It’s my birthday week, but truthfully, I’ve been celebrating all month. I’ve made several small changes already this year while thinking about my future what I want my life to look like in the next few years. Nevertheless, I know it’s also important to celebrate the journey and appreciate all the things I’ve been through that have brought me to this point. In honor of my birthday, I am writing a thank you letter to my disability… Cerebral Palsy.
Dear Cerebral Palsy,
I’ve lived with you for my entire life and I know you’re not going anywhere any time soon. There have been a lot of highs and lows during this time so I need you to know something. I hate you or I used to, now I mostly dislike you and on some days I will admit I love you.
I don’t think I fully accepted you as part of life as early as I should have. I thought of you as a nuisance. Yes, you were there, my constant companion, reminding me that I was different. I didn’t want to be different, especially when I wasn’t in my wheelchair. I wanted to be just like everyone else and some days, my quest to do that made things harder for you so for that I am sorry. I am sorry that I couldn’t accept you sooner and do what was best for you. However, you have to admit you’re kind of demanding with the way you affect everything. I know now that there are ways we can coexist peacefully. (I mean I had to learn right? You weren’t exactly giving me a choice after all.
The thing is, it wasn’t you that I that hated most growing up, it was your sidekick the startle reflex. I mean don’t get me wrong you gave me your share of problems too, but you’ve always been with me, a part of me. The startle reflex, on the other hand, that’s different because people couldn’t always see it the same way they can see you. There were days when I truly, truly hated your sidekick, but can you blame me considering the constantly jumping out of the blue sometimes and drawing every pair of eyes in the room in my direction? I hope you understand when I say there is still the occasional day where I still hate you for this reason. I have found a way to minimize its sound impact sometimes, but occasionally I can’t help but get annoyed that you two are a package deal and end up hating you, again, I’m sorry.
I accept you now. In my case, you make me a wheelchair user. I’ll be honest it causes problems sometimes… okay a lot of times like it did with my broken wheelchair lift. Nonetheless, some situations you’ve gotten me into as a result of using a wheelchair have been pretty funny as well and to tell you the truth when I look back at it now I’m always laughing. I wouldn’t have those memories without you.
I may accept you, but I have to tell you Cerebral Palsy, you are so high-maintenance, you affect almost every part of my body, influence my every decision and action as well as the decisions and actions of those around me. You’ve taken so much from me, having you with me has been anything but easy. However, if someone handed me a way to get rid of you right now I can’t honestly say that I would take it and boot you from my life. You make my life extremely difficult from day– to -day, all day, every day. That being said, I want to thank you for giving me some things in return.
I wanted to tell you how grateful I am to you. Cerebral Palsy, you have given me so much and you taught me things I’m not sure I would have learned without you by my side. Cerebral Palsy you taught me patience. In order to live with you, I needed to have patience, patience with other people trying to help me because of you, patience and willingness to answer someone’s questions about some of the ways living with you affects my me, but most importantly patience with myself and adjusting to different parts of life while living with you by my side. You are part of the reason I started this blog and even though my journey with it is just beginning I get to share some of the ways you’ve impacted my life be it fun or difficult and I’m having fun doing it.
You have taught never to take the simple things for granted, to always try to find the humor in things, and the value of persistence. You, my dear friend, have turned me into a great problem solver because of the way you affect my life so much, even though some days I really wish you didn’t. I can think quickly on my feet (lol) because of that and figure out how to accomplish tasks even though I can’t go the traditional way.
Most all I can’t thank you enough for the experiences you’ve given me and yes, even a few of the bad ones, they’ve turned me into a fighter, a warrior, who is always up for the challenges of life. The bad experiences aside, you’ve also given me great ones: like the times I’ve actually been able to relate to others and help them as a result of my experiences with you or even a few laughs at some of the situations I find myself in. Thank you for all the adventures and mishaps that ended in laughing fits. I could sit here all day and talk you about these funny instances from the first time my shoes fell off while I was being carried by my father to the moments that I spent with friends while we were waiting for the elevator to work or the random and funny questions that people ask me way too often, and every single very crazy moment in between. Thank you.
So Cp I guess what I’m trying to say is despite being a constant troublemaker for me, I wouldn’t have you any other way. You keep my life interesting. I am always laughing thanks to random situations that you cause and I have no doubt there will be plenty in my future. Thank you for making me who I am. I know it’s been a bumpy ride, but it’s also been worth it and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for us. See you soon (like in the next 10 mins when I get up after writing this letter)
The girl you’ve annoyed, embarrassed, hindered, but somehow still managed to turn into a fighter over the past two decades.
Did you like my letter to Cerebral Palsy? Would you write a letter to your disability if you could? Let me know in the comments.
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