I am a young 34 year old woman who has Cerebral Palsy. This is my story to tell. For a long time I wondered why I was born with a disability and my twin sister was normal. But a couple of years ago, I understood why I was born with CP. Here are my thoughts and feelings about this topic. Handicapped is just a word to me. Yeah, I need some help with eating, brushing my teeth, combing my hair, tying up my shoelaces, doing up my zipper…. On the other hand, I can do a lot on my own… Like getting dressed, going to the washroom, Getting out of my chair, I can work out. I use a wheelchair to get around, but since I was a little girl I had a dream to walk on my own. Being honest I know that I won’t be able to walk like a normal person who can get up and walk somewhere. I know in my heart I will walk, but with some assistance of course, and I’m okay with that. My disability does not define me and what I want out of life.
I want to walk on my own and I want to be an advocate for people who have a disability. I go to the gym 3x a week, I walk around the track holding on to a railing, I balance on a wobble board, I stand, I used to walk on the treadmill, and sometimes I go swimming. Next winter, I want to try out skiing!! I found a quote on facebook and I feel that it spoke to me. It says “I still have a long way to go, but I’m already so far from where I used to be and I’m proud of that”.
The truth is, I still have a long way to go. It will take time, perseverance and determination to achieve this goal of walking on my own. But I can celebrate 34 years of overcoming obstacles in my life already! After all, life isn’t a race to the finish, it’s all about progress. My family is a big part of mine because they don’t see me like I have a disability. They see me like a girl, a daughter and a sister and I wish everybody was like that. I guess the only message I hope to leave the world by the way I live my life is this..
I am not handicapped.
I am not disabled.
My name is Shawna Mattinson.