On my having Cerebral Palsy…

Some people think that having a disability (I know not too politically correct, but it is the word I know; that I grew up with) is a burden and a curse. I do not view it as such.

Is having a disability easy, not always. Although I had great family and friends support when I was younger, this made being different easier. This was not the case, in the “outside bubble” that is the real world, I was teased, and I was treated differently from others: other kids teased me and well-intentioned adults with there suggestions (really limitations – telling me what I can and cannot do).

I had someone ask me once, “What is it like to have a disability?”

I looked at him, not too sure how to answer him, then I replied, “How is it to be ‘normal’? It is all I know. To me, my disability is ‘normal’.”

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, there was a time where I wished I wasn’t different. That phase was part of my depression phase (and a different topic, so I will just continue my current topic).

I was religious as a kid. At one time, I was almost “Father Bob.” Along this path; however, I met people from other Christian denominations who wanted to “pray for me,” when they saw me walk in (with my disability). This only occurred twice, but both times I found it awkward and a strange experience.

As I have grown with my disability, I have considered it to be both: a positive and a negative blessing.

It is positive because it has kept me grounded, and humbled. I would not be the same person I am today without having my disability. It has made me aware of what it is to be different, it has made me more sensitive to the plight of those around me, and it has kept my ego in place.

I only find it negative in the fact that, although my disability does not change, it amplifies the aches and pains that most people experience as they age. I get more spasms; I fall more often (I find it an embarrassing experience let me tell you – well meaning folk try to help you and make a big deal out of it. I shouldn’t let it get to me, I know, but I still wish to be independent. Perhaps this is because, maybe one day, I fear I will lose my independence).

So, the purpose of this exercise was to provide a person without a handicap, some idea of what it is like to have a disability; however, one thing I have come to realize, as I age, is that I may not be able to hide my disability, but we all have ours. Yours might be emotional, or it might be psychological, or it might be emotional, or it might be spiritual.
—Robert Confiant 1 October 2016

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