Monday, January 13, 2014

On the Other Side

I know, I know, I hardly ever write.
I will try to get more in the habit!
I've been thinking lately about my life and how CP plays a role.
And it feels like now, especially since I successfully transitioned out of my wheelchair and out of therapy, (can anyone else believe that actually happened??) CP has an increasingly diminished place in my life.
Oh sure, it still affects me, every day.
But the challenges have become so ordinary I hardly notice they are there.
Such as when I lose my balance several times a day- I just get back up and continue on, mostly without injury.
It's like I've moved on from having to fight with CP every day to just living, and handling CP related complications when they arise, and then contiuing on my way.
My disability doesn't dictate my life anymore.
When I was younger, it sure did. I couldn't do SO many things my siblings and friends did, like walking from the carpeted living room to the tile kitchen without landing on my face, and participating in gym class or a neighbourhood game of tag. And so much more.
I had surgery after surgery to deal with and recover from.
I had constant therapy requiring commutes to the city and more therapy at home.
I had adaptations and struggles at school.
So on and so forth. It was a constant feat of endurance just to get through each day.
And now?
I can go an entire day without even thinking about CP.
I've been known to forget there is anything different about me until I catch a strange look from someone  as I walk by.
There are days when I get super discouraged! Like when spasms will not stop or my friends go on a snowboarding trip and I stay behind.
But the majority of the time, I just live.
What does daily life look like for me now?
It looks like any other young adult's, with a little extra falling on my face at random intervals!
Adulthood with a disability is very different than childhood with a disability.
I feel like I have reached the other side, and I am standing there cheering for others as they climb their own mountains.
You can do this, you can. It might not feel that way, but you are far more capable than you realize!
Adulthood has its own set of challenges, and I'll write about them more.
Things like trying to find a job and having to factor in what I honestly can and cannot do, and the extra struggles of trying to convince potential employers that physical disability does not mean lack of ability to do a job well.
And things like the prospect of living independently and what needs to be factored into that.
Taking responsibility for my own body and being careful to have a healthy lifestyle so that physical issues do not get worse due to lack of health.
The challenges are certainly there, but things are different now.
I can look back and see how far I have come (which is incredibly far! From the little girl who was supposed to never do anything independently to almost entirely self sufficient!) and then look forward and face new challenges with the same amount of determination and spunk that helped me conquer all the others.
So, from this side of things, I'd like to encourage others who are fighting your way through to just keep at it! It will all be worth it. Don't forge to look around and enjoy the journey while you're at it. My Mom always told me to keep my chin up. Look the world in the face and tell them you won't be beaten, you will persevere. Life is beautiful, life with a disability is its own special form of amazing.
We can all do this, together.

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