I remember always being self-conscious. Always wondering what people thought, avoiding eye contact, and trying to remain as “normal” as possible.
But…what is normal?…
Normal (for me) was trying to mimic the way that I saw the majority of people walk. Normal was taking the looks I got, and automatically assuming they were judging me for my crooked legs. Normal was never feeling comfortable to be myself.
And then that changed. It was a mix of many things over the years- friends, maturity, and others- that led me to stopping those former habits and beliefs.
I realized that my body is not going to change. Sure, I can have more surgeries and I can continue working out, but it’s never going to change the fact that I have CP. And I don’t want it to.
The CP is part of who I am. It’s why I know the people I do, why I’m passionate about certain things, and why I am where I am today.
I wear flashy knee-highs whenever possible. I purposely propel myself down flights of stairs and smile when I stick the landing. I make fun of myself when things don’t turn out right. And the truth? It makes people stare more. But they stare because I’m having fun and being myself, not because I’m ashamed of who I am.
Don’t ever hide who you are, especially the things that aren’t in your control. Be proud, flaunt it, and most importantly, love yourself. The world will love you back.