themighty logo

What a Pair of Flip Flops Taught Me About Life With a Disability


Cerebral palsy hasn’t taken away my joy of running. I “run,” just not with my feet. This might sound extremely odd to those who don’t realize wheeling is like running for many people in wheelchairs. I put on running shoes and shorts to hand-cycle a mile. You know, I just have to look the part. As a part of my normal day, I have to walk in my walker too. Just because people with disabilities may have limits on how and how far our bodies will let us move our feet, it doesn’t mean we don’t exercise in our own way.

When I was younger and really struggled to walk, I crawled instead. I longed to be like everyone else, so since I used my hands to move, I would sometimes put clean flip flops on my hands and move around the house. Flip flops were and still are my dream shoe to wear and walk in, but they don’t have enough support for my feet. I was a child who just had dreams like any other child and worked to figure them out. It’s amazing what growth does in showing someone they are the same just as much as they are different, and both are so important.

Getty image by PamWalker68.