I know. I know what it is like to be different, to standout, to be treated differently from others. I was born with a disability. I am a person with a disability. I cannot hide it. I stand out.
Today, I don’t let it bother me as much. I am philosophical about it. It seems I’m philosophical about a lot of things LOL. I cannot change it, so I choose to accept it. When I was younger, not so much.
I was teased, stared at, pointed out, and made the blunt of jokes for having Cerebral Palsy (CP). I walked funny: My right foot turned outward left-wise, and I dragged my foot a bit. When one turns into a teenager, generally, one wants to fit in and not stand out. I did not have this option. I was lucky, I had friends who accept me for who I was – a person with a bum leg, but there were plenty of others who did not know me, who made my life sadder. Up until this day, if a child points or makes fun of the way I walk, I get an ache in my being.
As an adult, I tell myself that it doesn’t matter, or that the kid cannot know. I sometimes, if they ask, explain that this was the way I was born, and I cannot help it, but there is still a bit of a sting.
My being born is a two-fold blessing. It grounds me. It keeps me humbled. Without having CP, I know I would be a different person. I am sensitive to others, empathetic to others, I am strong mentally, characteristically, and physically (in that deal with pain, but I don’t let it stop me. I don’t give up easily. When I fall, although somewhat embarrassed, I just pick myself up, dust myself off and continue my way). It can, also, be a struggle. This is especially true as I age.
Although CP doesn’t get any worst with age, aging and living with CP is difficult. One tires easily, one aches more, and one is not as flexible, nor as spry as one was. This becomes an issue because it is keeping moving and it is keeping flexible that helps one deal with the tense muscles that are a symptom of CP. The one impacts the other causing one to slow down more, which compounds the issue of aging and living with CP. One becomes less active and less flexible Specialists call it, “Premature aging.” It’s a condition where the pounding on the joints causes arthritis, where the excretion everyday activity (Studies have proven that persons with CP use twice as much energy to do day to day tasks than those who do not have CP) causes premature aging. Still, I am lucky I was prescribed a new drug; it helps me walk better; the medication eases the symptoms.
I still fall. The frequency is very much less than it was. I guess falling will be a fact of life. It is a reality.
So yeah, I am different. I cannot hide it, nor can I change this. Nor do I wish to. I am a person with CP. It has made me who I am in a lot of ways. It is not the only aspect of my life, but it has contributed to my make up quite a bit.
—Robert Confiant 11 March 2017 (mod 29 March 2018)