(This story was shared in response to our Youth Blog call for submissions. All opinions are those of the writer. Please share your story!)
By Heaven Ramsey
I have mild spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. This basically means that it mostly affects my legs and other aspects of life but that’s a different story for another day.
When I was small, I did not realize I was any different than anyone else. My family never treated me differently even when I knew I had CP. However, when I would get upset over things I could not do, my Nana would tell me God gave everyone something that made them special and CP was mine. So when I started school, I was in mainstream classes. No one else had a disability of any kind. Suddenly, Cerebral Palsy (CP) was not what made me special because those kids did not understand. They made fun of the way I walk and complained about how slow I was. They thought my legs were broken because of the AFO braces. I was excluded a lot from recess because no one wanted to play with me because I couldn’t keep up. Luckily, I had a few friends who looked past all this and I am grateful that I found them. But I started to feel very lonely because there was no one else like me to try to blend in. This went on until 4th grade.
Speaking up about being different
The major event that changed everything was field day in that year. I left school that day in tears because none of the kids wanted me on their team because they did not want to lose. I felt so lonely in this world. But after some thoughts, I realized that they didn’t understand and I hadn’t tried to help them understand. I had been trying to fit in and had not ever explained to them about my CP condition. I started opening up and speaking about WHY I was different. I made my Facebook page “A Stairway To The Stars Heaven’s Journey With CP” shortly after that and with the help of Charisse Hogan and Richelle Heath and many friends who I came to know through Facebook, I came to accept that it’s OK to be different.
I now use my page, as well as #CPDreamTeam t-shirts, pageants and community events in an effort to help the world understand how important it is to teach your kids about difference and disability and to let other kids like me know they aren’t alone. I pray my efforts will, in some way, prevent some of them from going through some of the things that I have gone through. If we were all meant to be the same, God would have made us all the same, but then how boring would that be??
Never be afraid to be you and always be willing to share your story because you never know who it may help! Until next time much love and hugs!!