Reconciling The Denial And Enthusiasm Of Being Disabled

Sitting here typing on my phone crying, I don’t really know where to begin…
The reason of why this topic came to my forefront is of how I haven’t had an outlet to voice my views on my disability despite having it for as long as I can remember.

I have a form of cerebral palsy; hemiplegia to be precise and it’s still to this day an issue I have to reconcile with.

Growing up, I was the only disabled kid in the family and well as being the middle child (talk about being in an awkward position). My life consisted of a normal childhood accompanied by countless doctor appointments, physiotherapy sessions and a couple of surgeries. I don’t think my parents knew how to take care of a disabled kid.

Personally, I was well taken care of but also in this contradiction where I wasn’t considered disabled I don’t think or knew someone with a similar disability. That was incredibly isolating and also confusing knowing how to navigate the world without knowing anyone like me.

In society, disabilities are generally pitied and countless people pray for cures for themselves and their loved ones and not enough people learn how to process and learn to live with having a disability.

Still in my twenties, I feel this sense of shame of having a disability. I never disclose my disability to people unless I need to: a) for repercussions of people changing their viewpoints of me and b) it’s none of their business. Sitting here crying about it, remembering that I have prayed to God crying to make me walk properly and yet having to live life this. On the other hand, I have reached a place of understanding that this is my life and I wouldn’t change anything despite its challenges and difficulties.

Being embarrassed or shameful of your disability is just a symptom of denial but also society’s denial of disability. It shouldn’t be hard to just accept that I am disabled and nothing is going to change that. Some people aren’t going to become disability activists and writers, some disabled people just want to live an ordinary life. Disability isn’t something I have to deal with, everybody needs to accept it.

Through the shame and denial of it all, there’s this deep enthusiasm of wanting to stay positive and cheerful. I think it’s part of my inner self cheering myself on but also realising the failures of people around me that disability isn’t something that ends, it’s long term and learning how to cope and embrace it.

I hope that as I continue to live in an ableist world, more emphasis is placed on fighting for legislation and change so disabled people no matter where they are are helped and accepted. I hope that as I age, I personally reach a moment where the scales tip and I have more positive associations with my disability and also recognise the reality of the difficulties I face.

For some, reconciliation of the shame and enthusiasm disability makes you feel is a lifelong struggle or a lifelong goal but I hope that people understand that it is a valid to experience these emotions and that it may never fully go away.

Through change in society, I hope to see a generation of disabled people who have society accepting and themselves accepting their disabilities fully.