I recently watched a YouTube video about accepting your body for what it is, not necessarily giving up but realizing that there are some things that will not change. The video was speaking to weight loss and weight loss goals, but, I think the sentiment can be said for most anything. Listening to this video I immediately connected it to disability and within five minutes I had what some would call a awe ha moment.
Growing up I was treated like any other child I did chores, went to school, played sports and never thought of myself as different. It was known that Gym wasn’t my favorite but I got through it and with a few adaptations I was able to do what everyone else did. It was only once I got to high school I realized, I was, In fact, different. Suddenly, not only gym was different, but, people started to look at me more, I started to get more pain, I couldn’t do things that other people could. It was in high school I was told that I wouldn’t be able to drive, I would be in a wheelchair by the time it was 30, and to top it all off and aid told me that if I wore my hair down I could minimize how my sway (the way I walk) made me look. Naturally, I walked in front of the aid for the rest of the day swinging my ponytail in her face the entire time, I cried for an entire afternoon and thought my life was over, because cars are everything when you’re 16 (I didn’t realize gas prices, insurance, not to mention or other drivers) and when the doctor told me I would be in a wheelchair I thought “not me, that would never happen to me.” So I continued with school I did my best in classes I tried to make friends, and even had a boyfriend for all of the week.
Once I graduated, and yes I graduated. I started University and found myself in more pain, but still keeping up with everything and trying to make it work. I had crutches for a while, I tried to ignore it for a while, and then I had the brilliant idea to get a motorized scooter and it helped, for a while. I could get to class and I wouldn’t have to worry about carrying all my heavy books. The downside was my scooter was an indoor scooter. Which means, quite obviously, outside in the snow it was useless. We have snow about half the year. I also had a hard time actually driving and maneuvering it so it soon became apparent the scooter and I were not the right fit. I was rapidly gaining a collection of mobility aids and when you can say you have more mobility aids than long-term relationships you know there’s something wrong here. That said, I recognize that it can take a while for a person to find the mobility aid that works best for them and it definitely took me quite a while. after the major fail that was the scooter, I took a break for a while and thought I could be completely ambulatory (I didn’t need anything). I was going to prove these doctors wrong and that was going to be that. Proving doctors wrong was what I had done my entire life. And even if they did end up being right I was going to push off being in a wheelchair for as long as possible. I wouldn’t be in a wheelchair until I was old. 70 maybe 80 just like everybody else. A few years later I decided to start using a walker. At first it was my “Walking disability sign” I wouldn’t get runover in the mall if I used this thing. I eventually started to use it a little more and a little more to the point that now I use it, probably, half the time. Skip forward to president day, I have used my walker for aboat three years now and in that three years I: graduated university, got a job, got another job, moved out and am now working full time doing what I love.
Since high school I changed, gained a little life experience, a new outlook, started figuring out who I am, what I want to do, how I want to be perceived in this world. I also aged and in my experience aging with Cereal Palsy is always a balancing act. Because I did all these things when I was “younger” I now have to deal with the “consequences” and such. As you age with CP your muscles might either lose or gain tone. Sometimes not in a good way. It can become harder to move because your body is used to moving in a different way, using different muscles (then what is thought of as normal) to do different things. Also, fun fact did you know it takes two to three as much energy for somebody with CP to move their body. when you think of all the things you do in a day could you imagine doing those things in a different way? Maybe slower, maybe less coordinated, maybe with more thought put into each movement.
Now I’ll go back to my story, so I’ve moved out, and am working full-time, and my back and hips are killing me. I first accepted it and kept on keeping on, I would get flareups every once in a while but I would deal with it and move on. Then just after I started my current job the pain and its affects started to get really bad, to the point I would get home, in pain, and use heat bags all night just to get up and go to work the next day. I love my job, but I felt like I had no life. Then one day I was at work and told my boss I felt a little unstable, He suggested a wheelchair. I got into it thinking that it would be a one day fix I would be better tomorrow and life would go on. The next day came, and the next day came, and the end of the week came and suddenly I realized that I had energy come the weekend. I could get my grocery shopping done. I was even able to go out with friends – I actually had energy. Why? When I look back on it I realized that it is and was because I spent work days in a chair that I would and could have energy in the evenings and at night. So now I accept that I will be a part-time wheelchair user for the next little while. Maybe not forever. Maybe this is just a phase. Either way I am embracing it, not to say that I have given up and will never walk again, but to say that for now a chair on wheels has become the solution to how and why I can live the life I would like to live.
I accept my body for what it is now because I know I can’t change it. I can’t get rid of the CP it is as a part of me as is my eyecolor
Once you accept, and love yourself for the person that you are; which goes beyond your size, your skin color, your ability level, your intelligence, if you’re gay, straight, bi or anything else in between.
those things, those big non trivial things accept those things and, not only will your self esteem sky rocket but how you see others may change as well. All of this from learning to love yourself.
By the way, this doesn’t mean that everybody in your life has to love and accept what you are learning to love and accept about yourself. It would be great to have people around you who support and love you for the person that you are, and hopefully you do, but, on the off chance that you don’t or that the people who love you are not as supportive as you may want them to be aboat a life decision or personal choice realize this: It is a personal choice for a reason and You need to do what You feel is right for YOU
I realize in this post I have made it seem very easy and cut and dry to accept something as big as a wheelchair. Know that, I know that, it is not that easy and it takes years to do. Everyone is different and every body’s experience will be different.
I titled this post love is all you need, because I truly believe that once you learn to love yourself, and I don’t mean that in a one off type of way, I mean it this way, once you realize that a single part of you does not define a whole self it can be seen in everything you do. In your attitude, in your way of being in the world, and believe me it will come back to you. So it goes,
“All you need is love, love, love is all you need”