A spin on cerebral palsy awareness day
Yesterday was Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. I've been aware of cerebral palsy all of my life, but I do think it's nice to have a day dedicated to understanding of cerebral palsy. I spent the day doing housework, Easter baskets, being with the kids and going out to a movie with my husband.
Each year I am pleased to see the understanding about cerebral palsy take place at much higher rates than when I was a kid. I was raised to not let cerebral palsy be an excuse for not living my life. Living my life was all the awareness that I had.
I laugh to myself when people claim that they are uneducated about disabilities. No one educated me on someone that can walk, but I don't use that as an excuse to treat them any differently. People who don't have cerebral palsy do things and say things that I'd never imagine thinking about saying. I know people without disabilities that complain over the most ridiculous things, but I still wouldn't dream to make them feel less or not included. So, it makes me wonder, why do those without disabilities think it's okay to judge those without disabilities but it's never the other way around?
When I was younger, I excused people for being unkind about disabilities simply because I thought they didn't know better or somehow I felt they had more power over me. Not anymore. Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse to say mean or uneducated things because there is information galore available about disabilities. The Internet is a powerful place and accessed million times a day - so get educated. People without disabilities sometimes feel like they have more power over those with disabilities. Wrong again. People with disabilities are doing phenomenal and ordinary things just like everyone else. No one is more powerful- disabled or not.
To understand about disabilities isn't needing to know all the technicalities. True awareness is accepting those for who they are and understanding life from their perspective. You can know all the technicalities in the world of any given disability, but if you can't just accept the person how they are and not who you want them to be, then all that knowledge is pointless anyway.
Personally, I like it when people know me as a person. Sure, I don't mind answering questions about my disability or how I do things, but if that's all someone wants to talk about-it rings warning bells in my head. I'm more than an encyclopedia on disability awareness, I'm Jessica. Jessica is a lot more interesting than the cerebellum, I think anyway.
All of these things that I'm about to say are far more interesting, I think, than explaining exactly what a muscle spasm feels like in a conversation. I like Grey's Anatomy and miss Dowton Abbey already. I need convincing to watch a movie because I feel time can be spent more wisely. I like romance to the extreme. I like to eat out and am pretty much a girly girl. I like my quiet time as much as I like being crazy. I adore children but can't stand bad or mean parenting. I can't stand yelling or being a bully when I don't get my way. I'm not into being loud, mean or sarcastic humor. If you have nothing nice to say, closed lips are better. I'm shy for a bit and am very picky who knows my deep feelings. I don't like when people lie especially when it's obvious and habitual. I like the sun and rain but hate snow! I don't procrastinate, I love to clean out closets and clean. I like to be asked to do things and people who accept my limits. I try to give thoughtful gifts to those I care for. My children are amazing and could talk about them all day. My parents and siblings are hilarious and we aren't afraid to laugh about everything. I'm a morning person unless I'm feeling motivated and can be up all night working if needed. I hate nagging, complaining and laziness. I like being needed and wanted because of who I am. Oh, and I usually forget I have breast cancer until I need to schedule an appointment.
Anyway, I got a bit side tracked there, but I hope you know what I am trying to say. Cerebral palsy might be the most visible aspect you notice, but it's surely not everything about who I am. That is truly what a Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day is all about.