Concepts

Acceptance as a Non-Linear Experience

I realized I hadn’t written much on acceptance when it comes to my disability. I think I’ve mentioned it offhandedly: how my disability is a part of me and not all of me, how it’s nothing to be ashamed of…that is all still true, yet I think there’s an important distinction to be made.

I always thought “accepting” my disability and “embracing” my disability to be two different things. I accepted my disability a long time ago, and the coping skills I use to deal with such a reality have improved drastically over the years. Yet, I’m not quite sure I’ve “embraced” my disability entirely. Rest assured, that’s not saying that I hate myself because of what my body is and what it can and can’t do. Well, sometimes in tough, desperate moments I might, but overall I don’t.

I just deal with the reality of the situation: that I have CP and there is no cure. It’s kind of the same notion I talked about in Please Just Call Me Disabled . I like to refer to things as they are. Like denial, for example. You wouldn’t catch me saying something like, “Well, I don’t know if I’d choose to live without cerebral palsy, because CP is a part of who I am.” CP is a part of me, sure, but there is absolutely no way I would actively choose to live with cerebral palsy if given the option to live without it. Yes, I live a beautiful life exactly the way it is right now, but if someone were to offer me a cure for my disability tomorrow, I’d take it, no questions asked.

This is not me dismissing my disability and everyone else I know–personally or otherwise– who lives with it too. I realize that we are all different and have different opinions on the subject. That’s fine. This is mine. Really, since we all know no one is going to knock on my door with a cure come tomorrow, this is just me thinking out loud. Speculation, if you will.

Back to acceptance: like grief, it certainly is not a linear experience. Some days, I do accept my disability fully. Like I’ve said, it has presented its challenges, and I’ve tried my hardest to beat those challenges with a great deal of positivity. I do recognize that this is the hand I was dealt, and that’s that, so I might as well make the best of it. Some days, I defy my disability by constantly pushing the physical limits it sets.

Other days, I want to run. I want to figuratively (since literally running is pretty much impossible at this point in time) escape and hope the CP doesn’t follow me for once. I want to be able to carry an open cup of water without it spilling all over the place or falling over. I want to be able to go for a simple walk without getting fatigued. I want to be able to wear heels on a night out.

No matter how badly I want it to be sometimes, CP is not separate from me. I know this. I also can allow myself to be free within the certain constraints of my own abilities, and flat out refuse to let cerebral palsy completely control my life. I may not be able to carry a drink in an open cup, but I can carry one in a closed container. I may not be able to walk for long, but short distances are just fine. I might not be able to wear heels, but I hear they’re severely overrated, anyway.

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