Living with CP can be both worthwhile and frustrating. I grew up when disability was a thing that was hidden away but my parents fought as hard as they could to let me treated as normal a person. They were told the usual ‘he won’t walk, talk, come to anything and will need to be put in a special school to play since he won’t learn’. They requested a test be carried out and the doctors quickly changed their minds.
Test consisted of memory, counting and logic skills. A pile of three different coloured matches was placed on a table and the goal was to separate each into their own coloured boxes. The examiner said kids will pick one at a time. No, not me – I separated them into a red, green and blue pile then put each pile into their boxes. He just turned round to my parents and went ‘this boy will have no problem in achieving, I have never seen someone of his age apply logic to this’. I was three.
From that day throughout all aspects of life, I have applied the same logic. Yes I have a mobility issue, yes I have a slight speech issue, and yes I can be walking down the road and bang fall flat on my face. However, I get up and carry on. Stigmas around disabilities can cause severe harm, not necessary physical scares, but those mental scares too. I have been taught to overcome my disability and I have went through school, achieving highers (A levels) and a university degree, post graduate diploma and I have been qualified as a Microsoft Certified Professional.
Personally, I seen my disability as a to achieve things – this is the worthwhile part! I starting horse riding at the age of 6 for physiotherapy/exercise reasons and loved it. I became one of the leading disabled rider in Scotland and went on to win British titles. Unfortunately this has now ended, or at the very least took a step back. I also became a successful bowler, winning Scottish titles, representing Scotland at world championships and competing/playing for my local club in able bodied bowling – winning titles along the way too.
Moving into adulthood, I did face other challenges. As my brain is fully function, I understand the concepts of life. You go through school, get qualifications (labour or academic), get a job, a house, partners, marriage, kids and eventually die. That’s the normal path in life – we are all on it and I know dying is morbid, but hey it’s part of everyone’s life so why deny it happens!
Adulthood hit me hard in some aspects – these are the frustrating parts. I have a good job, I travel the world promoting the company I work for and essentially doing a job most companies would only give to able bodied people. I was giving the chance, took it and held on to it. I’m not one to sit around just wanting things handed to me – I want to go out and get these things myself – why wait for others when you can do it yourself?
However, my normal path in life alters slightly for someone with a disability – some of the ‘areas’ become like a game in The Crystal Maze – you cannot step on those squares. These are partners, marriage and kids. Before anyone starts, I know there are people with disabilities who are married and families, but it is not the person who is disabled who has the problem, its the person on the other side. There are people who do not see the disability and sees the person – however the majority only sees the disability – this is so frustrating. I would absolutely love to be a husband and a dad, and yes I have liked a lot of women who I think there may be a chance here. However, when the time comes to make the move, you are told things like ‘I would rather be sick than be with someone like you’, or ‘you are too disabled’, this is very hard to take.
I may sound like my life is going good, but it is not complete. This is one of the things I hate about being disabled. There have been times when I have broke down, asked why this is happening to me and have had thoughts of ‘there is a big brick wall there, how fast does the car need to go?’. Obviously writing this, people will realise I never carried through with this thought – tomorrow is another day and it might be better, but it has been close…very close.
So to sum up. Living with CP is difficult at times and no doubt the severity of it all can play a major impact on your life. People need to realise that disabilities are part of the world now, there are people in the body and they are just crying out to be giving the chance and be treated as equal. The world is certainly heading in the right direction, and bringing disabilities into the media has opened the door slightly. There is a long, long way to go though to get true equality.
Suppose to sum me up in a sentence, I would say ‘I am a normal person, trapped in a body which acts differently. I live, I breath and I will die one day, just like an able bodied person. Take a chance to be my partner on the journey. There will be ups and downs in the roller coaster, but at the end of the day, is that not the case for one and all – disabled or not.’