The Reassurance I Need as a Young Woman With a Disability

I constantly feel I need to apologize for bugging people. My health issues seem to come in big waves; all of the information comes at once just about every six months. I feel as if my health takes a toll on relationships, but if friendships are genuine people aren’t bothered by them and will support me regardless. Health issues are a part of my story, and if I kept that away from everyone, I wouldn’t be my true self and wouldn’t be able to make a difference in this world.

The one thing that gets me through the tough health times and when I feel as if I am bugging people (even though I am not) is my college graduation card I received from a mentor. This card has a lot of reminders of why the relationship I share with him is so important. This card reminds me of how proud he is of me and the meaningful conversations we have/had. He tells me never to give up on my dreams, regardless of the challenges that get in my way. Having that one person who’s always there helps me realize how important it is to be a support system for others and allow others to understand who I truly am.

Another thing I find myself apologizing for is the load of responsibility others carry for me. Because of my balance and strength issues, people always worry if I will have enough strength to complete everyday tasks such as making my own meal, taking my own shower or crawling up the stairs. Some days it is hard, while other days I can go above and beyond those expectations. Just the other night, my Mom had to carry me up the stairs because I couldn’t do it myself, but two days prior I was able to drive to a doctor’s appointment.

I feel like I should be a 20-year-old who is moved out of her parents’ house, taking care of my own pet and living the independent dream. I should be hitting the same milestones as everyone my age. I want to apologize, but I know I shouldn’t because I am teaching others how to appreciate the little things in life. Appreciate how someone tells you not to give up on something, no matter how hard it seems. Appreciate someone telling you how proud they are of you. Appreciate how much you mean to someone, or how much you’ve made a difference in their life. Appreciate that they believe in you. Appreciate all of this because those people are not going to be here forever. Continue to tell these people how much they mean to you. Tell them you are trying your hardest to do the best you can, but you appreciate the patience and love they share with you.

I have made it a lot farther than most of society thought I would. It may take a longer time, but I have hope all of my dreams will come true, thanks to everyone who pushes me to be my best.

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

Photo by contributor.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Cerebral Palsy

Changing the Conversation About Cerebral Palsy and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a big part of having CP for many people. Typically when someone looks at me, they assume I am in a wheelchair because of an accident. When I tell them what it really is they go, “Oh,” and the conversation stops. And that’s another big issue — what little conversation there is [...]
Businessmen having to jump through hoops, held by strings from a hand.

The Extra Hoop I Have to Jump Through as a Person With a Disability

As someone with cerebral palsy, I’m well aware of the stereotypes and preconceptions many people have in their head regarding disabilities. For all of my success inside and outside of the classroom, I know there are still a great number of people whose expectations I still haven’t met, or will never meet. They judge me [...]
woman sitting in the driver's seat of a car

How Hope Has Helped Me Defy the Odds as a Person With Cerebral Palsy

October 6, 2017 is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I used to dread these dates. It took 20 years to accept the courage to start speaking about such a profound part of my life. Why should I put praise on something that makes me so different than everyone else when it [...]
Samantha napping with her chihuahua.

Finding My Version of Normal as an Adult With Cerebral Palsy

I was born prematurely. My mom’s due date was in early September and I was born July 3, 1989. I spent over a month in the hospital and was sent home on a heart monitor with my very young parents (18 and 21). I went through various tests and check-ups at all of the childhood [...]