The First Time I Felt 'Different' Because of My Cerebral Palsy


My most prominent memory of feeling different took place at the tender age of 7, when earlier that day a group of kids at school were making fun of the way I walked as I lead the class down to the cafeteria. I felt upset and embarrassed as they bombarded me with comments like, “Ugh, why are you going so slow,” and “Don’t you know you’re taking forever! Walk faster!”

Of course, I gave into their demands for fear that the insults would only multiply, but even so, they didn’t come to a halt. Although the loud taunts settled to hushed whispers, that didn’t mean they caused me any less pain. No matter how hard I tried to shake them off, the words kept brewing in my mind. I wasn’t one of them and they knew it all along.

Shaken up and distraught, I went home only to wallow in the sorrow that was bestowed upon me by these no-good condescending bullies. That night, I laid awake crying and wishing that I could turn back time to somehow be reborn into an entirely different person. I hated the unwanted stares I got from people because of my walking gait, not to mention my flailing arms that would whirl around with my every step. The notion was ever-so clear — getting rid of my cerebral palsy would allow me to not only fit in, but be accepted by my peers.

As my sobs grew louder, my dad came in to ask what was wrong. Through the tears, I explained exactly what had happened that day in the hallway, to which he responded, “You may not see it now sweetie, but someday you’ll view your disability as a blessing and not a curse. You were born like this for a reason.”

I reflect back at this time now and think about how utterly true this statement turned out to be. Now I have a loving group of friends who accept me for who I am, physical challenges and all. In addition, I have used my CP to educate others by encouraging them to see that all people have the same hopes and dreams. Just because they have a difference doesn’t mean they want to be treated any differently than the average person. Most definitely, they are not inferior or any less than you! People are people and we need to start fighting for equality in order to break the stigma that is conjured by society’s history.

So, all I have to say is thank you Dad, and thank you, cerebral palsy. You have shown me that though you can be hard to cope with at times, you can also deliver the strength and wisdom I need to carry on.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Sinan Ayhan.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Cerebral Palsy

Hands holding gift.

Why My Cerebral Palsy Is Both a Challenge and a Gift

Cerebral palsy has without a doubt been the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. Twenty-five years as someone with CP has taught me one of the most important and valuable lessons many without disabilities never learn: there is beauty in even the biggest of hurdles. It is because of cerebral palsy that I try to live [...]
A couple going to the prom forming a heart shape with their hands. She is wearing a blue and white wrist corsage.

Why Inviting a Disabled Classmate to Prom Shouldn't Be Newsworthy

It’s prom season for high schools across the United States. Pictures of teens in elegant ball gowns and expensive tuxedos posing with flowers and limousines are flooding news websites and social media streams. Sprinkled among the smiles and sequins, though, is the occasional story about the selfless teens who benevolently decided to take a student [...]
Disabled friends.

Why Having Friends With Cerebral Palsy Is Important to Me

It’s very important to have people who can relate to you. Not only can this give you more comfort emotionally, but it can help build camaraderie with others. That’s why it’s always been important for me to have friends who share the same disability as me: cerebral palsy. Not only am I happier when I’m [...]
Person in wheelchair.

When People Talk Down to Me Because of My Disability

See a person as more than their said “disability.” See them as any other person who could be of value to society. Someone who can contribute, despite whatever limitations they may possess. If you see a person who has an apparent physical disability (someone who uses a wheelchair, for example) don’t immediately assume they have [...]