You see a kid in a wheelchair driving down the street, and you're curious. You try not to be, because you know its none of your business and you know its politically incorrect to ask, but you are so curious. Questions start to flood your mind... "Why is she sitting all lopsided? What's her life like? What's her family's life like? If I go up and talk to her, will she understand me? How fast does that thing go? What's wrong with her!?!?!?!"... And before you know it, you've been staring at the poor kid for the better part of a minute. And you feel like an awkward awful human being for gawking so you turn and walk away, still confused by the kid you just saw.
Sound familiar? Come on. You can admit it. You've been that awkward person unintentionally staring for over a minute at that kid sitting slumped in that chair... Desperately trying to figure them out.
Can I tell you a secret? Me too.
Can I tell you another secret? I am that kid.
Hello world! My name is Macy Westrick, I am a nineteen year old junior at The University of Washington, and I have Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. In English, that means that when I was born, the part of my brain that controls movement was damaged, and all four of my limbs are effected. This translates to inability to walk, and ultimately my dependence on a power wheelchair. So, yes, I am that kid. I am one of 1.6 million American wheelchair users.
Even though I know how awkward it feels to be stared at, I have been that person staring across the street at another human who l perceive as being in some way different from me, desperately trying to figure out why they chose to pierce their face in ten different places, or maybe where they're from and what their culture is like. And before I know it, I've been staring at them for the better part of a minute, just like so many others have done to me.
After so many years of being on both sides of the same coin, I have decided something: Differences are frustrating. They attract us to each other. They make us want to know and understand one another, and yet, they are the very things that keep us from doing so.
More than once, I've wished that the kid walking down the street would just tell me why he chose to pierce his face. That way, the barrier that stops me from talking to him is gone, and I don't have to sound like a complete moron because I asked a stupid question.
I know that's how people feel about me. I know you have questions, and that's okay, I am different, and different makes people curious. As much as I know you have questions, I know you're afraid to ask them.
Through this blog, I hops to give you a glimpse into my life, and answer some of those questions along the way, so that maybe one day when you see one of the 1.6 million of us on the street, you won't see a kid slumped in a chair. You will see a person who's not so different from you after all...And you didn't even have to ask a question!
Welcome to The Diary of a Gimpy Kid!