Some days I’m in wheels but I like to wear heels
I have cerebral palsy, but I don’t look disabled. Here is what its like to have a motor disability that no one really knows about.
I have cerebral palsy.
It’s a motor disability that translates to brain damage, in this picture of my brain scan you can see that basically a quarter of my brain is black.
I know, it’s mental. I didn’t expect it to look like that – my scan was long overdue and I only got to see my brain when I was 17 although I was diagnosed when I was 2.
But along side my cerebral palsy I am a model, actor, writer and filmmaker and I have ambitions and dreams like everybody else.
What is CP and how does it affect you?
There are many types of CP – so I am just going to speak on behalf of what it is like for me.
Essentially my coordination, balance, and stamina are weak. I often get to the point in the day where I need a ‘cup of tea and a sit down.’ This could be after something as simple as walking to the shop. I find walking a challenge at times.
When I’m overtired I can’t really walk in a straight line and my speech gets slurred, also I can’t do basic things like grate cheese or cut veggies , (shoutout to my housemates for preparing my food).
Also, I get bad chronic pain particularly in my legs (that’s where the wheels come in).
But you look normal Abs, are you hurting or being a drama queen?
THE PAIN IS SO BAD. Seriously, it hurts. There have been many times when I have curled up in a pile on the floor, unresponsive like a little sloth whilst I ride out the pain. That’s probably the worst part, and I experience this multiple times a week and even on a daily basis sometimes.
Modelling on photoshoots is a challenge each time because you have to do all sorts of bends and poses. But it’s fun! It’s always been important to me to do whatever you want despite any setbacks – disABILITY init.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I love to party, and guess what, I can still party with CP. I’m just not very good at opening beer bottles.
I am fortunate that over recent years I have found myself able to wear small platform high heels – a BIG achievement for me because I used to wear special walking shoes back in my baby days. I have got some weird looks, especially when two days later I’m cruising in my wheelchair.
The main thing my condition has taught me is to have thick skin. For anyone in a similar boat to me, I am sure you know what I’m talking about.
The look you get when you hop out of your wheelchair to look at something or grab something, or the pictures of you on Facebook partying with your friends, or even the way people speak to you because of your condition.
It’s tough to hear this on a regular basis, but just don’t care what anyone else thinks – if you are comfortable in your own skin then everyone else has no choice but to be comfortable with you too.
The main thing that I wanted to get across in this article – to anyone out there with a disability, or illness – or something that may make you ‘different’ to others – DO WHAT YOU WANT, DON’T LET YOUR CONDITION STOP YOU. YOU ARE FABULOUS AND ALWAYS WILL BE xo.
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Photographer for featured image is Damien J