I struggled with my appearance for quite some time, especially in my tween and teen years. Most of my insecurity came from my spastic cerebral palsy, which has
Because I have trouble with my balance, the doctors recommended that I wear special leg braces called AFOs. My first pair of AFO leg braces was dark blue, and I loved wearing them. At first, I never felt ashamed of them or had any issues with them.
But one day in elementary school, I had an encounter with an able-bodied student who didn’t understand my cerebral palsy or my AFOs. From then on, I was bullied and became the outcast of my 4th grade class, which made me want to completely stop wearing my leg braces. I wouldn’t even wear my braces to physical therapy because after that horrible experience, I just wanted to forget that they existed.
It wasn’t until I was a high school senior that I finally decided to conquer my fear and wear my leg braces in public again. I wanted to stop acting like my cerebral palsy didn’t exist and take off the mask that I had been wearing for so many years. I learned to embrace who I am, find self-confidence and self-love, and be proud of who I am as a person.
I’m thankful that I struggled to accept my leg braces because my journey taught me how to love myself. It may take some obstacles for you to practice self-love, but just one moment can put you on the journey towards loving yourself. Learning and practicing self-love can be a difficult journey, but once it ends, you will realize that the love you gained was worth the ride.