A Letter to My Teenaged Self With Cerebral Palsy and Diabetes

Dear Teenaged Brooks,

I get it. Right now, all you want to do is fit in. You want to belong, feel important and be valued. Well, guess what? You already are important, you already belong, and you are already valued far more than you could ever know.

Thanks to your cerebral palsy, you walk a little differently, I get it. And thanks to three surgeries on your left leg, it’s noticeably skinnier than your right. So yes, that makes you a little “different.” However, I can’t imagine being anyone other than you right now.

You may never be part of the “in-crowd” or the sports team. So what? There is so much more to life than being part of that crew. Those kids may never know some of the silent struggles you’ve been through. They may never know about your dad dying when you were 15, or how you endure the multiple finger sticks, and the ups and downs of high and low blood sugar. They may never know what it’s like to struggle in this way, and guess what? That’s OK. You’ve faced challenges too often in your life, but you’ve always come out of it a better and stronger person.

Brooks in high school. A teen boy with short brown hair, smiling.

Your challenges have allowed you to see from multiple angles in life, and this will benefit you in the future. So right now as you try to fit in and to be a part of the crowd, realize you don’t have to do that anymore. Just be you, Brooks. I know, that may not sound like really revolutionary advice, but seriously, just try it. If you can just be you and not someone else, the right people will take notice.

Remember how you once loved Dr. Seuss? Well, now try taking some of his advice:

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” 

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to your teenaged self when you were struggling to accept your differences. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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