To My Boyfriend With Cerebral Palsy, Whom I Was Told Not to Date
My sweetest Bill,
From the day I met you, I knew something special was about to unfold in my life. Meeting you would forever set me on a course of finding my voice in a world that at times has tuned me out.
And by special, I’m not talking about the crutches you once used when I met you, the wheelchair you now rely on, or your learning differences. “Special” can carry a negative stigma that downplays the amazing attributes you possess: your strong will to prove others wrong about you, your sarcastic sense of humor, your amazing judgment of character, and your self-acceptance that to this day, I’m still trying to find in myself.
We faced a lot of negativity from family and your care staff when we decided to take a chance and go on a date 10 years ago. I felt pressured to leave you to make others happy. “Date ‘normal.'” “You could do so much better.” “You’re just a college kid who doesn’t know anything.” Those mean words and more made me leave you behind for seven years to explore the world on my own.
The truth was, I was never happy. My family and friends were and so was your staff, but I was falling apart. And you knew it. Despite us dating other people and pursuing other goals, we still made time for each other via a phone call. You always told me “We are stuck together like glue,” and you never gave up on me.
Seven years later, after I broke up with a long-term boyfriend whom I thought would make others happy, I found myself on a plane to be reunited with you. I learned my happiness shouldn’t be based on other people’s expectations, only my own.
I didn’t fall in love with you because of pity. I didn’t fall in love with what society sees, “the man in a wheelchair.” I fell in love with Bill, the man with an infectious personality, the most piercing green eyes, the strong arms that make me feel safe on days when I’m falling apart. And so much more.
I see a person with a strong will to make the most of his life and achieve his goals.
I see a person.
I thank you for being with me at my best times and my worst times, the times where I gave you my undivided attention and the times I let you down in my quest to please society. I thank you for taking me under your wing and giving me a second chance, although at times I don’t feel like I deserve it.
I know our time together is limited, given our distance and the cost it takes to make the trips across the country to see each other. I know our dates are through Skype, whenever we can get it to work properly, and gift giving is through snail mail. But the times we have together are deeply treasured. Every waking moment, the good and the bad, is spent in total happiness.
I may have some haters in my life, but this time around, I refuse to let them bring me down. I want to be happy, and my happy is with you.
Thank you for sticking it out with me, even in my darkest moments. I love you Sunshine.
Follow this journey on Legally Blind Bagged.
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