The Mighty Logo

A Letter to the Person Who Judged Me for My Cerebral Palsy

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Frankly, I’m used to it. So used to it, I’m almost numb to it. You’ve always judged me for my pronounced speech impediment. I’ve never said my r’s correctly or talked normally at all for that matter. You’ve always judged me for my coordination differences. I’ve caught countless balls with my nose and glasses in my day, but what’s it to you?

This is a horribly hard letter for me to write, but here I am working on it for the second day in a row because I believe healing can come from speaking the truth even if it’s imperfect. This letter will be nothing less than very imperfect, just as I’ve always been.

I’m tired of always feeling like I’m less than what you think I should be. I’m weary of getting sympathy instead of respect. I’m exhausted from trying so hard and never being good enough.

Why do you always insist on judging me?

I’ve figured out through lifelong experience that when I open my mouth, you make certain assumptions about me. These assumptions aren’t accurate.

I not only graduated from college, I have a Masters of Fine Arts in poetry. That should be enough. Now I speak on stages to audiences of hundreds of people about finding the courage to truly be yourself. That should be enough. I’m always working so hard to go the extra mile to prove myself to you. That should be enough.

Yet, you with your ideals of perfection are a harsh and unrelenting judge.

Why does it seem the farther I get into this letter that the “you” I’m writing to is me? Just for the record, I’m not at all sure I like where this is going.

Sometimes people I’ve just met naturally make quick judgments about me, but in the course of our conversation they come to realize that I’m smart, daring and different.

As you can probably imagine, I’ve become an expert at putting myself in context for other people.

They understand me and who I am.

But still I judge and judge and judge myself.

So if I can’t blame you, the person reading this, for my life, who do I blame?


At this point in the letter, the junior high boy in me whose highest wish was to save the world wishes I had a neat and tidy answer for us all.

But I don’t.

The only thing that I can say is I’ve found tremendous freedom in beginning to love the judge who is me.

Actually, I will say one more thing.

Please do everything you can to learn to love all of you, even the parts of you that habitually judge you.

You are perfect and I am, too. It’s time for us both to recognize and delight in this.

Jason Freeman the mighty.1-001

Originally published: August 27, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home