Throughout my life, I have feigned acceptance of my disability. I frequently pretended that I was not affected by deprecating stereotypes, unequal treatment, and cruel jokes; but hidden was a side of me that resented my differences and my need for extra assistance. I spent years trying to be known for something other than “the girl with the crutch” or “the girl who stutters.”. In my endeavors, I forgot who I was and what I cared about. I forgot about my passion for listening to people’s stories and my passion for creating a more empathetic and equal world for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and abilities. I stopped reading and writing with vigor; instead I became jaded. I focused on improving my body instead of my mind and soul. I imagined that losing weight would “make up” for my disability. I wasted years waiting for the moment that I was the “perfect weight.”. I isolated from my peers because I was embarrassed of my stutter, but more prominently, I feared judgment. I assumed that people would treat me differently because of my cerebral palsy, but in doing so, I robbed them of a chance to prove otherwise.
I have learned in these past few weeks of treatment that my eating disorder only disguises my insecurities. They still remain, and grow stronger with each negative thought about my body, meal skipped, and purge episode. When I neglect to face the core beliefs that haunt me, I let my eating disorder take control.
Although I feel like a hypocrite for promoting disability acceptance while I do not fully accept my disability, writing about it gives me hope that someday the world will be able to see past physical appearances. Perhaps someday I will be able to love myself, disability and all.