At the present moment life feels overbearing and ominous, laced with hopelessness and uncertainty. When my friends receive and earn their license, I’m proud of them, yet simultaneously envy and resentment boils within me (as that is a feat I can only merely imagine achieving) which consequently perpetuates the throbbing sense of guilt. One of my friends withholds no desire to obtain her license and the pressing temptation to respond with “let’s switch places” gnaws at me. Another one of them details her driving sessions and expresses her fear of the task and I outwardly sympathise with her but internally am wearied by the constant mention of the subject. Thus spurring the familiar feeling of guilt and the magnification of my incapabilities. One occasion where this was demonstrated was some time ago in physics. We were introduced to this assignment where you had to do an assortment of gestures utilising both hands and draw conclusions based on your observations. After a few minutes, following several futile attempts while everyone breezed through with laughter echoing throughout the room, tears brimmed in my eyes and I forcefully swallowed them back. I slipped my phone in my pocket and asked for permission to “use the bathroom.” Over the years, the bathroom has transitioned into my second home. It is a safe zone free of judgement, a place to retreat to, a temporary escape. Upon locking myself into the stall, I permitted the release of tears to stream down my face, frustrated that I couldn’t complete a seemingly simple task, infuriated at the notion that everyone possessed the ability to perform those movements. My mind stampeded with fury thoughts. They did not have to think twice to tie their hair. They did not have to think twice to zip up a jacket. They did not have to think twice to lace their shoes. They did not have to think twice to play videogames or a musical instrument.
The uncertainty aspect arises in the form of the daunting future. At the age of 17, high school years are coming to a closure and the contemplation of how to proceed ensues. The pervading predicament of what to pursue lingers intensely. The fear of amounting to nothing, disappointing those around you is prevalent, the expectation to precisely formulate the circumstances of your life ten years down the line induces apprehension. However, acknowledging my past overcomings provides security and hope for what is to come.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy. Thus, it impedes primarily the functions of the right side of my body, as well as left but not to as severe of an extent. One ramification was the inability to learn to walk at the appropriate age. Whilst all the kids encompassing me were up and about on two feet, I grappled with not even having the capacity to stand and the twisted, ludicrous presumptions. For instance when I was three years old, at daycare, they sought to place me in “Waddler Room” which consisted of 1.5 year olds, solely due to my failure to walk; the level of my mentality and cognitive potential was associated with my physical lack (I have faced similar occasions even recently). My parents insisted that I be relocated to the “Toddler Room” and the officials reluctantly succumbed, doubting I’d be able to manage since I traversed on two knees. After observing my adaptation to the environment, they concurred to the placement.
Amid the summer, my parents reasoned that measures to progress towards walking should be implemented. As a result, I was issued this device called a Kaye Walker. It was four wheeled, with bars on both sides to grasp, and one in front. It was an arduous start. Having to stand on two feet proved to be excruciating. The direction and control was completely nonexistent, landing me in the grass. And only after a meltdown, a full hour, I reached the neighbouring house. Hope was diminishing rather rapidly. The outlook was bleak with no promising outcomes, but gradually with a tremendous amount of practice, I successfully strode throughout the neighbourhood, quite effortlessly.
Now that I had grown accustomed to travelling around the neighbourhood, it was time to expand the boundaries so the mall it was. The environment contrasted significantly with a more intricate layout and crowded atmosphere. People would stare, the questions and judgement evident at the sight of a four year old utilising a walker. Despite my young age, I was aware of my differences and self conscious of the evaluations from others. I have learned to pretend I don’t notice. Feeling everyone’s eyes scrutinise me caused my back to prickle with embarrassment. Yet, I persevered through, knowing everyone had their battles regardless of the visibility. And soon enough I was strolling about store to store with shining confidence.
Seeing me walk with ease in any surrounding it became appropriate to wean away from the dependence on technology. This next part I have a distinct recollection of. I was presented with the dilemma of choosing between this pink cane, taking the shape of a tripod in which I undoubtedly despised or the foreboding, baleful option to walk completely independent. I remember being in my parents room with the cane positioned in front of me. I yearned for the continuation of the usage of my walker as it was familiar. But to accomplish extraordinary success you have to inevitably venture into the unknown, straying away from comfort.
Stay tuned to find out what happens next and for relatable content. Remember it’s okay to be afraid of trying new things but don’t ever let it prevent you, for there is the awaiting reward on the other side.