Today is March 25. It is also Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Day. I don't particularly like awareness days. To me, it feels like a day on which people living with whatever condition the world is now supposed to be aware of, stand up and talk about either how much their life either sucks or is better because of said condition. Then, everyone in the world who is not living with that condition feels inspired because those people are living their lives, hard as it may be, in spite of whatever condition that particular day is dedicated to. Maybe I have a chip on my shoulder, but that drives me nuts. So! I'm not going to sit here and tell you that my life with CP is perfect and wonderful and I wouldn't change a thing, but I'm not going to tell you that I would change if given the choice either. Because honestly, I don't know the answer to that. Some days, I love my wheels, and I love who I am, other days, I would give anything to have four working limbs. I'm not going to be the good gimpy kid on awareness day who tells you my life is wonderful or begs you to help me find a cure because I just can't stand it anymore. Nope, I'm not going to do that, not this year.
Instead, I will say this... Any little thing has the ability to change the projection of our lives. What if you married the cute guy instead of the guy with the brains? Your life would be different. What if you took the job in San Francisco instead of New York? Your life would be different. What if your parents had you go to a different elementary school. You would grow up with different friends, friends who quite possibly have different interests than the friends you have now. Maybe, just maybe, you would have the desire to become an architect instead of a hairstylist, and all because of the friends you met an element for school. If you went to a different elementary school your life would be different. I'm not saying it would be better or worse. Just different.
The very same is true of CP in my life. As I said before, the presence or absence of this condition in my life does not necessarily mean good or bad. That fluctuates from day to day, but the presence or absence of it would, I'm sure, change the projection of my life. At this exact moment in time I can't sit here and tell you that it doesn't suck to only have one working limb, that it doesn't suck to have to fight for rights and privileges that other people take for granted, or that having to prove myself as qualified for the job 10 times more than the person sitting next to me in that job interview because I am sitting in a wheelchair and he is not, isn't hard on the ego. I can't sit here and tell you that, because it is hard and it does suck sometimes. But I can tell you that I like my life. I like going to school at the University of Washington. I like my career path. I like that I'm surrounded by people who love me, and if not having CP would have changed the projection of my life (and I'm sure it would have), I'm not sure I would like that. So I guess by extension, the answer is I wouldn't change it for the world.
I'm pretty sure I just did everything I told you I wasn't going to do in the first paragraph. My bad. My guess is you're not going to hate me for it though. Today is March 25, National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Because I have it, and because it's only polite to do whatever someone asks you to do on their respective awareness day, I am going to ask you to do something. Become aware.
I don't mean become aware of CP and what it is and how it affects people. Although, I should probably be a good gimpy kid for once and tell you to do that too. But become aware of the things that have changed the protection of your life. Love it or hate it, I don't care just know about it. Know that every time you wish for that one bad thing to go away, or wish that it just never happened, you just might be asking for a whole new life.
I don't want this awareness day for me. So I'm giving it to you. Use this day of awareness for you.