I am not an inspiration in the way some people in the world insist on seeing it. The impact of my words is what truly matters to me, not what I have overcome despite my disability. If only you could take a moment to truly ponder your life, it wouldn’t take you long to realize that you have had obstacles that you had to face as well, whether they were physical or not. And did those obstacles define you? No. Though I’m sure they were an integral part of your story and had an influence on your life’s course, they were not the core of who you are or how you wanted to be seen. I wish that more would realize that my cerebral palsy is a part of me, but doesn’t even begin to make up the whole package. My life has not been a fight or a struggle any more than yours has. Honestly. It has to be said, because I trust that there are many readers out there who understand exactly what I’m talking about. I’m simply living my life, searching for ways to shine my light. Yes, I am different, but only in the sense that each of us are—no one has the same thoughts that we do, the same ideas, the same talents. It is the fact that we are unique that brings us together, and this is not something that should separate us. It should give us so many reasons for celebration. We can make the world so beautiful for each other simply by opening our eyes.
These thoughts have been with me since the weekend, when I tweeted for the IWK Telethon. I truly am grateful for the IWK’s exemplary care, and I know that the operations I had there at the ages of five and ten truly made a difference in my walking, which of course in turn led to a more independent lifestyle. Yes, I expressed that I am now a ‘proud woman with a disability,’ and I meant this. I have no reason not to be proud of what I have achieved. Perhaps this is all in my head, but what came to mind afterwards was that perhaps there were people out there that looked at the fact that I was independent at all as a miracle, that me living alone and leading my life as a regular 28 year old woman would was something amazing. While I appreciate that sentiment in some ways, it’s not true. No one lives to the age of 28 without having to face some wild storms along the way. We’ve all had to break down at one point in order to make ourselves stronger.
I think that we need to take the focus off of what separates disabled and able bodied and acknowledge that we are all extraordinary people with wonderful gifts to offer the world. Wouldn’t it make more sense to celebrate the brilliance that our minds and hearts can achieve, rather than what our physical bodies can do or not do, endure or not endure.
My words are how I want to reach people. Please try and forget the fact that I might look different from you on the surface and sound different than you when I speak. Read my words, open your heart, and hear the person inside. She knows and writes the truth of who she is and she wants to inspire you to share your truth.
I am not my disability. I am a writer. I am a dreamer. I am a giver. I just am, and that’s all I ever wanted to be. Carrie.