Friday, December 7, 2012

A Behind the Mic Reflection: World Cerebral Palsy Day 2012

Cerebral Palsy: An umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement.  Wow, that's the dictionary definition used to describe people with Cerebral Palsy!  I mean really.... what's up with "non-contagious motor conditions" as part of the definition?  The things that are contagious about me are my laughter, my smile, my humor, my hugs, my heart, my imagination, my need to be with friends and family (btw, I cherish these relationships deeply.  They have kept me level and focused and able to deal with the changing landscape of my cerebral palsy).  My love affair with news is extremely contagious...(I know it is in my blood... I'm just sure of it!).  What about my excitement to try new things and my desire to travel the world?  I want to be an actress, live in New York City, work at CNN (Anderson Cooper will think I'm FANTASTIC!) :))  I love to meet new people and I'm really interested in who they are.  Encouraging people is my forte.  When I see a friend with a tired, sad, at their wits end expression on their face, I love to turn it into laughter and a smile!  All of these aspects to my personality make me proud of who I am.  But, I'm even more proud that I didn't let all the hardships and struggles that CP has tried to beat me down with, squash my spirit!

Have I always been this positive?  NO.  I was hit like a ton of bricks ten years ago and thought my life was over... that I was worth absolutely nothing!  I was shocked, I mean, I went from this carefree, high spirited girl to this shell of a person that, when I looked in the mirror I didn't even recognize the reflection staring back at me!  I was shattered, my heart broken...all the hopes, dreams and goals I thought were right in front of me were actually miles away, and it would take a tremendous amount of work to get there!  As I look back now, even though the journey was hard, and trust me, some days it still IS,  I have learned to love myself day by day and appreciate my own unique way of accomplishing my goals. (And the people who have helped me get to those goals - you all know who you are, and I thank you from the very depths of my heart!).   So, to all of you who may be going through this journey of self-discovery - I am here to tell you, you can do it!!  It will make you stronger, better and more resilient.  Rely on those who love you and feed and nurture your potential, and never let negative thoughts cloud the beautiful person you know you are!!  Don't let the disability define you.  YOU define what's possible even with the disability...  With your incredible ABILITIES!!! :)      

So, on this Cerebral Palsy Day 2012, even though the actual day is now distant,  I leave you with this: Educate, Empower, Inspire - Show  everyone how Brillant you are!!

Michelle Fischer is the host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by the Arc of Indiana

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