An Open Letter to Cerebral Palsy

Dear Cerebral Palsy,

For 26 years you have given me a rollercoaster ride on this journey we call life, from being three months premature, to graduating college to finding the girl of my dreams. Believe or not I think having CP has made me the person I am today. 

I don’t remember when I was diagnosed with CP but it changed my life and effects me everyday, from needing help getting dressed, to showering, each day has its challenges. When you have a disability, always try and have a positive attitude and believe that nothing can stop you. Overtime I’ve become more independent from doing most of my dressing with little assistance to learning how to put on jackets mostly by myself. Another piece of advice I would give is always push for independence and do what you know you can do. 

There are days when I feel like giving up, but I know there are always brighter days ahead. CP may slow me down but it can’t take away my love for life. It wasn’t until college that I opened up and got out of my comfort zone. College was the first time I didn’t have an aide with me so I had to ask people for help. It ended up being the best four years of my life, CP and all. I went to football games, went on trips, anchored countless hours of radio broadcasts for my college’s sports teams. A disability will only stop you if you let them, you are in control. 

Now to my favorite part, talking about my favorite person. As I said before people always asked me: how do you put yourself out there? In college everyone I liked was taken or they just wanted to be friends. I ended up on being on way too many dating apps and was convinced my CP made me undateable. That was until Hinge and coming across a beautiful girl who I knew I would do everything to keep. My CP was never a big deal to Margaret and she recently told me “you are so much more then your diagnosis.” Each day we take on everything together and often forget I have CP. I’m blessed to say at 26 I’ve found what people look for their whole lives. To anyone who feels like their disability has made them undateable, don’t give up, there is someone out there for everyone.

Cerebral Palsy will be with me for the rest of my life, and it is up to me to decide how much I will let it effect me. I am blessed with an amazing support system, who are always there through minor and major things. 

To those reading this, if you take away one thing, let it be this: always continue going forward, never stay in one spot, otherwise your disability wins. Put yourself out there, otherwise your disability wins. Swipe right or match with that guy or girl you think is cute, it could be the best thing that ever happens to you, otherwise your disability wins. Never ever give up even when you feel like you have hit your lowest point, otherwise your disability wins. 

Love, 
Charlie


Something bothered me at dinner.

Recently Charlie and I were out to dinner, like whenever we go out, Charlie was sitting in his wheelchair. We had been sitting there chatting away until the waiter came to take our orders. We were out for Chinese food(which Charlie says is a winter food and I keep questioning why). I ordered my meal and then the waiter says to me “and what is he having?”. This beyond upset me, but I played it off and said “babe, what are you getting?” and I gestured to him. That is when the waiter turned to listen to Charlie order his meal.

The waiter clearly knew that Charlie was capable of speaking for himself as per the fact that we had just been having a conversation before he came to take our orders. This is maybe the second time that Charlie have ran into a situation where people would ask me something about him. The other time we were at book signing from our favorite YouTubers, Shane and Hannah aka Squirmy and Grubs(I’ll insert a picture from that event below). We had gotten there a little late and so we were down an aisle of the bookstore, thus we could not see anything that was happening, but there was nothing to see, we just wanted to hear what they were saying. This lady that was standing in front of us, that probably wasn’t able to much more than we could says to me “does he wanna move over here so he can see?” I tap Charlie on the shoulder and say “its up to you” and he said to the lady “no thanks, we are good.” He handled it much better than I wanted to.

Just because someone is in a wheelchair, does not mean that that they are unable to speak. Yes, that is sometime the case, but the wheelchair also doesn’t mean that they can’t understand what you are saying to them or how you are acting around them.

Back to dinner, I wanted so badly to get up and walk out of the restaurant because of how bothered I was by this man ignoring Charlie and not speaking to him, but I didn’t. I chalked it up to the cultural difference and left it at that.

After dinner we went to the supermarket to get something for dessert, there was a girl helping the cashier bag and she had been giving me the dirtiest look the whole time we were waiting in line. I just kept touching Charlies shoulder and calling him babe so that way she knew that I was his girlfriend and not his caregiver.

I don’t understand why people can’t accept the fact that interabled relationships are a thing. Dating my boyfriend does not make me a good person, it doesn’t make me anything other than his girlfriend. I did not settle, I couldn’t “do better” than him. He is my best friend and the love of my life. I love him with every piece of me. We are saying because we love each other, and everything that comes with being with each other.

If there is one thing that I can’t stress enough, is always be an advocate. Always speak for those who’s voices are so often aren’t heard.