Monday, July 6, 2015

The Ups and Downs of being a teenager while dealing with Cerebral Palsy: Zach's Story

After I read "Off Balanced" by Zachary Fenell, I was amazed by his writing ability and the way he was able to describe to his readers, the challenges of being a teenager with a disability. I could really relate to his story, since I was born with cerebral palsy, also.  I'm not a teenager anymore, but the frustration resulting from cerebral palsy has no age limit.  It was such a comfort to find this book and know that someone else struggles with the same feelings. He said something when I was interviewing him that I had never thought of when describing cerebral palsy, but after he said it, I knew it was the perfect description!  He said, "cerebral palsy has a way of playing mind games with you."  I thought that was a brilliant statement that should be inscribed on a coaster or cross stitched on a pillow!  Throughout this book, you experience the journey of almost crumbling under the pressure of being different and feeling like an outcast, to feeling liberated and ready to live life to the full!  You will smile, laugh, cry and cheer all at the same time as you read this book!  I appreciate books like this that are so candid and at times, raw.  Zachary Fennell was not afraid to expose the vulnerable roller coaster ride that is called, cerebral palsy.  It's not easy for those of us dealing with this disability to talk about how it really makes us feel.  We are just so used to talking about the happy, less rocky times, but this book shows you that there are two sides to the story and it's perfectly fine to acknowledge both sides, and in turn, help others find their voice and realize that they are not alone.

Thank you Zachary for sharing your story! Cerebral palsy may make you feel "Off Balanced", but your book shows that you can regain that balance and achieve more than you could ever imagine!

Listen to Zachary Fenell's interview here:

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

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