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To My 5-Year-Old Self With Cerebral Palsy

Dear 5-year-old me,

Don’t worry, you’ve got this. You really do! You will adjust to your first splint, your first walker, your first physiotherapist, your first friend that doesn’t live life as you do. You will adjust to your first mean name, your first time feeling left out, your first time wondering what things would be like if you weren’t “different.” You will adjust to it all because you can.

You will adjust to daily accessibility challenges, you will adjust to hospital life and home life, you will adjust to school life, university life and work life. You will adjust to the stares, the assumptions and the lack of knowledge. You will adjust to it all because you can.

You will adjust to new symptoms, new medications, new frustrations. You don’t have to love any of this, but you have to learn these experiences do not make you lesser or inferior. You will adjust to insecurities, fluctuating self-esteem and fears for your future, and you will realize you have a right to live your life as much as everyone does. You might sometimes feel you have to hide or apologize for your disability, but don’t do this. You owe it to you to be you. It will take time and it might be a rocky road at times, but I promise you will adjust to it all because you can.

You will live a wonderful, rich, vibrant life because you can.