How many times in the past have you asked yourself… “Why did I say that?” Or, “Why couldn’t I have been more candid, clear, and effective about what was on my mind, with the people I was talking to?” How many times have you looked back on an important meeting and wondered, “How could I have communicated my goals and needs better, while not being stalled, stymied, or intimidated by the structural institutions in place? How could I have been more effective, centered, and in control of my emotions during this meeting, while staying focused, steadfast, and true to myself? What did I learn, share, get across, or teach in the process? How did I share a truth and help to build an alliance for myself and others?”
So I pause, take a deep breath, and think about what I really want to say, what I really want to convey to others.
I begin by being me, my authentic self. I turn inward, and I dig deep to adapt and adjust to what is being said. I pay attention, and calmly put my thoughts and feelings in place. I take my time. I refuse to feel pressured. I then start to verbalize my position, placing all the facts on the table. I start a real conversation.
These are just a few thoughts that fuel us as people with disabilities. Because we have often had such a hard time getting our feelings and thoughts across to “the other side,” we naturally start to question our own abilities; we question our reasoning, our emotions, and our ultimate purpose. This comes from the fear that we will not be understood, will not be accepted in the world, in our communities, or have the skills needed to ensure that we are not left at home watching television all day or playing endlessly on the computer.
How do any of us with cerebral palsy really move forward when all the above is at stake? How do we really learn to get ahead in this world? How do we find and define the level and line to reach for to be real or intimate on a scale of amount, quantity, extent, or quality, while still being respected? How do we find the intestinal fortitude to be able to move our lives forward?
The question for you is: how do you move forward in your life towards a place or a point where you can be where you and you alone want to be? A place where you feel good, feel you have purpose, feel heard, and feel fulfilled? How do you open those doors for yourself? How do you make opportunities happen and avoid just sitting back and waiting for life to happen to you?
We have to keep moving in the direction of our hearts, minds, thoughts, dreams, and goals. We have to change the way people look at us by being kinder, more understanding, by building bridges, by bringing together those with a common bond or trust and who will believe in us! It’s about going the distance when others say you can’t or that you are not capable! It’s about rising above, taking chances, and risking it all.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.”