Monday, March 14, 2016

Emily Says: Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month Interview #2

As a part of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, I interviewed some friends with CP.  (My own interview will be posted at the end of the month.)  I wanted to get our impressions on some aspects of having a disability, but I also wanted to include general questions, to normalize those of us with CP.  I think it's important to realize our perspectives about things may be similar, but we are also our own unique people.

Next up, my friend, Emily:

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What is the most important thing you have learned about yourself?

The most important thing that I have learned about myself is that I'm strong. I'm definitely a lot stronger than most people realize. (Including myself.) As long as I believe in myself, I can do anything. 

What is your favorite thing about the month of March?

My favorite thing about March before I got a Tumblr was that it's one month away from my birthday month. But now, my favorite thing about March is that it's Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I love educating people on Cerebral Palsy, because I'm hoping that if I can educate just ONE person, that someone out there won't have to go through all of the crap that I've been through. 

What is your favorite thing about yourself relating to your disability?

My favorite thing about myself relating to my Cerebral Palsy is the positive attitude that I have about my disability.   I take all of my experience and knowledge, and I use it to help other people with my disability. I don't let my disability run my life. I can do anything I set my mind to. My disability will never keep me from doing anything. 

How do you deal with people’s invasive questions, comments, or stares?

Oh goodness. If I'm being honest, I sometimes don't deal with people's questions, comments, and stares very well. People are always going to stare, I've accepted that, and it doesn't bug me nearly as much as it once did. Although I do tend to get very self-conscious especially if I'm out by myself, and the majority of the time it ruins my mood/sometimes my entire day.  The people who ask questions don't bother me at all. I would rather you or your child come walking up to me and ask me questions than point and stare at me. At least if you come ask me questions, I am given the chance to educate you on my disability. I never handle people's comments well. Ever. Especially when they tell me I should be doing something differently, or they decide to come pray over me so that God can "heal" my legs. Last time I checked I wasn't broken.  And honestly, I still haven't figured out what to say to those people yet. 

What is your favorite song?

My favorite song is Stand by Rascal Flatts. 

What is one thing you want people to realize once they meet you?

The one thing that I want to convey when I meet someone is that I'm NOT just my disability, I'm so much more. I don't ever want people to think that my disability is my definition. I want people to get to know me as a person, to see that I'm really smart, I'm kind, and that I have amazing qualities that they're missing out on if they focus solely on my disability. 

Do you have a role model or a favorite celebrity in the disability community?  If so, who are they, and share a little about them.

John W. Quinn. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, and he was a senior chief petty officer in the United States Navy. He kept his disability a secret for 20 years. 

Have you ever watched TV, movies or a music video and thought, “That person’s just like me!”?  What was the show/movie/video?  Describe the moment that made you feel the most seen, heard or validated as a disabled person/person with a disability?

I've never seen someone like me on television, or in a movie. And, if I'm being honest that's incredibly frustrating. I wish that people with disabilities were portrayed all throughout the media, because maybe then society would have a different outlook. I think the moment that made me feel the most heard, and validated was when I got a Tumblr. I used my blog as an outlet, and I constantly talked about my disability... the good, the bad, and everything in between, and I realized that I wasn't alone. It made me feel really good to know that other people were going/ had been through the same struggles that I was going through. 

What is your favorite piece of adaptive equipment and why is it your favorite?  (Wheelchair, walker, crutches, etc,)  (Can be yours or someone else’s.) 

I personally don't use adaptive equipment so I can't really say that I have a favorite. However, I absolutely LOVE all adaptive equipment because it gives the person who uses it an incredible  sense of freedom and independence that they never had before the adaptive equipment. I also love that your adaptive equipment can be personalized; because that means the user can express themselves in some way, or show a little bit of their personality.  

What is your favorite scent?

My favorite scent is anything vanilla. I love classic scents. 


***

[Image is: Emily, smiling
slightly at the camera.
Photo credit: Emily]
Hey y'all. My name is Emily, I'm 23 years old, and I live in Georgia. I was born several weeks premature, and when I was 18 months old, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Luckily, I was blessed with the best parents in the world. My life would have been so much different if I were someone else's kid. Four years after I was born, my mom had my little brother. He also has Cerebral Palsy. It's incredibly rare for siblings to have Cerebral Palsy. My brother and I aren't just siblings, we're best friends. Although we have completely different levels of Cerebral Palsy, and different experiences when it comes to our CP, it has made us incredibly close. I don't let my Cerebral Palsy keep me from doing anything. I can do anything that anyone else can do. Anyway, that's a little bit about me. If you want to know anything else, or you just want to be friends, I've also included the link to my Tumblr: Bright Eyes and a Smile



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