Having a disability means that you’ve probably experienced some rude and awkward moments. These might include someone staring at you too long in the checkout line at the store, a child loudly pointing you out to their mother when you’re out for a walk, or a stranger trying to take your arm to help you cross the street when you’re perfectly fine on your own.
These situations might take you by surprise, and you might not know how to react.
A few days ago, White Sox sportscaster Jason Benetti narrated an animated video addressing awkward moments and cerebral palsy. If you are reading this, you probably know that I have been living with cerebral palsy for a long time. In the video, Jason calls the awkward moment of being out in public and someone asking what’s “wrong” with you — a “disability blurt-out.”
The video is highly relatable to anyone who has CP — and you have to admit, it’s funny. It serves as a gentle reminder to approach life with a disability with positivity, even though something is uncomfortable. It’s a learning experience and a chance to grow. You may not want to be a “teaching experience” to someone, and you may think it isn’t your responsibility, and that it gets old. Yet, we are all teachers, and at the same time, we are all still students navigating our way through life.
So, the next time a kid stares too long or points at you when you walk into a room, remember: It’s fine. Because without this experience and this moment to start a conversation, a child may never get the chance to learn that people with disabilities are people first, we are all the same inside no matter what we look like outside, and we all want the same things as everyone else.
As people with disabilities, it often feels as if we may not have the same opportunities or abilities as those who are our peers. We don’t see people who look like we do on TV very often, and we probably see them at our local grocery store even less. Having a disability can feel like a very lonely and isolating experience. It’s the main reason I write this column and feel so lucky to have it.
I am only one face and one experience of those living with cerebral palsy. But, like Jason Benetti, there are others. RJ Mitte, one of the stars of “Breaking Bad,” also lives with cerebral palsy. Josh Blue, a comedian on “Last Comic Standing” in 2006, lives with cerebral palsy and has incorporated his disability into his standup. Christy Brown, an author and a painter, was the inspiration for the movie “My Left Foot.” Maysoon Zayid has blossomed since her 2013 Ted Talk.
The point is that some of our allies are now crushing the mainstream media, bridging the gap between representation in the media and being completely left out.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.