It’s our Silver Anniversary. We’ve spent twenty-five glorious years together and we’re still in one piece – almost. I know I’m writing this a few days early, but let’s face it, you forced me to arrive into the world three months ahead of schedule, so what're a few days? Happy Birthday, Cerebral Palsy. Here’s what I’ve gained from you.
From a young age, you taught me that stairs of any kind don’t mix with an uncoordinated body. Do you remember the time we got our head stuck in the banister? We got too cocky and decided that mastering the ability to sidestep up the stairs wasn’t enough. Epic fail. In more recent times you reinforced this when we had to make our way down a flight of steep and narrow concrete stairs with nothing more than a metal railing to save us from meeting a bitter end.
Speaking of near-death experiences, one of the many issues with having you permanently with me is the risk of falling as soon as we’ve stood up. It’s a danger we face every day, but we’ve had plenty of practice in how to land properly. If we’re relaxed as we’re flying through the air, there’s significantly less chance of getting injured. Having said that, at some point in the next twenty-five years, could you please perfect the art of moving our body in the direction it’s supposed to go as opposed to doing the exact opposite? We’ve already established that we won’t ever be in competition with Darcey Bussell, but it’s irritating when you stride forwards when we’re clearly trying to reverse. That’s partly why everything takes ten times longer for us than it does for your average Joe.
And whilst we’re on the subject of your annoying habits, I’ll always hold a small grudge that you brought your friend, Scoliosis, into the relationship. I thought we were happy when it was just the two of us. But no, you had to go and spice things up. If the genetics of my midget family weren’t already fighting against me, Scoliosis gave me a wonky spine which makes me even shorter. Talk about being kicked while you’re down. Now I have zero chance of patting a giraffe on the head. That was the dream of a lifetime
I apologise, I think I got a bit carried away. In all honesty CP, you’re not that hard to live with. I’m aware that you come in all shapes and sizes, so I can only speak from my own experiences. You have taught me to play the cards I’ve been dealt to the best of my ability, and from that I’ve learnt the universe doesn’t give anyone cards they’re not going to win with. You’ve also let me in on the secret that there are perks to the job, such as free parking and queue-jumping at Disney. However, I’ve always known there is a fine line between using those perks to my advantage and being a self-centred, entitled idiot with a chip on my shoulder. I’ll never take anything for granted because I know that we have to run our life differently and everything has to be scheduled to the last second – even our pee breaks
People wrongly assume that having the “disability” label is an automatic exemption from feeling the natural highs and lows of life. As you well know CP, this is not the case. Irrespective of whether you were part of me, I would have still gone through most of what life has thrown at me. Granted, I might not have had so many incidents where I couldn’t go out because my chair wasn’t charged, and I think life peeked when we were tipped out of our chair onto the train tracks whilst we were in plaster. But, you don’t define me CP, if anything you enhance me.
What is there left to say other than thank you for leading me here? Thank you for making me eager to teach others that it’s okay to be different, and to give up their struggle of fitting in – although we are still working on that. Thank you for being so bloody awkward at times, and in doing so, giving me the willpower to persevere. Above all though, thank you for being the standpoint and inspiration behind everything I write. I have a feeling we’ll blog (and blag) our way to success.