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5 Things I'm Grateful For This Holiday Season as a Person With Cerebral Palsy

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‘Tis the season for those super sappy holiday commercials, rushing around to what seems like hundreds of stores to find the perfect gift for friends, family, and acquaintances, and of course preparing all those holiday meals. It’s hard to remember the true meaning behind the holiday season: a chance to spend time with family, to be thankful for all you have, and, depending on your religious views, a chance to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, here are some lessons I am grateful for because of my cerebral palsy:

1. I’m thankful for all my friends.

Like many people, friends have come and gone. Sometimes, that included the heartbreaking realization that people who I thought were my friends were only my friends due to my disability; but it has also proven to me that sometimes the best friendships happen when you least expect. I’m very grateful for my best friend, Amy.

Lauren and Amy

Lauren and Amy


2. I’m thankful for all the times I’ve fallen down.

OK, not in the moment when I’m mostly slightly frustrated that I couldn’t even manage to, let’s say, go down stairs without falling down a couple; but all the times I’ve managed to make friends with the ground below me and quickly doing my “am I bleeding?” routine. It’s taught me to laugh off the small things. Sometimes, we’ll fall down or stumble along our lives, but there’s no point in being angry or bitter about the situation. Laugh off the small things. After all, life’s too short to sweat the small stuff.

3. I’m thankful for all those people who bullied me because I was “different.”

This seems like a strange one. Why would anyone be grateful for their bullies? Well, it’s because they taught me to try and stand in their shoes. Obviously, they had problems they were going through and how they chose to cope was through bullying others who didn’t exactly fit in.

4. I’m grateful it’s made me a more compassionate and empathetic individual.

Like my previous bullet point, trying to look at things through other people’s shoes has definitely made me a more compassionate individual. When you try and see things through others’ points of view you start to see where they might be coming from.

5. I’m thankful for my family.

two friends on a beach

Lauren and her mom

My family, especially my parents, have been my cheerleaders for the past 22 years and counting. They’ve taught me to self-advocate for myself when schools wouldn’t honor my accommodations such as extra time on tests and having a key lock instead of the traditional combination lock. They’ve been there when bullies would make me cry from their cruelness, and they continue to be the biggest supports someone could ask for.

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Originally published: November 20, 2016
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