I’ve had cerebral palsy since birth. Epilepsy came along like a sweet li’l Christmas package quite early in my childhood.I’m incredibly used to the awkwardly imposed questions, the adorable stares from curious children; all of it. My life is an open book because -let’s face it, shall we – you cannot have disabilities such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy and not learn that you either answer the questions or live without transparent interaction with other humans. If you choose privacy, all of your friends constantly have that annoying question, “what happens when…?” every day of every year. These questions make sense when they’re something like, “What happens when you burn yourself and don’t feel it?” That makes sense. But when the question is, “What happens when I touch your right hand? Is your, um, disease(??) contagious.” (To which, if you’re anything like me, you bite down hard on your tongue and pray even harder that your frustration doesn’t scare the people away.) You learn to get all the curiosity out of the way as quickly as you can. You have a life to live. You need to live it in peace. You won’t have much peace when every conversation is started with a question about your body… Especially females. Females get very, very testy when all you do is ask them questions about their bodies. This does not change just because something is visibly “special.”
I have learned to make people laugh with all of my “blessings.” When I was given the chance to become a brain surgery patient, I learned to sarcastically call my 12 inch scar the “brain cavern.” When the brain surgeries didnt cure the epilepsy, I was implanted with a pacemaker-like device. Little children were encouraged to believe it was a hollow bone. Depending on the innocence level of the little girls especially, sometimes that didnt go so well. If anyone out there is implanted with a Vegal Nerve Stimulator- please learn from my mistake. Do NOT use the “hollow bone” line during church. The screams don’t bode well with the invitation. I learned that quickly. (I should probably include that I let her flick the pacemaker… And the noise set her off. Bad idea. Really bad idea. That’s a disabled-person no-no.)
In 20-some-odd years, I have learned to make people laugh. I have not, however, mastered the skill of making myself laugh when there is no audience. Today, my mom was the audience, but she misunderstood the situation. Not a big deal, but my sarcasm took over in order to help me figure out how to get past the ordeal. It wasn’t life altering, but it was so blood-boiling annoying that instead of God whispering, “Laugh Darlin’. This doesn’t effect your eternal security. You’re okay. Just laugh.” He had to scream it. Here’s what happened.
I am currently in transition from living alone in Kenai for the past 7 years. I’m headed to Indiana to pursue my career and believed calling as a writer. During that transition period, I’m living with my amazing parents. I love them. They love me. Somedays, they have to make themselves believe it more than others. Today was one of those days. You don’t randomly put 3 adults in one house and expect it to always be smooth sailing.
You wouldn’t think this would be a moment when cerebral palsy reared its adorable little head, but it did. And I was reminded -once again – that when I’m distracted, my li’l split personality otherwise known as Cerebral Palsy, gets to take over. Normal people don’t realize the multitasking people with cerebral palsy have to do. At any moment in time, I can be talking about something very deep with you and constantly mentally giving my right side (effected side) instructions. “Stay still. Don’t move. Loosen up. No, don’t touch that strange woman’s hair. Stay behind my back so the dude doesn’t think you’re being fresh. Just BEHAVE . Standing still is a lot of work.
So, this morning when my mother came down stairs to smooth the waters, she distracted me from giving my right hand “instructions” on how to behave when I was putting on my makeup. When she called my name, my right hand saw its chance. It could take control!!! Yaaaaaay!
Instantly, it broke free of being “at attention” and cleared the vanity of everything in its way. Everything. Mom decided she’d startled me and sweetly apologized. As she apologized my right arm started vibrating. Medically and technically, it’s because the muscles are very tight, so when it exerts itself, it gets tired quickly. My imagination saw its vibration differently. I could just “hear” it saying,
“Look Mama! I’m helping. See! I can move things just like the other arm! Oh! Oh! Oh! Aren’t you proud?!” I compared it to my parents’ li’l Boston Terrier and how her butt vibrates when she thinks she’s being good and cute. Except this wasn’t a dog’s issue. This was an arm’s issue. My arm, to be exact. No, I wasn’t proud of it. No, I wasn’t startled. I was trying to appear like a normal woman. And that was just simply not the case.
Laugh anyway, Darlin’. You weren’t meant to be normal. You were meant to give glory to God. Why, oh why, would you want to gyp yourself of such joy. God smiled broadly this morning as He muttered to Himself, ‘She’s mine… She is so incredibly MINE.” Why would you want to take that away from your Lord?
Laugh. Your arm is a Godsend.