'Inspiring'... really?

A quick welcome to Ben Rowlings and Josh Halliday, two new CP Teens UK Ambassadors - go check out their profiles on the Ambassador's section ... they both have very interesting hobbies!

First picture: Ben

Second picture: Josh

So, I've been thinking recently, many people say 'oh, you're so inspiring Ellie!' ... well, really? I was born with Cerebral Palsy and to me I had 2 choices in life:

1. Mope about and be morbid on the sofa

OR

2. Just 'get on' with my life, just like the rest of the population.

I chose number 2, but to me this doesn't make me 'inspiring' at all ... no way hosay! Wouldn't everyone choose option 2? Why wouldn't you? You could actually argue that option 2 could be seen as a selfish decision from a certain angle - I am 'getting on' with my life for me, I suppose no one else will directly benefit from me 'getting on' with my life.

The fact that I don't sit at home, watching Jeremy Kyle day-in, day-out, is certainly not 'inspiring'. You don't walk into say a bank, and look at an able-bodied member of staff, and think to yourself, 'oh gosh, he/she is an inspiration because they're at work and not on the sofa at home' ... this may be a poor example, but I hope you can try and see the picture I'm trying to create.

Just like the vast majority people, I wanted good GCSE's, I wanted good A Levels, I wanted the best university place etc. and in the future, I want the best possible job, I want a family etc. Just because I wanted/want these things and I worked/work hard to reach these doesn't make me an 'inspiration' - the fact that a few of my brain cells got wiped out is irrelevant!

Inspiration comes from 'ideas' we like. For example, I liked the London 2012 Paralympics, and rightly or wrongly, I wasn't necessarily inspired by the athletes' disabilities (although, I was inspired by the fact they were proving the entire world wrong!), I was inspired by the fact that sport could offer opportunities for all, which then inspired me to take up Athletics.

People say CP Teens UK is 'inspiring'; okay, once in a while, it's nice to feel appreciated for what you do, a bit like if you walked someone's dog or made them a cup of tea. But, personally, I don't think it's 'inspiring'. We are now in 2014, it wasn't exactly difficult to set up a website with a Facebook and Twitter alongside. I'm going for charity status to help other people with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities - not exactly 'inspiring', having a disability is expensive business and that's the bottom line of it! And just like people want to raise awareness to 'save the polar bears', and 'breast cancer' or 'heart disease' just to name 3, I want to raise awareness about Cerebral Palsy/Brain Injuries - nothing 'unique', nothing 'special', nothing 'inspiring' ... just something close to my heart for obvious reasons!

You can choose bitter or better. I chose better. This is not inspiring, anyone and everyone would choose better!

I'd love to hear your comments/views etc., make sure you comment at the end of this post!

And now, time for this week's guest blogger. It is CP Teens UK Ambassador, Cat Lee! Thank you Cat!

Left Hemiplegia, affects my left side predominately, but most people forget that my other side is affected also, due to overcompensation and the fact I have Cerebral Palsy first and foremost. Judgements are always quick to be made about disability, Cerebral Palsy being no exception to the rule. I may be 'disabled' but I'm not thick, or intellectually 'challenged'. I don't think I'd ever change who I am- because rightly or wrongly, my disability has made me who I am. It's shaped me as a person, through my experiences and even the people I've met- without that, I don't think I'd have the same outlook on life as I do today. But of course, this is me being positive, (which I rarely am), and of course, if I could change, I would. The word 'normal' bothers me. What is normal? I'm not normal, neither is anyone else. It sounds cliché, but we actually are all DIFFERENT. To quote Morticia Addams from the Addams family 'Normality is an illusion', a made up concept by the human race. No two people are the same, so why should 'disabled' people be shoe-horned in to a segregated section of society because are not the 'norm'. Who determines what 'abnormality' actually is? 'Abnormality' suggests a sense that something doesn't belong. Considering this against disability, doesn't this suggest that the 'disabled do not belong? That's up to you to decide, but personally, I find it quite insulting, that I as a 'disabled' person, I am defined by what I cannot do. To paraphrase Francesca Martinez on This Morning a couple of days ago, how would you like to be introduced to people by saying 'This is ____ he can't play the piano." Difference is meant to be embraced- yet it's often segregates many even further. I also hate the word disability, and dislike loathe the words retard, 'spaz' and cripple. They all hold such negative connotations, and give off that those in which the word refers to, are not actually people. Unless I’ve known a person for a relatively fair amount of time, they don’t necessarily spot the more ‘obvious’ features of my disability. For the most part, this is fine by me as I don’t intend for everybody to know about my difficulties, just the ones that I genuinely care about. This being said- I find it incredibly difficult to deal with when society, on the whole dismisses the fact that I couldn’t possibly be disabled, for the fact that, I’m walking and talking, rather than being in a wheelchair or carrying a walking aid. This is particularly noticeable on the bus for instance, when I receive looks of condemnation and scorn for sitting on the ‘disabled or elderly’ seats. I’m made to feel guilty for something I am actually entitled to. But, that's just an example, even friends and family can do it too (not necessarily even intentionally).

It’s hard putting into words how this makes me feel, I’m labelled by society, but on looked upon for being that label…especially when hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy is one of the- if not most common disabilities among children and young adults. It’s not even really society's fault that what they consider to be disabled has to be something so overtly physical, better education is definitely a must. ~ Cat x

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