If you see me walking the school hallways, or jogging it on the soccer field, you may wonder why I limp or stumble occasionally. For my entire life I have lived with Cerebral Palsy (CP). I was born three months prematurely as an identical twin; my sister being unaffected by CP. Having Cerebral Palsy has shaped my existence in our society and given me the tools to become a strong individual.
On a daily basis I deal with the people who judge me from first glance based on how I walk. I get curious looks and sometimes hurtful remarks from people who don’t know better. It’s just something that comes along with having CP and I have learned to fully accept that in my life. One morning I was walking at school alone and I tripped over my own two feet right in front of the biggest crowd of the senior boys! I was incredibly embarrassed but those things happen. Some saw, laughed, and pointed yet all I could do was get right back up and keep walking. It wasn't until later that I learned to laugh at those types of situations, because they are all inevitable when it comes to CP. I choose to show an optimistic outlook on my life because everyday I look at myself and feel extremely lucky to be alive, active, and healthy. Not until recently did I realize my “disability” if I should even call it that - would bring me to share my story with the world, and hopefully inspire others like me to do just that. Yet, I am just your average seventeen year old girl! I go to high school, play sports to the best of my ability, love to hang with friends, and I have a knack for writing to anyone who wants to listen!
Earlier this summer along with the help of my friend Greg, I started a blog called teencerebralpalsy.com. I continually use it as an outlet for my own thoughts and feelings about the challenges I face with CP. Whether it is a physical challenge, something social or emotional, I use writing as my way to express some of my deepest thoughts. I see it as my own way to connect with teens like me who have CP! Within the blog, I call out to other teens who feel like they need someone to talk to about any struggles or obstacles that come their way.
My ultimate goal for this blog is for it to just be a place for the boy or girl who feels alone in their journey through life with CP and to give guidance and reassurance to the ones that need it most. Over the past few weeks I have gotten something unexpected in return; I have met some amazing and inspiring young human beings through my blog! I feel so lucky that I am able to talk to these people who have opened up and allowed me into their lives. I hope to continue to make unique and long lasting relationships with others like me, as we already share a special bond with our Cerebral Palsy.
For those of you out there that have CP, or anything you feel sometimes separates you for others, find a way to make peace with yourself! I want you to feel like you can to share your stories or problems with me, as I try to do the same everyday! Especially now as teenagers, we all have our up’s and down’s and insecurities. But right now, I think it’s our job to learn how to grow and become the extraordinary future people that we are all capable of being! So please promise yourself, whether or not you have CP, that you always feel like you know that you can get through anything that comes your way. I know I can.
Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Teen Health & Wellness Personal Story Project—like Katy did above—and share your story about successfully dealing with or overcoming a challenge.