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7 Marvel Quotes I Relate To Because I Have Cerebral Palsy

I like the Marvel Universe for many reasons. One of those reasons, I think, is because not every superhero was born automatically super strong, with big muscles and extreme powers. The superheroes are relatable, with real struggles, and they control their own story. I’m not a superhero, but I can relate with the stories of the fictional characters who are.

Here are the top 10 Marvel quotes that I relate to because I have cerebral palsy:

1. “I have nothing to prove to you.” —Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel

I want to be an advocate for people who have physical challenges like I do. I can be an advocate without having to prove that I deserve help. I can educate about cerebral palsy without having to justify that, while my CP is mostly invisible, I do have CP. I like Captain Marvel’s character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because she is a heroine who knows she does not have to prove herself in order to use what is rightfully hers—to fight for what she wants in the world. I have had to prove that I should be able to use the elevator. I have had to just make things work when people didn’t believe I had a disability. I shouldn’t have to prove that I am valid. Do I want to advocate? Yes. But I can educate without having to prove what I deserve.

2. “Look, it’s me, I’m here, deal with it. Let’s move on.” —Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Iron Man 2
Most people are surprised that I have a disability. I have a bit of a limp and my left knee turns in because I can’t really control my left foot. I have a hard time keeping up with other kids my age, but other than that, no one can really tell. Surprise often manifests in insensitive comments. I relate to the above quote in more ways than people know. I wish they could get past the surprise of my having cerebral palsy. I wish they could understand my looking slightly different and it wouldn’t be a big deal. I’m here, I am who I am, and it’s okay.

3. “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” —Loki, Thor: The Dark World
My challenges are difficult—that’s why they’re called challenges. It takes a lot just to get up and go to school, sometimes. To face another day that I know will be somewhat painful (in the physical sense, at least). I think my obstacles would be hard for a lot of people to deal with. This quote resonates with me because it reminds me that if my challenges were easy, a) it wouldn’t be a challenge, and b) I’m facing things in life that are hard, and I am able to not let it get the best of me.

4. “I can’t control their fear, only my own.” —Wanda Maximoff, Captain America: Civil War
People don’t fear me, per sé, but they do not know what to make of me at times. And, yes, not everything needs a label. But it is human nature to label something, to organize something, in a sense, to understand it. I don’t really fit into a label. My CP (in most cases) and anxiety (again, in the vast majority of situations) are invisible. This makes some people I’ve encountered curious, which is fine, and others ask inappropriate questions and comment negatively. I’ve come to learn that I can’t control what people think of me. Some of them, I know, wonder why I need the assistance of a hand; why my gait pattern is so different; or why a girl who presents as being independent is at the neurologist’s office, etc. While I’d rather people not focus on my physical aspects, I can’t prevent that. It’s natural. I have difficulty with this, but I’ve also learned I can’t control what people say. People are going to say offensive things sometimes, because either they might be uneducated about a topic or for some other reason. I can try to educate people (which I’m working on) but I cannot let other people’s opinions and actions toward my cerebral palsy dictate how I act and what I do.

5. “Pain only makes us stronger.” —Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow
I experience pain almost, if not every day. I have physical pain, and then I have emotional pain. Physical pain makes me stronger because I have to deal with a frustrating circumstance that I can’t control and make my body listen to what I want to do—even if it hurts. Emotional pain, to me, is more difficult. To be honest, I’m used to pain. I have experienced it chronically for six years (in the physical sense), and generally my legs have always hurt, and I have had emotional pain for a long time. With emotional pain, I have to learn to cope with myself—with who I am as a person and my feelings. Like with my legs, having emotional pain can feel like you’re fighting against yourself. But with pain, I have to understand that I am not the enemy. My pain doesn’t really stop, but I have to keep going. It has taught me that when you think something is unfair, you can’t stop until the situation changes. Some things will not always go the way you want it to, and you have to adapt to that. I cannot wait until I am no longer in pain to be happy. I have to go for what I want now, whether the pain is there or not. And if it is, well—I have to be stronger than that pain. I won’t overcome cerebral palsy. I probably won’t overcome anxiety. But I don’t have to let it stop me. There are other ways to do things. Pain opens my eyes to different ways to succeed.

6. “At some point, we all have to choose between what the world wants us to be and who we are.” —Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow
I present myself differently than society’s expectation of what a disability looks like. I am ambulatory and can speak. For some reason, society is stuck on one “image” of what a person who has a disability looks like, and almost any other representation of a disability is dismissed. Considering that at least 10% of Americans have a disability that could qualify as “invisible”, that expectation isn’t realistic. Yes, many people do have a disability that is visible and is more severe than mine happens to be, and that should ABSOLUTELY be recognized. But I believe that people with less visible disabilities should not be judged for needing help, too. That being said, sometimes I feel like the world wants me to be one of two things—someone who appears to have a severe disability, and someone who does not require any physical help and can execute physical tasks easily. I am neither. I fall in the middle. The world might want me to be something different than I am, but the only person I will be is myself. CP does not define me. I don’t believe that a disability defines anyone (people might have contrasting opinions than mine, and that’s okay, too). I am proud of having CP, but cerebral palsy is not who I am, regardless if the world wants me to think so or not.

7. “No man can win every battle, but no man should ever fall without a struggle.” —Peter Parker, Spider-Man: Homecoming
Not everything in life is easy. We won’t be able to master every challenge right away. I can’t conquer every obstacle in my way, and that’s okay. But I should never not try. Life is hard. That’s a fact. But just because it is, I’m not just going to give up. I have things to offer the world, so I can’t just fall on the ground and stay there. It’s true—it takes time to conquer a challenge. But there will always be a fight in me. We can’t just give up. If life wants to give us a challenge, we have to challenge it back. I will be a worthy opponent. It’s okay if a challenge is hard. That’s what a challenge is. But I have too much to do to just give up. I can’t meet every challenge head-on immediately. But I won’t give up, either.

#WatchWithTheMighty #CerebralPalsy

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