What having Cerebral Palsy has taught me about people
Wow, it is now an extremely long time since I last blogged. It's a cliche reason, but I have just not had time and I don't really know where time is going - we're now in July, when did this happen?! I often remind myself just before I go to bed "oh, I need to update the blog", which is quickly followed by me asking myself "what shall I blog about?".
As well as giving updates on CP Teens UK in each post, I also try and blog about something 'useful'! These 'useful' topics (I have no idea if they're useful or not?!) often come to me randomly - if I sit down to blog just because I've not done it in a while, I often start rambling about nothing. So, I often have to wait patiently for a topic idea to pop into my head!
Whilst I've been waiting for an idea to pop into my head, I've been busy behind the scenes! Some of you might notice some new features on the website, including a brand new space for Guest Bloggers and 'CP Teens On The Move', which allows 'CP Teens' to submit reviews on their favourite accessible venues/attractions/hotels etc. and enables you to share your top tips for amazing days out and trips away! As this is a brand new feature, there is currently only one review online - I'm hoping that it'll become a hub of knowledge and a wealth of information based on real life experiences for amazing things to do right here in the UK! Congratulations to Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield who have become the first place to feature on 'CP Teens On The Move'!
Since I last blogged, the Annual Sponsored Wobble has took place. Once again, it was very well attended and it was so hot - probably the hottest Sponsored Wobble we've ever had! Photos can be found in the Gallery and a roundup of the event can be found on the News page.
This is a really scary thought, but we are now just over 3 months to go until the 4th Annual CP Teens UK Ball! Half price tickets for 'CP Teens' (only 25 available) have now nearly sold out! As of tomorrow, my head needs to be in full 'Ball mode' to ensure that everything is ready to go on the 20th October - it'll be here before we know it! If you'd like to purchase tickets for the 2018 Ball, or if you'd like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Away from running CP Teens UK, I have also been busy with my RaceRunning competing all over the UK. Next month, I am representing England at the World Cerebral Palsy Games in Barcelona, which I am really looking forward to as well as being nervous - a good nervous though! Tomorrow is the selection day for Team GB for the upcoming European Championships in Berlin. Oh my days, it is my biggest dream to go and represent GB, but we'll see ... let's not tempt fate, haha!
So, now I've done a very quick and sweeping update, let's get onto the topic that popped into my head meaning that I came and blogged! I said that my blog ideas often randomly pop into my head, and this one was no exception - you know when you have deep, meaningful life conversations with yourself on the toilet?! Well, this was one of those occasions, haha! I thought to myself, "well, this could be my next blog!". And to the toilet humour people out there, no, I was not having a number 2! Haha!
Having Cerebral Palsy has meant I have met so many people from so many different walks of life. Also, this might not make a lot of sense, but having Cerebral Palsy that is 'mild enough' to enable me to be included in many things, yet 'severe enough' to enable me to also be excluded from many things (I've just given myself another blog topic there!) has actually taught me a lot about people.
So, what exactly have I learned?...
1. There are so many people who are in it just for them
First things first, I have met lots of genuine, 'salt of the earth' people. Because of having Cerebral Palsy, I have met some amazing people who would do anything for anyone. But, I've also met many people who aren't like this. Strangely, since I setup CP Teens UK and started to climb the 'RaceRunning ladder', I've come across more people who are just in it for them - they want to be associated with the medals and the charity.
Even at junior school, so-called 'friends' would claim to be my best friend during the morning so that they could skip the lunch queue with me. But, would they come to physio with me for the rest of the lunch hour? No, don't be silly, they would be out on the playground of course! It sometimes appears to me that some want to be associated with disability, whether this be for personal gain or a 'feel good' factor, or even combinations there of. But, the moment that these people no longer perceive a personal gain or they're no longer receiving a 'feel good' factor or feel fulfilled, they disappear. I have lost count of the number of people who have disappeared out of my life for these reasons. It really is odd and you think you must be imagining it, but when it happens time and time again, it really can be an eye opener!
Treasure the people who will do things with you, for you etc. because it's you and not because of anything else!
2. Some people do have a problem with disability
Yep, they really do. It's 2018, no one should have a problem with disability, but you do get the odd one who is simply disgusted at the fact that we're in existence! This used to really bother me, but now with a bit more maturity above my shoulders (haha, perhaps maturity isn't the correct word?!) I now couldn't care less. They have the problem, not us. My 'straw war' opened my eyes to just how many people do have an issue with disability. I have met so many people, mainly at school in fairness, that won't be my friend just because I have a disability. I was that child who didn't get invited to parties (get your violins out, haha! Don't worry, I've definitely made up for it since!) because I had a disability - kids didn't want to be my friend and this was convenient for the parents as they were clearly afraid/felt awkward about having me in their house.
I'm not asking people to like me simply because I have a disability, absolutely not. But, it'd be nice if people judged on whether they liked me or not because of my personality and not because I have a disability!
3. Some people will judge you before they've met you
This has actually happened quite a lot to me. I've found that if someone knows I have Cerebral Palsy prior to meeting me, they will have already 'worked out' in their head their expectations of me. It happens a lot when my parents say to someone, "oh, our daughter has Cerebral Palsy", and I then go on to meet them at some point. I often get "you weren't what I was expecting!" - erm, huh?! Sorry, what were you expecting?! A horse? A flying elephant? Oh yeah, you were expecting the stereotypical vegetable who can't do anything weren't you? Silly me!
4. Some people will be really patronising Yep, this is actually really common. It is really staggering how many people out there assume that you're a bit S L O W because you have a disability. Although it can be annoying, it is literally because of a lack of education, so I don't tend to get wound up about it - I just usually have a good giggle at their expense instead! However, what does really annoy me is people who know full well that you are 'normal', yet have the tendency to be patronising because you have a physical disability! Why, oh why, oh why? Linda (random name, I'm not actually directing this at anybody!) why are you talking to me like a 5-year-old when you know full well I'm a 23-year-old woman who actually graduated from University last year? Give me strength ... or gin, haha!
5. Not everyone will stick with you throughout
Have you ever had those friends who you thought were absolutely your best mate and then they disappear into thin air? Yep, me too! And in fairness, I think this is a big part of life - we all have those 'friends' where we look back and think "why were we ever friends?!". But, I have found that having Cerebral Palsy can sometimes make 'friends' come and go like the wind - I certainly found this throughout my school years. Especially when I was younger, some people would make friends with me out of curiosity and when their curiosity had been 'cured', they'd move on. But even in the sixth form, 'friends' would quickly come and go.