Dear Cerebral Palsy,
This letter has been a long time coming. Unfortunately, the time that I’ve had to think about what I would say to you does not mean that this letter will be an easy one to write, or for you to read for the matter. But you seemed good today, and so it seemed like a good time to write this.
First things first: I’ve been meaning to clear this up for at least the last 10 years — I’ve never hated you. I have never known anything else but you. I know we’ve had our problems. In my naive youth, I cursed you for the differences you created in my body. I hated you for the walker you made me walk with, the braces you made me wear on my feet, I resented you for keeping me from keeping up with my peers, for the clothing you wouldn’t let me wear, and, of course, I resented you for the way you hurt my body every day.
Pain changes people they say, and I think in our case, in some ways, it has made me better. I look back at that pain and that time in our lives now, and I realize that the pain you caused was not that bad, and I’m sad about the amount of time I spent disliking you and our body because there is so much more to life then all of that. I’m strong and a survivor because of you; that’s what you’ve done to my body. You’ve made it strong.
As I sit with you now, I worry about where our lives are heading. I’m so proud of the life we’ve created and the life we have lived thus far. We have traveled, we have lived, we have loved, we are smart, and we get to make a living by doing what we love thanks to each other. That is so awesome! But I worry about how I can better take care of you going forward; I fear longer and more frequent bouts of inactivity because of our pain. I worry about the things I’ll avoid, like the dentist and healthy foods, because even though I know they are good — there’s so much to work on in these areas. I think we can get there, though, in time.
I write this to you now to let you know that I have accepted you. I accept you, finally. Part of this has been due to the love of a boy. I no longer hate myself or wish that my body was something different. Sure, I still get discouraged when we need to ask for help to get up a curb, or when I ask my boyfriend to leave the party early because I’m in pain. But I want you to know that I’m OK with you. I understand you to the best of my ability as we are now, and I wouldn’t change you or ask you to leave. We are on much better terms now. Because of you I get to live a life that I love, though it may not be perfect. I get to make a living as a writer, I get to spend time with my favorite musicians, I get to express myself freely and fully because you have conditioned me not to be concerned with what people may think or say about me, because they are probably looking at me already anyway.
But most importantly, I want you to know that by accepting you, I have accepted me. I’m ready for us to move forward now. Keep moving, CP.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. 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.