Lately, I’ve often felt uninspired to write here because I seem to be on my computer and phone every day for graduate coursework & I am burnt out on screen time! I am sure many of you can relate, so I hope you don’t hold it against me. For what it’s worth, I love how active the CPstrong Instagram account has become so I enjoy looking at all the photos you all put out & even posting my own! Remember, you can always shoot me an email or direct message if you would like to be featured on all CPstrong social media! We’ve got some amazing people within our community & I love seeing so many of you connecting with each other.
Lately, I’ve felt pretty down about my body & all the lovely things cerebral palsy likes to remind me of… my squished toes, my crooked feet, my slow legs when the cold creeps in. The tired-just-from-being-out-all-day feeling. CP seems to add an extra to everything lately, maybe that’s the best way to explain it.
Lately, it’s been stirring up a lot of negative emotions toward myself. And I don’t always know where it comes from. I feel uncomfortable in my body, I wish I could just shy away from being in public. It is exhausting to be “looked at” every time I walk home or get onto the city bus. It is so odd to have a body that doesn’t always feel like “me” or to be told “at least I am beautiful” [for what, a disabled girl?] I think this but I don’t say it, as I quickly explain my disability & exosym to this strange man. But why do I feel the need to explain myself? What does all this mean & why am I so sensitive to it? I am so used to answering questions about myself and my CP/exosym: did you have a skiing accident? did you tear your ACL? how long do you have to wear that thing? “Forever” I say–and they look again, kind of confused because I don’t “look” disabled or even injured. Who qualifies, then?
I can laugh it off all day long, we all have lots of practice dealing with all the same, often inappropriately timed questions…but sometimes when I have my thoughts all to myself, I feel utterly overwhelmed by this sense of being different. Of looking different, moving differently. I gather that there is this common-shared feeling of anxiety over being a working, living, breathing adult with CP & I am feeling it too. I am learning how to just take it as it comes & do all the little things that I like to help keep me afloat when I feel busy & energy depleted. I listen to music, take bubble baths, go for walks. All to equally distract or remind myself that it’s okay to feel this way. It is especially hard to do that in the moment, though–I know. The other day I went for a fairly short walk on a flat, dirt trail with my boyfriend because I didn’t feel confident to do a long hike that day; though I could sense that he wanted to do a big one but I just know my body can’t handle an 8 miler right now, nor did I want to attempt something that long again out of fear that my legs will just fatigue and be done 1/2 way through. How do I stop from feeling like I hold him back from certain physical experiences? I don’t really know the answer to that, but I know that I have to keep coming to terms with CP on days like these. Take a deep breath, or five.
This phrase struck me hard. I stopped immediately to snap a photo.
“as you are”
That’s all it says– and I choose to read that as: “as you are” is okay. is enough. is beautiful. is human.
Lately, I know my attitude toward a lot of things hasn’t been the best. Especially my attitude toward myself. I don’t know why I am writing this other than I am sharing because I know we all go through shit because of cerebral palsy. And sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we cry. It’s all good to go through– maybe you feel it too.
It is up to each of us to love ourselves as we come. To accept ourselves for our body’s shortcomings. To not be so hard on ourselves when we feel defeated and frustrated. Easier said than done, sure. But it can be done continually and intentionally.
Thanks for reading.