When your neurologist tells you, at 14,
that you have cerebral palsy,
thank her for giving you the long-awaited answer
to the problem you couldn’t name.
When you later realize that the diagnosis came 13 years too late,
do not spend all of your sixth period advanced algebra math class
wondering why you weren’t sick enough to detect wrongness earlier.
It wasn’t until early college, or late high school,
that the topic of driving came up.
Specifically, the details around the conversation
of whether or not it was actually possible.
When your neurologist tells you
that she has “concerns” about the possibility
of you learning how to drive because of the tremors
in your body that you can’t control, like miniature earthquakes
that threaten your way of life, take her seriously.
Do not think yourself invincible because you have no need to drive yet.
Do not let the anxiety of being chauffeured for the foreseeable future
prevent you from taking life-giving breaths in a room
full of white-washed walls and foreign terminology.
Do not let the annual MRIs, CAT scans, and EKGs
rob you of your humanity, your presentness.
Do not let cerebral palsy be an excuse not to reach for higher,
even if you have to use a step ladder or cradle
momentarily in the arms of friends and strangers to get there.
Written: May 8, 2017
I am not a social butterfly, but you took me under your wings and, for a time, made me feel like I could soar. I know that’s cliché, especially considering all the future pain you would cause, but for a little while, it was true. By watching you, I learned to live in the present moment, a gift that I don’t think I could have received otherwise. You made me laugh and smile, but you also taught me things I never should have known. I almost want to puke thinking about it. The effects you have had on my life are devastating and vile. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be afraid to go to sleep because of nightmares and flashbacks? Or how many minutes, hours, days you have to spend reminding yourself that you are, in actuality, safe in your own bed instead of with the one who betrayed, sexually groomed, and broke you? Do you want to know how often I wake up in the middle of the night terrified because I still feel your breath on my neck and your arms around my waist? Or how it feels to be a woman in a sea full of potential rapists? Though you did not rape me, and I’m glad you didn’t, you still broke me in every way and violated what little trust I did have in men. I know that not every man is like you, but to have to keep reminding myself of that fact is daunting, draining. Though my faith fail me at times, I know that God will be with me in the quiet moments, in the moments when I lash out at my family and friends in anger and frustration for reasons they can’t understand, in the moments when I feel so broken and unlovable that I wish for death, and in the moments when I can see glimmers of hope and recovery and grace. You didn’t steal everything from me. I still have the capacity for fierce, strong love and a mighty pen to fight with because, as we all know, the pen is mightier than the sword. This has been a long battle and it’s not over yet. I’ll live to wage war another day. I’ll still seek to find beauty in the midst of pain.
A Slytherin Warrior