When a 'Friend' Made an Ableist Comment About My Cerebral Palsy
Throughout my time at college, I have met a variety of different people. Some have been accepting of me and my disability, whereas others have not. Over the course of my college career, I have found that the more I am open about the obstacles I face, the more people seem to understand. This leads me to the focal point of this story.
I recently had an old friend tell me that cerebral palsy is a precursor to me being alone for the rest of my life. May I also add that she said this after she inquired about my diagnosis story. For many people who struggle with chronic illness and disability, this can be a sensitive topic. Upon hearing what she said, I was shocked because I had considered her to be a close friend. However, this comment, among others, immediately changed my mind.
I have heard several variations of this phrase from various people throughout life, so I found myself wondering why this comment hurt even more than the previous ones, which were almost identical in nature. It was then that I concluded I possessed a false notion that college translated to developing maximum maturity. Little did I know, I was mistaken.
It also allowed me to reflect on how far I’ve come in my journey to self-acceptance. Not to mention, the incident showed me the importance of cherishing the people who genuinely like me for me. Years ago, I would have been so broken up about a comment like this. Now, though, I see it for what it really is: hate, intolerance and ableism. I have been blessed with an amazing group of friends. They have looked beyond the surface and know wholeheartedly that there is more to me than just my disability.
A small comment is simply a comment; with my true friends by my side, I know everything is going to be OK.
To anyone who is feeling ridiculed or alone, I want you to know that there are people out there cheering you on. You will get through this, even if it seems impossible in the moment.
Getty image by Arata.