(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 Tylia Flores
Waking up in pain and needing help to get out bed is all too typical for me. When you are born with a disability, you’re bound to face some sort of obstacles in life. The best thing I learned over the years is to overcome all obstacles and to always be myself. Having this disability has affected my childhood, health, and even my social life by dealing with prejudice. My disability has made me explore life in a different way.
The other side of the coin
On the other hand, I wouldn’t say it’s all bad and that I had a bad childhood. Being born with a disability is not the end of the world. It’s not like when I was born I had a choice anyway — I couldn’t tell the doctor, “no cerebral palsy please.” However, I did have to learn to do things differently. For example, as a child in elementary school, every student in class was learning how to write their ABC’s, while I was learning how to type them on the computer. Being older now has helped me understand that although my childhood may have been different, it did provide me with many advantages.
I try to stay positive and not think of all the judgment I have experienced throughout my life because I am in a wheelchair. Teens can be so mean when you appear to be different. I always feel like I have to prove myself, even though I can do most of the same things they do. For example, I am part of an organization called “The Plantation Dynamites” where people with any type of disability get to play sports. Basketball and baseball are my favorites. My mom takes videos of me playing, and I like to put the videos up on my Youtube channel, so I can show others that even though I am in a wheelchair, we are all the same. However, that doesn’t stop people from judging me when they see me out in public. Some people stare and even allow their kids to stare. It makes me feel sad, but at the same time, I like to talk to those people. Most of the time they are shocked that I can talk, let alone have a conversation. It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover.
More than just prejudices
Anyone with a disability will likely have to face obstacles and challenges, no matter what. The key is to learn from those challenges and keep pushing forward. Through my experiences in my childhood, health, and being prejudged, I learned to overcome it all. I am older now and understand that my disability will have an impact on my life; however, it will not stop me from being myself. Life is what you make of it!
Tylia Flores is a 22-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination. Through her determination she is able to write stories in the hopes that she can inspire others with disabilities do to whatever they put their mind to.
She published her book “James Ticking Time Bomb” at 16 years old.