Throughout my 22 years of living, I’ve realized having spastic cerebral palsy isn’t easy. After going to several different doctors and specialists, some have given me hope; others haven’t. It was hard for me to find a way to cope even though I had been in activities such as chorus, acting, and playing softball for a local disability league in the town I lived in. I never really felt a love and passion for those activities, nor did I know the path I was going to take in life.
As a freshman in high school, I was barely passing any of my classes with Cs and Ds, which had never happened before. I was always considered an overachiever, especially when it came to my academics. I felt like a total failure with everything being uncertain about the path I was going to take in life. After losing my longtime friend Daniel to cancer, I felt like the world was crumbling around me. For a year during my grieving process I had so much emotion I wanted to get out of my mind, but I just didn’t know how.
It didn’t help that things at school started to get worse for me. I was taken off a standard diploma, but was still in mainstream classes. This lowered my self-esteem a lot. I was a teenage girl with a unique condition, but I didn’t know how to embrace it. I would wheel into algebra class and while everybody else was doing academic work on the ninth grade level, I would be on my assigned laptop doing math on a second grade level . I was so embarrassed and ashamed to even be in mainstream classes doing first grade to second grade assignments. I often felt like everybody was right about me — the teachers, the school psychologist who tested me and told my parents I wasn’t going to be successful in life and didn’t have much of an IQ.
I would come home crying because of my local high school mistreating me. Eventually my mom and dad decided it would be best if my mom started to homeschool me through a public schooling online program called Florida Virtual School. I began to receive straight As again and was back on track to graduating high school with a standard diploma.
I had many thoughts of writing a book. I would love to be an author and inspire the world with my creative imagination. While drinking a Starbucks coffee, I started to imagine the characters that would someday be in my book. Once I got home that night I began writing the first couple pages. My mom came in, looked at the computer screen and said “I like the story, keep writing.”
I cannot tell you what good relief I felt to finally let all my emotions out. It’s a way I can escape from everything going on, finally be who I am and no one can judge me for it. I love every second of it. Writing allows me to go into a world I never thought I would find in a million years, but I’m so happy I did. It has helped me cope in a lot of ways and go into a place of creativity with endless possibilities.
I can be anything I want to be and tell my stories of having cerebral palsy. I find that people will not judge you based on the story you tell through a character. Over the years I consider writing to have been there for me through depression. My adult life with cerebral palsy has many struggles but I know when things get tough I can always pick my laptop and go to a whole new world.
Writing has also help me cope by giving me the privilege to spread awareness about cerebral palsy and connect with people with cerebral palsy from all around the world. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity and the passion I believe God has blessed me with.
I’ve learned from finding my passion almost five years ago that it may take something life-changing for you to find your way of coping with things. But once you do, you will soar in ways you never thought you could, and inspire others.