Survival of the fittest

Herbert Spencer Principles of Biology

The goal in all life is survival. All creatures on this earth strive for one goal, to survive. From the moment we are born and we take our first breathes, we are on a mission to survive. In life, the goal is to survive in-order to procreate and to perpetuate the species. Although in nature, there are exceptions for which this is untrue. I myself as a gay man fit this exception, but not the instinct to survive.

I know all about survival.

I was born a pre-mature baby. I was born about seven months of age. I weighed about two pounds and two ounces, or about a kilogram. Back in 1962, there were no fancy equipment, or miracle drugs to deal with this scenario. Back then, they put you in an incubator and if you survived; you survived. My dad told me that he thought I had stopped breathing, on many occasions, only to witness me breathe in at the last moment.

I did more than that, but I did not emerge unscathed. I was about two years old before my parents and the doctors knew I had Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Through my childhood, I endured ten operations to correct my leg and to release the muscle spasms. When I was younger, I did not wish to go to the hospital and I fought to get out when I was brought there. I would kick and scream to get out, while my mom left me there. As I aged, I became complacent with the idea of being in the hospital. It was no longer something I regretted, but something to bear. I learnt to ‘grin and bear’ the pain associated with surgery and discomfort, and to accept the inevitability of the situation in which I found myself. I had learnt to harden myself to pain to the point that I can bear more pain than most people (I have had many dentists imply this to me in one way or another).

Although growing up, my family and my neighbours never treated me differently, this was not always the case. Most of society saw my handicap as a disadvantage.

To over come this prejudice, I had to give anything I attempted all I could muster and, so this fight, carried onward in all my endeavors. As a physically challenged person, I always felt the need to work as hard as I could to prove that I was as capable, or better than those who were ‘normal’. I have frequently been underestimated by bosses and others in superiority, and I have surpassed anything they thought I was capable of doing. Don’t get me wrong, there were times I failed utterly in the attempt, but I just picked myself up and I continued onward.
—Robert Confiant 25 August, 2016

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