Today is World Cerebral Palsy Day. I didn’t know this day existed until a few years ago. When my oldest friend and chosen sister told me, I balked immediately uncomfortable. We need a day for this, I asked incredulously. I’ve spent my whole life needing to work harder and rise to challenges, so people take me seriously because of my condition. I don’t need more spotlight on my condition, sis. She sympathized with my frustration having been in my life since she was 4 and I was 6. On the other end of the phone, I heard I know. “Just thought you should know.” Thanks for the heads up.
I went about my life not really giving it much thought until I got angry at the amount of misinformation around my condition. My anger fueled my courage to start blogging…eventually. Deciding if outsiders were going to get so much wrong about CP and daily life with it, doing my part to correct it was important. At first, I thought I’d write and tell my story in book form. Sitting down to write with my usual steely determination didn’t go well at all.
The book was a mess. It didn’t have any direction and I quickly felt overwhelmed. Because the book was my chosen brother/journey partner’s idea: I called him one evening explaining my take on how it was going. “You’re being too hard on yourself, Stace. How many times have we had this exact conversation about a political science paper? You always get it done brilliantly. The book will be no different. Keep trying, please. Your story needs telling, sis. It will help people and give them hope for overcoming their own challenges.”
Keep trying I did to no avail. A few days after that conversation: dad brought up the possibility of me blogging. I wasn’t sure what to do but started researching. My research wasn’t all that comforting to be honest. Instead of giving up, I thought and prayed. A few weeks later: the book about my life became this blog instead. Blogging was much easier than book writing. It didn’t need as clear a direction. I could write about anything on any given day without chronical order being an issue. Blogging is freeing and healing for me. Telling the world my story my way means focusing on can rather than can’t. That is the way I actually live my life.
All that brings me back to World Cerebral Palsy Day and how I feel about it now two years into blogging. This day required a perspective reset for me. It irks me the world focuses on my physical limitations. I don’t. Figuring out how to overcome or lessen them is where my focus always lies. Underestimation and pity anger me as do assumptions. Clearly this day is needed so my fellow CP thrivers and I show the world what we can do and how we should be treated.
What can I do you ask? Anything I put my mind to all be it a little differently, sometimes. Telling the world my story facilities the dignity and respect I want all people with CP to be given myself very much included. Cheers to my fellow CP thrivers focusing on can instead of cannot daily let’s go light up the world, y’all. To everybody else: come along beside us, cheering us on, and supporting us in our endeavors to create the fullest lives possible for ourselves. I hope you will and be glad you did.