Living Life Vibrantly – An Interview with Tiffiny Carlson

If you’re looking for it, inspiration can be found anywhere. So it was little surprise that we came across it while reading one of our favorite publications – New Mobility. We’ve been following their blog, Spin 2.0, and enjoyed reading posts by New Mobility’s SCI Life Columnist Tiffiny Carlson for some time. But her March 25 post, titled “Why do some hide while others flourish?”, was especially moving so we decided to reach out to Tiffiny to learn more about her. And she was kind enough to share with us some thoughts.

18 years ago, Tiffiny dove into a shallow beach, becoming a C6 quad. She was 14 at the time and was back in high school three months following her diving accident. This should tell you a little about her zest for life. Add to that the fact that Tiffiny is a beautiful bleached blonde obsessed with stacked heels who models and whips up gourmet meals in her spare time and you can get a pretty good picture of this amazing woman.

Considering her sunny disposition, it might be surprising to learn that the first three years following her accident were plagued with challenges, doubts and depression. Adjusting to a profound disability is never easy, especially during the tender early teen years. Tiffiny told us that, like most everyone who wakes up paralyzed, she initially believed that “there was no chance of having a truly full life.” During this time, when the entire world was grey, she felt “unwanted, useless and invalid.”

When asked what turned her thinking around, Tiffiny told us it was simple: “Meeting people with disabilities who were living a full life - marriage, kids, jobs - despite the presence of a disability.” Three years after her accident she met an older female para who had a lasting effect on Tiffiny.  This woman, whose insistence that she was “just living her life,” touched her and inspired her to do the same. And today Tiffiny is, in turn, enormously inspiring to others.

When asked what keeps her going, Tiffiny responded, “People with conviction, the beauty of nature and live music inspire my spirit.” She added that Aimee Mullins is one of her heroes. Aimee is a popular athlete, actress and model who was born with a condition that resulted in the amputation of both of her legs.  When asked why she finds this woman so inspiring, Tiffiny told us that “Aimee has been able to make great strides in helping the able-bodied world see disability in a different light.”

It is little wonder that Tiffiny is moved by this superstar’s impact on the world…because she, in turn, is living by example. In addition to writing for New Mobility, she manages, a blog focusing on beauty, self-esteem, fashion and dating.  She is bold, irreverent and, seemingly, fearless.  And we can’t forget to mention that she is a yoga devotee – taking adapted classes at Mind Body Solutions from a paraplegic instructor whose mantra is “Living vibrantly through one’s whole body – whether paralyzed or not – is a powerful part of living.”

When asked for some practical suggestions to help others – it is little surprise, considering her own online presence, that Tiffiny recommends the Internet as a top coping mechanism.  She insists that Twitter and Facebook are great resources for the disabled community – both providing constant streams of information and inspiration. Some of her favorite websites are the CareCure Community, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Apparalyzed, and mobileWOMEN.

We felt compelled to end our interview by asking her for some final thoughts. Here’s what she had to say:

“Stay healthy, make sure you are taking advantage of everything out there you can to enjoy and live your life. Focus on helping others, and realize that life is about dealing with whatever cards we‘re dealt, even if they’re less than ideal, the best we can, and with the most grace we can muster.”

3 Responses to “Living Life Vibrantly – An Interview with Tiffiny Carlson”

  1. Rocky says:

    In awe of that awsner! Really cool!

  2. oyun oyna says:

    you’re an inspiration to me and i’m certain several other people!

  3. Carey Fehlinger says:

    This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your blog posts.

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