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Dear Cerebral Palsy, You've Taught Me So Much

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Dear cerebral palsy,

This is my first letter to you. I hope it will not be my only one. For the last 25 years, I have been with you, though no one knows why I have you. Unlike others who have you, my birth was normal. According to my mom, everything was OK until I was about 9 months old. That is when my parents were informed that I have cerebral palsy.

Their routine changed and they had to reorganize their time in order to accommodate me and my needs, especially therapy. The therapy improved our relationship and even though I was taken to school on someone’s back, I was determined to walk. I ruled over you when I walked. I thank God because being able to walk was, to me, a major victory over you.

Cerebral palsy, I knew I had you, even though I never quite understood who you were when I was young. I realized I had you from having a hard time walking, through difficulties in my speech, and because of the number of times I went for therapy that was often accompanied by pain. As for the eyes that would stare at me as I bounced my legs, and the number of schools I visited in search of admissions, as well as the extra care, support and love from everyone everywhere, they did not go unnoticed. As I grew older, I understood I was different, but I was determined not to let you make me miserable. I determined instead to take advantage of you to reach my fullest potential.

Speaking of taking advantage, I remember of a time when I took advantage of you and the whole class escaped punishment. We were found making noise, and because I knew I wasn’t going to be punished I volunteered myself to be punished instead of the whole class. That’s how the whole class escaped punishment. By the way, did I mention that I cried until the teacher forgave the whole class? You never imagined I would be Hollywood material, did you? Well, even I surprised myself with my superior acting skills.

I have never questioned why I have you, even though sometimes you push me to the point of giving up. Even though sometimes you take advantage of small wounds to make me not go anywhere. Even though you will make me not go to school for years because of a simple sickness. Even though pain comes and the doctor doesn’t seem to know why or even the cure for it. I have you and will never question why I have you.

Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I didn’t have you, then I get an answer, “Nowhere.” It hasn’t been easy for me, but every step, pain and tear has been worth the struggle. Cerebral palsy, you have made me who I am today, and even if I were given a chance to choose another life, believe it or not, I would choose a life with you. You have taught me that the sky brightens up in the morning no matter how dark the night might have been. You have made me believe what the Bible tells me — not to worry about tomorrow and the need to take one step at a time. You’ve given me the best laughter, and made my mum skip bus-stop lines just because she was with me.

Above all, I am stronger because of you. You have made me appreciate all people, and see all people as equal and special in their own way. You have made me be more patient by having to repeat some words to people. You have made me very careful while choosing my friends and taught me to ignore those who tell me what I can’t do — I know I can. You have made choose what to listen to and retain, and what to hear and let go. Moreover, because of you, I have chosen to view those who stare at me as I walk as an audience that enjoys my unique bounce, a thing that cannot be copied by anyone else. I am proud of my bounce. I consider it my bounce around the world.

I will forever be thankful to God for letting me have cerebral palsy. Because of you, I am who I am. I hope I can write to you again soon to encourage someone with cerebral palsy.

Originally published: January 16, 2019
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