Some people shine, and Amy is one of those people. Amy is an advocate, a mother, an artist and an author. I caught up with Amy to ask some questions about her journey to advocacy, what's coming up next, and, of course, to what clogs she loves.
Here's my interview with Amy:
Your name: Amy Webb
Where you live: Cincinnati, Ohio
What you do: Author, Artist and Advocate
Tell me a little about your journey becoming an author and advocate.
I guess it all starts with being a mom. I am the mother to 3 daughters, and my middle daughter is disabled. The truth is, all moms (parents) are advocates for their children. But when you have a child with a disability, that advocacy gets turned up quite a few notches from the get go. Starting from when she was still in my uterus I was advocating for my daughter with doctors, nurses, specialists, therapists, insurance companies and more. For the first time ever I found myself pushing back against doctors and saying with full confidence, “I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.” Of course most people in the medical community are wonderful people, and you work with them for the benefit of your child. They’re there to guide you and your family in this new world that you are completely clueless about.
BUT ALSO, you tap into a deep knowing as a mother, and you understand that while doctors know their field, you know your kid. And when something doesn’t feel right, you don’t let it slide—you speak up. You push back, you pursue, you question, research, reach out and know that you will move heaven and earth for your kid. And then you do it.
My daughter was born with limb differences on all 4 limbs, and since the age of 2 she has used a wheelchair. Therefore, her disability is very visual and obvious to the outside world. I’m still not sure how to express the vast difference in parenting her as a baby/toddler vs. her sisters, especially when being out in public. It’s a jarring reality to take your child out into the world and experience pointing, staring, grabbing and constant questions nearly every time you go in public. I often likened it to having a celebrity for a child—the unwanted public attention was (and sometimes still is) unnerving. Easily, the social aspect of her disability was the most surprising, and often the most difficult, part of having a child with a disability, for us at least.
It was during these years that I began to really understand the importance of representation. See, I used to think, “Oh kids don’t know any better… they’re just kids.” And I felt a very personal responsibility to educate this young population whenever we were out and about, for the sake of my daughter. But one day I realized that the reason kids don’t “know any better” was not by accident—it was by design. Representation is a choice. And the lack of representation for disabled bodies in the media meant that children had never seen anyone like my daughter in their TV shows, their Disney movies, their children’s books, magazines, etc. And this lack of representation on a macro level, translated to an increase of unwanted and life-disrupting attention (pointing, staring, grabbing, etc) on a micro-level. It was a pretty sudden and shocking realization.
Additionally, I was also interviewing other families of kids with disabilities, and disabled adults on my blog at the time. The insights into these lives and their stories, were a complete paradigm shift. Particularly, the first hand accounts from the many generous disabled individuals who shared their truth with me.
It was on the heels of this awakening so-to-speak, that I decided to write a children’s book that would showcase the kind of representation my daughter, my family and I felt hungry for. I have now written 2 books—When Charley Met Emma and Awesomely Emma.
Another current focus of mine is geared more toward accessibility awareness, specifically regarding wheelchairs and wheelchair users, as that’s the kind of accessibility our daughter, and thus our family, is most familiar with.
What's the last project you did and what did you like about it?
Ha! The last project I worked on is top secret. But lets just say I’m very excited to share it soon-ish and it involves writing and characters I love and really good things. (Wink!)
What piece of advice would you give the 25 year old you?
Amy, you’re not going to feel anymore “you” than you do right now. There is not more mature, grown-up adult you who suddenly appears when you’ve hit some imaginary, magical threshold. No one sits you down to explain all the confusing rules of the adult world everyone else seems to know and if life seems confusing at times, that’s because it is confusing. Regardless, I give you permission—nay, I implore you—to STAY you, BE you, and EMBRACE you. Of course you should keep learning and striving—the world is endlessly fascinating and there is so much to know!—just be YOU while doing it all.
How would you describe your style?
Simple, vintage, classic. I could do jeans and a t-shirt year round as long as I have one stand out piece like beautiful statement earrings or Bryr clogs.
What are your favorite bryr clogs styles?
My first pair of Bryr clogs, the Miranda in Whiskey, are still my go-to shoe.
Shop Amy's favorites below.
Amy has some styles that are no longer available, so I've linked to the closest styles we offer now.