Life Lessons From a Disabled Girl

Living with a physical disability is difficult sometimes, but overall, I am thankful for the valuable lessons it has taught me. I have spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, and as a result, I have trouble walking, my left arm is weak, and I struggle with speech disfluencies. These symptoms make me appear different, and so my peers often view me as different from them. I have learned from this about acceptance, patience, and diversity, and as I meet new people, I teach them these lessons.

In life, people often do not fit one’s expectations. For me, this has become obvious as I went away to college, and my peers did not expect me to be disabled. Although it takes time, people get used to my disability because I try to show them that I am their peer and that I relate to them. They soon realize that I am a human being just like they are, and I enjoy many of the things that they enjoy like socializing, binge watching a TV show on Netflix, or just hanging around. People learn how to accept my disability because it is clear that it only makes up one aspect of my being.

Due to my stutter and my pace of walking, my friends need to wait for me, ask me to repeat myself, listen attentively, and even help me at times. This requires them to develop patience. Living in a high-paced, technology-driven society, patience is a skill that many people do not possess, and so it takes some work, but people who become my friends find that it is worth the effort. Friendship is far more valuable than the time and energy spent learning to be patient.

As cliché as it sounds, diversity makes life more interesting, whether it is physical or emotional. If everyone was exactly the same, the world would be a dull, monotonous place. Instead, it is brimming with different skin colors, genders, religions, sexualities, abilities, and ideas. The more a person is exposed to diversity, the more he learns about himself and the world around him. This is because diversity gives people a little taste of everything.

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