Friends, readers, and passers by…
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Katy Fetters and I created a blog back in 2009 called www.teencerebralpalsy.com.
I was 17 at the time and in great need of an outlet to talk about what life is like with a physical disability. I wanted to find someone just like me, who could understand what I was going through. This was immediately a place where we could talk openly and honestly about how to deal with the comings and goings of adolescence and all of the feelings imposed by cerebral palsy. What became of this website was more than I ever could have imagined. I felt as though I had established a community, and in turn– I cultivated friendships with likeminded individuals who were just as excited to share their experiences with CP in the hope of helping other teens and young adults like ourselves. It was so exciting! After countless guest bloggers, newsworthy mentions, and even a few awards of recognition I felt like I was beginning to contribute something of myself that so many teens (and even parents of children with CP) could benefit from. I was empowered; these personal experiences, no matter how mundane they may seem to me, I know they are important to someone else.
TeenCP has taught me that everyone has a story, and there is no limit to our capacity to tell our stories no matter how unoriginal they feel. So much of our lives are lived online and so it is vital that we continue to impart all the knowledge we can–whether it is simply highlighting a pair of shoes that are easy to wear for our clumsy feet, or about a moment that changed one’s perspective on having a disability–it is all worth sharing.
Now it is 2017. I find myself having graduated college, traveled near and far, entered a committed relationship, gained work experience, and even applied to graduate school all the while, not writing as much as I hope to and barely keeping my online presence afloat. And I miss it dearly. At 24, I have entered into adulthood (or at the very least exited adolescence) which in turn, has moved far away from my TeenCP writer’s voice and constant feelings of inadequacy.
It is with this new blog that I hope to rejuvenate my voice in the disability community and share with you facets of my identity as a young woman navigating daily life with cerebral palsy. It is time to celebrate our bodies and all that life has to offer us and with www.cerebralpalsystrong.com, I plan to write about some exciting changes, adventures, realizations, and discoveries I have made about what it means to live life with a physical disability. I will elaborate on my philosophy behind #CPstrong and how it has empowered me to keep moving forward in this next phase of life in the healthiest way possible.
The spirit of TeenCP will remain alive & well in its new, more mature form. I welcome your stories in addition to my own and I want you to know that you are not alone in the daily struggle in all things CP. Those awkward teen years may be behind many of us (thankfully) but life moves forward and I know I am still finding my way amidst a sea of changes and lingering anxiety toward an uncertain future. That is why I want to share with you more about my life as I transition into this uncharted territory we call “our 20’s.” Most of all, I will always consider myself an advocate and voice for those who don’t know how to share their own story, or don’t have the platform to.
I whole heartedly believe that the world around us will only begin to understand what it is like to have CP so as long as we keep being vocal, proud, and open about our CP. It takes practice, time, and most of all courage but I sincerely support the idea that dialogue is one of the many ways we can rid our peers of stigma, ignorance, and fear toward those who are different than themselves.
As for www.teencerebralpalsy.com, it will remain as is, with all the guest blogs intact. I will archive it as its own small piece of history in the vastness of the ongoings in the disability community. I will also be changing the Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube account to some version of #CPstrong in the near future so keep an eye out if you are interested in subscribing to those channels! Thank you to those who helped keep it alive all these years alongside me!
Lastly, I am so proud to witness all of the progress that our community has made over the past several years in many ways. Although I have been a more passive participant, it seems that more people are writing, sharing, and opening up about cerebral palsy in the way that our technologies and media have never before allowed! It makes me so happy and I am excited to see where the next few years take us in terms of community, research, and social/political acceptance.
Thanks for reading! More to come…