I am straight up Crip-pled

I am straight up crippled.  It is true.  (I always wondered if I might someday qualify for membership in the Crips as I am crippled, maybe not)  There are many preconceived ideas about us disabled persons so I thought I might bring some enlightenment on the subject through some humorous anecdotes and witty opinions in honor of the recent Ability Awareness Week, a program organized by the Student Disability Services.

First of all, I would like to ask all of you if you are aware of my disability.  Get it?  We’re trying to raise awareness.  I am just joking.  You would have to be legally blind, which is in itself a disability, or completely oblivious to miss the fact that I am disabled.  It is overwhelmingly the first noticeable fact about my personhood, besides maybe my dashing appearance and charming demeanor.

Now, I would like to state that I have been disabled all of my life, which in my opinion makes me a professional.  Due to complications of a Caesarean session, I endured severe brain injuries due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.  Apparently, the brain needs oxygen to operate smoothly.  The doctors diagnosed me with cerebral palsy when I was two years old (they were awfully worried about misdiagnosis and the lawsuits that might ensue, the pansies).  My specific type of CP (cerebral palsy abbreviated) is called Walketh-and-moveth-as-if-intoxicatedeth, a very scientific term probably unfamiliar to most of you unscientific types.  If this term is too much, just call it Pimp Walk Syndrome. 

Much of my childhood was pretty average except that my development was a tad bit slower than your regular Joe the Plumber.  I wasn’t potty trained until age four which is around the time I began to walk confidently without a walker.  Don’t worry.  I am potty trained now at least any time I am not in a pool (I have a tendency to revert when immersed in water).  In elementary school, I had difficulty buttoning my pants which meant that most days I would just hold it until 3:30 (quite painful at times).  Then I discovered my friends could help me button my pants which gave me a unique excuse to invite a friend to the bathroom (sorry if that sounds weird) which meant we could skip some class while goofing off.  Also, I fell so often that I am expert at falling.  I know how to fall in such a way that inflicts the least amount of pain.

Junior high was rough on me (who is it not rough on? So much insecurity and hormones).  I was a sports fanatic who wanted to play so badly.  Unfortunately I could not.  I became very embittered and angry at God that I would be disabled.  Why me?  My younger brother hated sports and just loved to read, why not him?  (I know this sounds horrid, but it was true and horrid)  I also began to think that my disability might affect my relationships with girls.  What girl would want to date a guy who has trouble chewing with his mouth closed and who randomly spazzes out squeezing his fingers through the Styrofoam cup as Dr. Pepper spills all over himself?

By the grace of God, I reached a certain degree of resolution in high school.  I could be an angry bitter person for the rest of my life or I could accept the fact that I was disabled and that was it.  I also began to see it as a blessing in some ways.  You see, really all of us are disabled in some way, whether relationally, psychologically, mentally, or emotionally.  Mine is an obvious disability.  There is no hope for me to hide my insecurities or weakness because I just can’t.  Everyone who sees me knows my weakness.  This has given me a degree of emotional honesty and openness that is rare for a college-aged male.  Therefore, I am very aware of my dependence on others and foundationally on Christ.  God is very much the strength in my weakness.

Besides my upbringing under the teaching of my parents, my disability serves as the foremost foundation of my faith.  I absolutely am desperate for healing, purpose, and redemption.  My heart holds to a hope for a day when Christ will make everything right and there will be no more disabilities, no more illness, selfishness, wars, or any other maladies plaguing our world.  And I will have one sweet resurrected body. When I get that new body, I promise I will beat you if we happen to race.  There are still times that the great deceiver comes to tell me that I am broken, messed up, and no one could love such damaged goods.  It is at this time that I have to remind myself of the truth.  I am broken and messed up yet I am the image of the Invisible and there is One who loves me always.  It is in this relationship with the Eternal God of Jacob through the sacrifice of Christ that defines my identity and not my disability.

In conclusion, I would just like to encourage everyone to acknowledge that really everyone is disabled in a way and the more honest we are about our weakness the better.  You need my help just as much as I need yours.  This is the meaning and purpose of community.

Do not pity me just because you see that I have a disability.  It is okay to ask if I need help because, boy, do I need lots of help.  Especially when transporting liquids without lids.  Do not pity me though.  I have a Savior and Healer.  I do not need any pity.  I have been and will be healed.  Don’t you worry about me.  Also, know that life is not fair.  Please do not be sucked into the dangerous narcissism believing that the world has somehow wronged you.  Get over yourself.  This is essential to happiness in life.  Also, we are not all equal except that we are all disabled in and by our humanity and all have a desperate need for an unconditional love and a hope of redemption.

Thank you to all my friends that help and put up with me and forget at times that I am physically disabled. You are greatly appreciated.

Thank you to all of my professors here at WT for always making such an effort to accommodate me and my disability.

Thank you to Student Disability Services for all of their services and patience with me even when I show up with paperwork for tests on the day of the test.

Thank you to Residential Living who did not discriminate against me when they hired me but has given me every opportunity for personal development and achievement.  And thank you for the grace offered when I fail and patience when I am perpetually disorganized.

Thank you to my parents for raising me with high expectations and without excuses and for pointing me to Great Healer and Lover of my Soul.

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