow the world to see the beauty of who I am. The apology for who I am from people who don’t know me and believe that they are being nice by apologizing for my condition, is them apologizing for my very existence. It’s them believing that I am miserable the way that I am, when it is totally the opposite. God is very methodical in His unique creation of each of us. I believe that the very point of my existence and all that I have fought through proves that very thing. I was not a mistake in the way He created me, and I am not someone to feel sorry for. The truth is my life may be different from the average persons, but it’s rich and full of family and friends and laughter and joy. I have people in my life who love me and treat me with dignity and respect, and not once during my whole existence treated me as if I was different or a mistake. And with that, I was able to embrace life and fight for my dreams just like everyone else.

If I am totally honest with you, for many years growing up, I had moments where I did feel bad about myself. The insulting looks of the society that I encountered instilled something in me that made me long to be something else. To be “normal,” if that really is a thing. But the truth of the matter is that I wanted to wipe away the hurt that people put on me with the stares and whispers as if I could not see or hear. Not understanding that a disability does not mean that you are void of emotion, and for people to treat you as such, does influence your psyche.

For a long time, I mastered my pain by hiding it with a smile on my face for everyone to see, but deep down inside, I wanted for the world to understand that I loved myself and the way that I was created. I never regretted it one bit, and I wanted them to stop their strange looks at me, as if my parents and I should regret the very day I was born. What people don’t know about me is that I am a miracle. My grandmother always reminded me of that all my life. Born at twenty weeks, and just shy of the size of one’s palm, I was sentenced to death before I even took my first breath. But my parents were there and never giving up hope that I would have a healthy and fulfilling life. Can I tell you something? I felt their love, and it was that love that helped me fight those fateful words from the doctor “Even if he survives, he will be a vegetable.”, to the 30-year-old man that is before you today. I wasn’t supposed to live but a moment, and according to them, I wasn’t supposed to be able to speak, think, create, or dream. According to them, I was to be sentenced to a world where I would never amount to anything, and experience nothing but immense misery and pain. But it’s something about being counted out that makes you fight. It’s something about being counted out that makes you, even as a child, push to be something greater than what the world expected you to be. Through the strength of my belief that I was more than my disability, I decided that I would make something out of myself. Not to show the world, but to prove to myself that what they say about my existence isn’t true.

For a long time, my disability and my wheelchair were everything that was wrong with me. These were the things that made me different. These things were things that separated me from what normal was supposed to be. I was even told during a classroom interview that I could never accomplish my dreams or goals due to the restrictions on my life. I could have accepted it and allowed someone who was supposed to be an educator (a person who was supposed to be inspiring me) feed me reprehensible words to keep me from believing in myself. But I thank God every day, that I don’t allow others’ thoughts to form my view of life, and instead showed the world that you are only as restricted as you allow your mind to be. I know totally “normal” people who are doing less with the abilities that I lack, but I never tell them that they won’t amount to anything. Instead, I show them through my fight, that regardless of the limitations, you can live a limitless life. You just must believe that you are greater than the negative stuff that you are feeding yourself. Feed yourself positivity, and you will become great. Feed yourself negativity, and you will fall deeper into a place of self-pity and despair. I truly believe those things and know that if I allowed the negative thoughts consume me, I would have become the very thing that the world expected I would be dependent, unmotivated, helpless, and pitiful. But that is not me, and that is not who I will ever be.

I am not naïve. I understand there are many people out there that don’t have the support system that I do and don’t have people around them that believe they can do the impossible—and that is why I started my clothing line, Educated Tees. I wanted to dispel the myth that people with disabilities are not capable of being anything that they want to be. I wanted to show them that, with a strong belief and support system, they can achieve some very remarkable things.  I want people to be able to look at me—disabled or not—and learn that the only obstacle stopping them in life is them and the boundaries that they put on themselves. We all bleed the same blood, everyone has feelings, and we all wake up and go to bed the same way. So, if we, could stop putting each other down and start lifting each other up, it would really help so many others in life live out their dreams. Basically, they would live with the understanding that if they can teach someone a lesson for a day and teach them to learn by creating curiosity, that no matter the struggle, they will continue the learning process for as long as they live. 

So, with the Educated Tee's movement, we are working hard to advocate and bring forth the importance of equality, inclusion, and respect within our society, towards individuals that are categorized as having a cognitive and/or physical disability. God created you and I, and if you honor that statement, then are any of the ones deemed disabled truly disabled? Have you ever considered that question? Have you ever pondered the thought that there is a reason we aren't all the same?

Life has been good to me, and I feel incredibly blessed and have accomplished a lot of things. I have done public speaking, received honors from various organizations for my work, started a successful business, mastered the workings of social media, am an excellent writer, have been interviewed by the media, and I have created a world of beauty around me that consists of love, acceptance and strength. If that isn’t what life is all about, then I don’t know what is. All anyone in life truly wants is the opportunity to share their vision with the world, and through Educated Tees, I am doing just that. I’m showing the world that the Special Needs Community and the larger society within you, can come together with a unified vision that some people might like to call "ONE WORLD." Therefore, everyone—regardless of who they are—can be treated equally and fairly and know that no matter the circumstance in which they are born into, they matter and deserve to be loved, completely totally and wholeheartedly without judgment, pity, or shame of who they are.

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