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When I Stopped Lying to Myself as a Person With a Disability

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Having low self-esteem can haunt you like the monster under the bed when you were little. You turn out the lights and there it waits, excitedly attempting to sink its teeth into your skin.  You scream out loud waiting for it to leave you alone, but it is relentless. No matter how hard you try, it can feel like it will always remain a part of your life and your mind.

During my teen years, I felt like I was looking into a shattered mirror, each fragment of glass representing a piece of my broken soul. This was made even more difficult when my own teachers and fellow students seemed to be looking to destroy who I was. Little did they know, I was already struggling with that more than enough on my own. They were just adding fuel to the fire, so to speak.

For so many years, I tricked myself into thinking I was “just like everyone else.” I did not want to need the special treatment that was required for my life with a disability. I felt like a burden to those who had to help me, especially when presented with their sour attitudes. I began to feel like I was taking up valuable space on this fruitful Earth. Night after night, I lay awake in my bed waiting for the monster living inside of me to creep of its miserable hole and snake around my throat, choking all the air out of my already depleted lungs. I knew deep down that this was no way to live, but I hadn’t the slightest clue how to come up for air.

Then, I discovered my best friend in music. I found each melody taking me away from my real life into a transplanted world where everything was OK. Where I wasn’t the only one hurting because of my differences. Gradually, music opened the world for me again and taught me to stop lying to myself. I was finally ready to face my truth. The reality that I would always have to depend on others to survive.

It was of course a hard pill to swallow, but if I didn’t just suck it up and face reality, my life would never move forward. It is all about creating the delicate balance between what hurts you and what feels good and being at peace with that balance. This is perhaps the best lesson I could ever teach myself.  Today, at almost 34 years old, even though I have chronic pain and struggle with the residual effects of my quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy, I could not be happier with who I have become. I have been given the opportunity to represent the disabled community and our struggles with my gift of writing, and it means the absolute world to me! Lying to yourself may be the easier option, but the easier option is not always the best one. Be proud of who you are, no matter what differences you may face. Live boldly and fearlessly. Your future self will thank you!

Getty image by KladyK.

Originally published: March 5, 2018
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