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Young woman's positive take on becoming paralyzed: a 'rebirth' and 'evolution'

Alexis Johnson is only 23 years old, but she just recently celebrated a 17th anniversary with an inspiring post on Instagram.

Taking to the social media platform to share a then-and-now photo of herself, Johnson reflected on a life-altering accident that she survived when she was just 6 years old. On Dec. 9, 2009, she was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down — and changed her perspective on life.

“Today is special to me,” Johnson captioned the photo. “It’s an anniversary and rebirth all in one.”

Because of the moment that Johnson calls her “rebirth,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she’s learned to view the world around her differently. Through understanding that she was given a second chance, the prospective teacher has come to appreciate the good, the bad, and most importantly, the different.

“I have to navigate through a world that was made for people who are able to walk,” Johnson says. “I literally have to deal with adversity every day. But that is just one aspect. I also had to learn how to appreciate the love, and appreciate people and myself. That is the most positive thing that has come from my situation.”

Through a process of learning self-love, Johnson has come to terms with her own disability while still learning what she’s truly capable of. And although she has a lot of people supporting and encouraging her, she talks about some odd negativity that she receives from people who doubt that she’s a paraplegic.

“The comments that are negative are about why my legs are crossed in pictures,” she says. “Just because my legs don’t work, my arms still work and I can use them to cross my legs. I believe that I am capable of doing anything. Yeah, it might take more work, but I can still do it.”

Johnson’s Instagram page focuses on the many things that she can do, instead of dwelling on anything that she can’t, which she hopes can influence others.

“I honestly get messages and comments every day from both disabled and able-bodied people about how I inspire them in different aspects of their life. Whether they’re going for a job interview that they don’t think they are good enough for, to simply learning and appreciating those around them, and appreciating being alive,” Johnson explains. “I don’t post for myself or just for fun, but for that one person that I may have the opportunity to inspire.”

Feeling inspired is one of many things sparked just by viewing Johnson’s profile, but she appreciates anybody who dives into her page to learn more about her story.

“Definitely don’t judge a book by it’s cover because, yes, the cover might be different, but once you get to know the story, you might love it even more.”

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