How Cerebral Palsy Affects How I View Myself Within My Family:

When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember the jealousy I felt towards my peers who could get their driver’s licenses. I wanted to be just like everyone else. However, as more and more of my peers started to drive, I noticed something. Whenever they would talk about having to drive their younger siblings around or do errands for their household, they acted like it was an inconvenience. I never understood this. I wanted to be able to drive my sibling around if they needed to go somewhere. I wouldn’t have minded running errands for my parents. The way I see it, my parents have devoted so much of their lives to raising me that the least I can do is help them out.

Now that I’m living on my own, I gladly run errands for my family and friends when I’m out. When I can get some groceries for someone or pick up medicine because someone isn’t feeling well, it makes me feel like I am helpful. I usually need help more often than not. So, it is nice to be helpful every time someone asks me to do errands or a favor. I take pride in helping out my loved ones.

My whole life, I have always felt like a burden to my family. They always helped me. My family has always been there for me. Now that I am older, it feels good to be able to help my family out. Even if it’s just getting milk or deli meat from Stop and Shop, it still gives me a sense of satisfaction. When my peers began to be able to work part-time jobs, I wanted to do this too. However, I didn’t just want to do it so that I could save money. I wanted to be able to contribute to my household.

Although I have never held a paying job, I still enjoy helping my loved ones. When it comes to Christmas and birthday presents, I like to spend time picking out thoughtful gifts for each person. I want to cater gifts to their interests. I want people to know that even though I have Cerebral Palsy and may not be able to contribute in traditional ways, I still care about them.

2 comments

  1. I’m so sorry you know this feeling so well. I can relate.

    Growing up, my siblings used to be asked to do a certain chore — even the younger ones — but I was never asked. I always wanted to be. Because I wanted to feel like I belonged.

    One day, when I was a teenager, I was finally asked to do the chore and I was so over the moon.

    Which…it’s one of those things that can feel like, “Oh, that’s cute.” Or it can feel like, “Whoa. How sad that I was so desperate for acceptance within my own family.

    But I feel like a lot of disabled people out there can also relate.

    1. I remember being elated whenever I would do chores or do something independently even if it took a long time. One time I was able to change my shirt on my own after spilling yogurt on it. I am still proud of that whenever I think about it.

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