Hey lovely readers!
So today’s post is going to be a bit different, because today I’m getting personal. Today I want to talk about my life with cerebral palsy and how books quite possibly saved my life. Okay first things first. What exactly is cerebral palsy? Good question, because sometimes I’m still confused by it, so here’s a basic definition for you: “While Cerebral Palsy (pronounced seh-ree-brel pawl-zee) is a blanket term commonly referred to as “CP” and described by loss or impairment of motor function, Cerebral Palsy is actually caused by brain damage. The brain damage is caused by brain injury or abnormal development of the brain that occurs while a child’s brain is still developing — before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth. Cerebral Palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.”
Basically this means my brain was damaged at some point before, during, or after my birth. My CP manifested in several ways. First and most prominent is that I walk differently. Instead of heel toe I put my toe down first, basically I walk on my toes so it sort of looks like I’m limping or bouncing when I walk. My legs also bend inward. Second thing is that my eyes were affected. My right eye is lazy and has incredibly poor vision while my left eye has perfect 20/20. So often it looks like I’m not looking at you when I actually am. The third thing is my feet and leg muscles, they are abnormally tight, especially my right side. My feet muscles are almost always tense, I have to focus to relax those muscles. My legs don’t stretch very far and they never will. Truthfully the entire right side of my body is a bit messed up. So much so that it’s fairly noticeable. I often lean to the right unconsciously because it gives my muscles some relief.
There are also several things I can’t do because of my CP. I can’t drive, I can’t ride a bike, and I can’t swim. And yet I am grateful for my beautiful life. I am one of the lucky ones whose CP did not affect my brain functions. Sometimes when I tell doctors about my CP they don’t believe me, because well I’m very smart. And most people with CP also have mental disabilities. Mine is so mild that I get to live a completely normal life. My mother refused to say that I was disabled in any way, she refused to put a label on me. And I can’t tell you how much I love her for that. That decision she made gave me the confidence to walk through life with my head held high. So where do books fit into all of this? Let me tell you!
Books literally saved my life. Because that confidence I have now? I didn’t always feel that way. From the time I started first grade to the end of middle school I was picked on so much. Kids pushed me around, they called me names, they mocked the way I walked, they called me crippled. The thing is that I’ve always felt like I don’t belong, like I was born at the wrong time. My mom always says I’m an old soul and so I never really connected or identified with my peers. Because of my CP I grew up much faster than most kids my age. And on those days when I felt so alone, so broken from the relentless teasing, I turned to books. Don’t get me wrong, my parents knew about the teasing and they did what they could. But at the end of the day I still had to deal with it. So I started reading. I friends with fictional characters because I barely had any real ones. I got lost in fictional worlds, because the real world was hard to cope with.
And that’s why I read so much, that’s why I love blogging, that’s why I became a librarian, because books were and are my saviors. They kept me sane and grounded, they were my ticket to a better life, and I will forever be grateful. Now I have a wonderful life, good friends, I job I love, and a husband who is my everything. But I know that when I need them my books will be there. My cerebral palsy is not who I am, it is only apart of me. But it’s a part I want to share with all of you. It’s not an easy thing to talk about. And there are still days that I question why I was burdened with this. But I believe it has only made me a better person. A person who is strong, independent, and gracious. A person who knows her self worth. So if you are struggling remember that you are not alone, remember that it’s okay to stumble and it’s okay to be angry. But never forget how strong you are. Your issues do not define you, just as my CP does not define me.
Thanks for reading guys! Talk to you soon! <3 Adrianna