With the society we live in, stereotypes are everywhere we turn. Whether it be the popular girls being stereotyped as being “bitches” because of their social class, or jocks being stereotyped as “dumb”. One stereotype that really gets under my skin is that all disabled people are considered “dumb” or “retarded”.
For those of who know me, know I hate when I get put into a box or have people tell me what is best for me, or what they think is best for me without really knowing me as a person. Yes, I have cerebral palsy, and use a walker to help me walk, but that does not make me any less of a person. I have heard people flat out say that they feel sorry for the person because since they have a disability their life would be too hard, or that they cannot go for their dreams because of their disability. I could go on and on but I will save some more of those for future blog posts. I would rather focus on the positives that I have had in my life and focus on my goal of changing the stereotypes and stigmas that disabled people cannot live a life like “normal” people.
I was raised with two parents and a younger sister, as well as many friends who never let me believe that I could never do something. If I set my mind to something, they all supported me and would help give me the tools to accomplish them. When doctors told my parents right after I got diagnosed, at the age of three, that I may never walk, they looked at the doctor’s told them that that was bullshit and to just watch and that I would walk one day. And guess what? I did. It may have taken five years and I may have been very nervous and embarrassed by it, because it was different than everyone else, but the fact is that I conquered that obstacle and told the doctors what was up. Yes, I have been through hell and back with my cerebral palsy some days, but I fully believe that if there is no pain, there is no gain and that God helps those who help themselves.
My goal for this blog is to not only talk about my story of the roller coaster that is growing up with cerebral palsy, but first and foremost, bring to the surface the issue of stereotypes and stigmas that cloud over disabled people, whether it be on purpose, or just because. I say it needs to become a movement that everyone needs to get behind. So I ask you, who is with me to start making a difference? Let’s start thinking we are stereotypically able!