You're Amazing. Show It!

I see you, my peers. I read your blogs, your comments, your emails. I know from my own experience how you suffer at the nervous stares and cruel words uttered by others. Worse yet, I know how you agonize over not being "normal", over being labeled and judged and dismissed by the masses.

You're worried about the same thing everybody else is worried about. Everybody get labeled and judged; everybody. Everybody wants to be better, prettier, smarter, thinner, fill-in-the-blank.

I wish that I could make people instantly look past your handicap and see who you are inside. But, since that isn't ever going to happen, I want to wave my magic wand and help you look past your own handicap long enough to realize what an amazing person you are. If you have CP you are coping with challenging circumstances on a daily basis that no one but your peers can appreciate. And that's really the point. Nobody can tell anything about who you are by just looking at you. They can't know what your favorite food is, or how much you love your dog, or how scared you are during thunderstorms. They have no idea how hard it is for you to stop moving, or unclench your hand, or get your facial tics under control.

You live with the constant reminder of your limitations everyday yet you expect others to ignore them the instant they lay eyes on you. It's just not fair to expect that much from others. You will  encounter countless disappointment if you do.

Instead, think of yourself in these terms.  "Although we all know not to judge a book by it’s cover, most will have a quick glance at the cover to see if it’s a book they may be interested in reading." I'd love to take credit for this sage phrase but it is, in fact, a comment left on my About page by astimegoesbuy (you really should check out her blog. She has impeccable taste).  More importantly, she's absolutely right. You are an amazing book, a page-turner, a best-seller. Why not work on your cover and see how many people want to have a read?

We Can Work It Out

And we should work it out.  I don't care how mild or how severe your CP is we Palsies deserve to look as good as anybody else.

The way you dress reflects how you feel about yourself. It doesn't determine your worth as a person, but it does determine your estimation of your own value. It lets other people know how much or how little you think about the package you're presenting to the world. I think it's really, really important for those of us with Cerebral Palsy to understand that we have the potential to be as valuable as anyone else. It's equally important to understand that we are being judged for our physical appearance far more critically than our able-bodied counterparts. It's not because people are jerks - although some people clearly are. It's because as human beings we are physiologically hardwired to notice differences in our environment and that includes people who look or move in a way that is radically different from the norm. In other words, people are going to notice you because you are handicapped. All the political correctness in the world isn't going to change that. It's just going to make others that much more hesitant to approach you for fear of saying something offensive.

Do you want someone else's first impression of you be of nothing but your disability? Are you so nicely wrapped that people are staring at you - in a GOOD way - because they'd like to interact with you? Or do you look like you either think little of yourself or wish you owned Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility?

Why deny anyone the opportunity to get to know you? Change their preconceptions with that first glance, that first impression. You can do it. I have done it, and I know that for a fact because people I've met that have become friends have told me so.

It took me far too long to come out of the shadows. Don't waste another day of your life waiting for the world to change. Change your world - today.

I want to get to know you! I want to start a movement with you. I want to recruit you as a fellow Spashionista. I want us to help each other look like we're worth our weight in gold; because we are!