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My Lifelong Journey to Find My Identity as a Person With Cerebral Palsy

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I am the type of person who is fascinated by life. It could be because I was born three months premature. I am a miracle baby, and I am extremely fortunate to be alive and kicking. I spend most of my time at home due to my disability and my inability to drive, so I believe I appreciate the little things a little more than the average person. Then again, what constitutes average, anyway?

I am a very outgoing and optimistic person who views life in a glass-half-full kind of manner. I am the kind of person who relies on self-discovery in order to fully figure out who I am. I feel that finding out who you truly are is a bit of a necessary beast. I believe this is due to societal norms and pressure. If you really take the time to think about it, it is really amazing how much society impacts us, both positively and negatively. Everywhere you look, we are surrounded by TV shows and commercials that are attempting to show us how things should be structured. It doesn’t help much that you’re looked at as “weird” or a “freak” if you teeter away from those norms. If we are insecure about the way we feel about ourselves already, I feel like society makes it worse, especially since things, people and places are so heavily judged and criticized.

I’ve found being different from the supposed norm does not make for an easy life, and it makes for an even more difficult transitionary period. Our minds then begin to warp and tell us that being different is wrong because we have heard it so often. This is the result of repeated cruelty by others who often are hurting too. This very sentiment took me a long time to figure out. People are mean and ugly to people who aren’t like them because they are hurting more than we realize. While their scrutiny is painful, I believe we experience the hurt in order to make ourselves a better person.

I believe we learn most from our hardships and difficult times. I was bullied throughout my school-aged years due to my cerebral palsy. In that moment, the bullying tore me up, but now I look at it as a lesson that has made me into the strong person I am today. It’s interesting how life works.

I have always been very aware of all of my traits. Being very happy (for the most part), being encouraging, outgoing and kind are all at the forefront of my mind. I was also aware of my negative ones and being too clingy and underestimating myself were at the top of my list.

I was never really a typical girl. I never thought consciously about getting married or having a lifetime partner. I never have desired intimacy and sex. I have always desired to love someone and have them love me back. At the same time, I have always wondered how and if love could exist without sex.

As my life continued to roll on, and I made it to my 30s, I have found out that the answer to that particular identity question is yes. I truly believe we as humans are complex creatures and our identity is not concrete, but forms and shapes over time. We are all composed of different parts that make us unique and whole. My 30s have been the most empowering time period in my life, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for me in future years.

Getty image by Ekaterina Bedoeva.

Originally published: June 8, 2021
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