Things I Have Learned From Having A Disability

Things I Have Learned From Having A Disability

Having a disability was not a tragedy, but rather a blessing for me.

When I was little, I used to hate having Cerebral Palsy. It was because people would always look at me funny, or ask me things like “Are you crippled?” Other times people would say, “I feel bad for you,” or, “I do not want what you have.” There were many times where I would struggle to do things as well, and it made me pity myself.

I kept asking my parents whether there was a cure for Cerebral Palsy, just so that the labels could come off. I did not want to be described as the crippled, sick, or diseased girl. I did not want to struggle constantly. So, since there was no cure, I sort of psyched myself to believe I did not have a disability. I did the things everyone else did, without thinking I had CP. Now that I think about it, having a disability was not a tragedy, but rather a blessing for me.

The things I have learned from having a disability are:

  • Compassion: Even though compassion is a natural trait, I learned to be compassionate towards those who have disabilities of all kinds. I have become mindful of the things I say, and if I am unaware of something, I ask in a non-offensive way.
  • Not to encourage stereotyping: Since I have been stereotyped myself, I try as much as possible not to stereotype others. If I do, I apologize and learn from it.
  • Accept myself wholeheartedly: I learned that in order to accept myself, I also have to accept that having a disability is just a part of me and that I accept that part too. It does not mean that it defines me as a whole, but it is a part of me that makes me whole as an individual being.
  • My disability is not a barrier, even though I may have my limits: I have limitations, but my disability does not stop me from what I can do, such as the goals I have set and the ones I will make in the future.
  • It has taught me to be self-aware: I have learned how my body functions—whether it is pain, stiffness, or posture. I try to “treat” my problem areas to improve my quality of life (e.g. working out and using muscle relaxer creams).
  • I am in control: I am in control of my thoughts, emotions, and what I do. I can choose to believe that my disability is a life sentence and give up on living life, or I can choose to see that I am more than just a label. I can get up and defy the odds if I want to. I am in control, and I have a choice.
  • Empathy: People have different disabilities, and even though I may not understand them fully, I can relate and understand the fact that I have one, too.
  • There is nothing wrong with me: Just because I have a disability, it does not mean there is anything wrong with me. We all were not meant to be “normal”. We are all different.

If I could go back in time, I would have told the old version of me to always believe, to never doubt or pity herself, and live life the way she wants. That she knows herself more than anyone else could, and that SHE defines who she is.

This is what I have learned.

Cover Image Credit: QuoteAddicts: Quotes>Jim Abbott

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.


When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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