As I am getting older, I am becoming more aware of the stereotypes that people make when initially meeting me. When it comes to stereotypes, I have mixed feelings, I don’t hate the fact that I get judged because that’s just part of life and everyone gets judged regardless of having a disability or not. But its the fact that the judgement comes from such of a little understanding! Now that I’m 3 months into NSTP I’ve made it clear that I ’embrace being disabled’- (a bit of a cliché) and I will never not want to be disabled because without Cerebral Palsy I would be a different person (and another). However, sometimes I can’t help to think that if my disability wasn’t at the forefront of everything I do would the judgements not be as common?
For example, as previously mentioned my CP is pretty visible due to my walking and my speech difficulties, so therefore without knowing me or anything about CP its still prominent that I am disabled. Which is fine, this blog is not about being negative it’s just about making people aware that even though I don’t get down about the stereotypes it still doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. With my disability being so prominent judgements are certainly more common and people do perceive me in a different light, and this can be frustrating. I know this has always happened and is always going to happen and even though my disability makes up a big part of my personality there still aspects of my personality that isn’t taken over by my disability. So, I always wonder that if my disability wasn’t so prominent would this fraction of my personality come through more?
I am an ordinary 19-year-old that likes to go out with my friends, I know I have to be careful in the nightclubs due to my epilepsy; I can still have a good night. In the nightclub, stereotypes tend to happen the most and people tend to think that you’re ‘drunk’ or ‘high’. Due to these remarks, I feel the need to explain myself, which I know I should never feel the need to justify myself; I would rather people know my situation then think I’m high. The judgement about my CP after I’ve explained doesn’t get to me because I know that this can be a completely new situation to people and quite frankly if you can’t get over it, I’m not bothered. It’s just the presumption of I’m staggering in a club so I must be high or drunk!
This second assumptions it the one that gets some the most, so apologies if I’ve already mentioned this but it’s something that’s been happening for the last 3 years and to be honest I’m not sure that this assumption will ever disappear. At college I studied A-level maths so when I got asked what I studied I would just say maths and straight away people assumed that I was resitting GCSE maths. Therefore to stop people from assuming I would say A-level maths but then you still get the comments like ‘even I couldn’t do that’. This is because people see the way that I present myself and just automatically think that I have a learning disability and sometimes explaining that you don’t have a significant learning disability can feel like losing the battle.
Due to my CP causing mental fatigue I do have slight learning difficulties and I’m not denying that; my learning difficulties just mean that it takes me a little longer to read or write a piece of text that’s all. But still, stereotypes are made and I can’t do anything about this, for the time being, which I accept; on the other hand, there’s a part of me thinking its 2019! Why is it a big deal that I’m going on a night out? Why is it a shock that I studied A-level maths? I’m not writing this blog to show you how amazing I am and to show you what I can do in spite of my disability, I’m writing this blog to show you that I’m just an ordinary 19-year-old. I’m aware that the perception of my disability will probably never change. Does it mean that I just sit back and do nothing? No, because then how will they ever know if they’re not shown? We’re all human we all make judgements that’s life but instead of just ignoring judgements and blocking them lets face them! I’m not saying start world war 3, I’m saying just question them because no one will get anywhere without questioning! We all get feelings that can’t be helped but we will never be able to dig the root of the feeling up if we don’t let it be found.
Thank you for reading, have a lovely Easter weekend!