You think I’m delusional, don’t you? Especially if you’ve seen my Facebook Live Videos, you’re thinking, “Honey, if you don’t have CP, I don’t know who does…”
Well, of course, my body has characteristics of CP – the differences in gait, balance, fine and gross motor coordination, and naturally, my voice has a CP accent.
But I don’t have CP.
I LIVE with CP. For better or worse (usually the former), CP is my life’s companion. CP came along long, long before my husband, and like him, it’s until death due us part.
If I were to say I have CP, it’s a very passive comment on this ever-interesting life in a body that operates differently from most people.
CP isn’t a disease, neuromotor condition, illness, or tragic fate. It’s a way of life.
It’s a way of living differently from you, if you do not have a disability, and it’s also living exactly like you.
We may walk slower, more disjointedly, or we may wheel to our destinations. We may speak with what appears to be a struggle (appear being the operative word), or we may speak through assistive devices. We may not be able to move parts of our bodies or not be able to get them to stop moving.
We may live by ourselves and choose to have tasks like laundry take us five to ten times longer than the person without CP, but by God, it gets done. Or we may have people assisting us with all areas of living.
We may take longer to process information or you may turn to us to figure out what the tip should be at dinner.
Whatever we do or not do, at the heart of it all is that we LIVE LIFE with CP. We pursue dreams and we struggle through disappointment. We celebrate how wonderful life can be and we rage at the unfairness of life in general. We want joy and fulfillment in our lives, and will sometimes pursue it with reckless abandonment because life with CP can certainly be challenging, so let’s make it worth it.
And like you, in the very core of our being, we want people in our lives who will love us, our similarities and our differences, and join us in LIVING with CP.
When we have CP, it takes up residence in our bodies with a sense of possession. When we LIVE with CP, it becomes our companion, creating adventure, insight, and wisdom on this wonderful ride of life.
This post is in honor of World CP Day and a speech Kathy will give at Syracuse City Hall on October 6 at 12:30pm as part of a ceremony commemorating World CP Day.