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Nevertheless, Ashlee Coded

Ashlee (she/her)
Disabled Software Engineer and Web Accessibility Specialist helping people learn about accessibility
・2 min read

2020 was both the best and worst year. I challenged myself more than ever and I was also given challenges I have never faced.

  • In January do 2020, I started physical therapy to learn how to walk again after having foot surgery a few weeks before. I dealt with inaccessibility in ways I’d never had to before and it was hurtful in a lot of ways. I didn’t quite feel invisible. It was more like people didn’t want to see me and chose not to. They chose to be exclusive and inaccessible.
  • In April of 2020, I started a Twitch channel. I’ve met absolutely incredible people through Twitch and I’ve enjoyed every minute of live knitting and live coding. 🥰
  • At the end of July 2020, I spoke on Twitter’s Disability in UX panel in front of hundreds of people. It was my largest speaking experience by far and it was fascinating for that moment to be completely remote. The linked broadcast has over 3,000 views. I have no doubt people heard us and are changing how they approach accessibility.
  • Also in July of 2020, I quit my job without having another one lined up. I drained my savings and was searching for months for a job. Job hunting was an incredibly demeaning process that I feel like I’ve only just regained my confidence from. I also had a ton of financial support when I asked for it. I don’t know what would have happened without that assistance from the community. 💜
  • In November of 2020, I started my 4th job. I’ve had several new and fun technical challenges there and am building my skills faster than I ever have. It’s also in an industry I’ve never worked in and I’m always learning things from people outside of my department.

Aside from these notable dates, I’ve also learned a great deal about myself while exploring a potential ADHD diagnosis. I know myself better than I ever have and also accept myself more than I ever have. And with more time to gaze on the internet, I’ve found a ton of disabled and/or fat and/or BIPOC and/or neurodivergent creators on TikTok where I’ve learned more about our world and myself than I could’ve imagined.

Overall, I feel lucky to say that I came out of 2020 a better person than I went in. It is certainly a privilege to say that. I didn’t get through the year completely healthy, but I didn’t covid and I didn’t lose anyone to covid. I feel very lucky to have survived the year. I’m still here and working hard to speak and write about accessibility. 💜

Discussion (1)

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Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

Thanks for being here and for doing the work, Ashlee!

You've got another ND BIPOC knitter following you on Twitch...