brain damage, Cerebral Palsy, Cher, childproof, choreoathetosis, confident, CP, crutches, disability, disabled, fine motor skills, health, hobble, Jeannie Bueller, muscle contractions, neurological, neurological condition, Palsy, physical manifestations, pigeon toed, sense of equilibrium, Spashionista, spastic, Spaz, speech impediment, wheelchair
This could take a while. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be politically correct, either.
Cerebral Palsy is one of the most difficult disabilities to explain, categorize, or physically overcome by just talking about it. There are several types of CP and each runs the gamut in terms of severity. In a nutshell, what you need to know is that we’re talking about a neurological condition caused by brain damage that results in limitations and/or spasticity in motor skills. It can also affect sight, speech and intellect. Although it’s a condition, not a disease, it can exacerbate other issues as you age. If you really want to know more the Mayo Clinic website has a good overview.
To be honest with you I only got a tap from the Palsy Faerie’s Wand O’ Spaz. My intellect is intact (yup, there’s the setup. Insert joke here). and I only have a slight speech impediment. My vision is so poor without my glasses I would need a guide dog. Movement is where it gets interesting. I can walk but my gait is very unsteady. Think two year old with a drinking problem.
As a result of my superior sense of equilibrium I hobble around the house, use crutches when I’m out in my yard, and a wheelchair to maneuver the rest of the world. My feet also turn inward involuntarily – as opposed to with my consent.
I have trouble with what they call “fine motor skills”. Things like fastening buttons, writing, opening childproof packages. My left hand is much worse than my right. In fact, it’s practically useless and it usually sits in “Cher” position when I’m stumbling through the house.
Then there are the facial ticks. I look like I’m lip-synching a kung-fu movie.
The cherry on this sundae is the choreoathetosis, which is the involuntary random twisting and muscle contractions that make me twitch. Put it all together and you get…moi.
This is the package I have to wrap in such a way that it distracts from the distraction that is my disability. Not an easy trick. But I am so lucky that I can put my best foot forward…er, best face forward…best cleavage forward? What I want to convey clearly to you, esteemed Spashionistas, is this. When I leave my house and interact with other people I am doing so in the name of all of those with CP who can’t speak for themselves. Whether I like it or not I am a representation of my disability first and foremost. If I can get people to see past the Palsy with me then they are more likely to do so with the next disabled person they meet. I can also get them to admire my overwhelming fabulousness and join me on my quest to look as good on the outside as we know we are on the inside.
And to those that look away, that look past me, that see this as a joke? In the words of Jeannie Bueller, “Screw ‘em”.