As I grew, I found it a great challenge to explain my ‘difference’. Cerebral Palsy is difficult to hide even if you want to, and pull attention away from it.
Turning back, I can now sense why it was of interest, but at the time, I simply did things to get around the hurdles I had in front of me, sometimes without thinking. Sometimes it required great practice, sometimes it brought great frustration. ALL of it, a long, unique path that everyone carves out for themselves.
I’m thankful now for the understanding that those very actions I took were “out of the box” thinking & creative ways to channel my efforts to get things done.
Things that I can now articulate and understand the different approach taken…
Doing things differently, I’ve found, fascinates.
I wish (and I know it doesn’t help to turn back often) that I had the knowledge that in time you can develop a mindset to be in a happy place with it all (it continues to evolve my mental health too as time goes by) knowing that the challenges I faced, were admittedly quite different (before the dawn of social media that has facilitated meeting an amazing number of people from the disabled community) would actually help set up my growth mindset into adulthood.
Like I have, some people with a disability may attest, that while the act of doing something which is perfectly normal for them, because that’s how they do it, has sometimes astounded, amazed and inspired those without a disability. It gives a deeper understanding of the hurdles and therefore the resilience that I’ve used through life, which in turn, has helped create the life I now experience.
There is a sense that the use of an “inspiration” term is sometimes a challenging one when it comes to disability. I like the discussion because it brings out different and interesting responses. To me, to be inspired by success with a disability, isn’t necessarily because of an “in spite of” narrative like a disability is a large block, but rather an appreciation of the work ethic, the creativity around the discipline that a disabled athlete has crafted through practice, repetition and will. Those attributes are celebrated globally in any format in terms of success, but as a disabled athlete, I’m personally appreciative of the acknowledgement that I’ve tried a slightly different route to get to that destination.