Fate: (noun) the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do
I suppose the entire concept of fate, in regards to the above definition from Merriam-Webster, has been a coping mechanism for me and mildly shapes how I deal with my disability. Whenever I feel down or depressed about what I cannot change, I try to remind myself that maybe having cerebral palsy was “meant to be,” or a development of events beyond my control.
It all appears to make sense, because really nobody on this Earth chooses when they are born, where they are born, or what family they are born into. So why would the circumstances of my birth, a rather insignificant event embedded in this grand, enormous universe, be any different?
I was a preemie baby, born at 27 weeks when a full term of pregnancy is about 40 weeks. My mother was cleaning the house when her water broke. When I was younger I often wondered if anything could’ve been done differently to alter this course of events. All that wondering proved to be a bit painful, tiresome, and ultimately useless, because it does not change my reality, or the life that I live now.
Although, could it be that my disability was a course of natural probability given the circumstances of my birth? Nature is of course completely without motive, and there is a definite lack of intent. Perhaps lending the fact that I have cerebral palsy to fate is an attempt to anthropomorphize such natural processes into a kind of intentionality, when in actuality it is the opposite of intention.
Still though, I ask, does crediting my disability to fate cheapen or lessen the work that I did to lead me here, to where I am now? I worked tirelessly to learn to walk, and to stay mobile. I attended countless sessions of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and gritted my teeth through long and painful times after surgery, only to learn to walk all over again. I fought against my own body to be able to move in the ways that I want to move, and though it is not perfect still, it’s something.
I do not think I would be the same person if I weren’t disabled. There are so many things my disability has given me: strength; tenacity; resilience; a unique perspective on the world in which we live. So even in this situation, in this hand that I was dealt, there seems to be room for me to mold cerebral palsy into my life in the way I want it to fit, and in that regard, autonomy exists. That has to be the most valuable part of it all.