Since today is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to discuss how my disability affects love. It’s difficult for me to see myself as physically attractive as someone with cerebral palsy. I rely on others to assist me in using the restroom and showering. My relationship with my body is a complex one.
I also find it difficult to pursue an intimate relationship with someone. Being intimate with someone is a frightening thought for me. The idea of being that close with someone is hard for me to fathom. Eventually, my romantic partner would probably have to help me take a shower, get dressed, or use the restroom. This is already intimate enough so the idea of doing anything beyond that is scary for me. It’s not easy to need help with getting dressed or taking a shower.
It’s difficult to distinguish between my body’s need for assistance and its attractiveness. Non-disabled individuals are probably less likely to be concerned about burdening their partners. Ableism has made me feel unworthy of a relationship for most of my life. What if I needed to go to the hospital or have surgery? Would my partner be okay with it, or would they want to leave me?
Cerebral Palsy means that I often don’t do things the same way as other people might. People with disabilities express their love for others in a variety of ways. The ways that I express love and care for people might not be the way most people do, but it does not mean that my expressions of love are any less important or valued.
If I were in a romantic relationship I’d try to be as helpful as I could. I enjoy going grocery shopping. I’d help my partner buy groceries and look up recipes to make. I’d help make travel arrangements if we went on a trip. If they needed me to research home improvement projects, I’d do this too. I enjoy doing research. If my partner were ill, I would help them arrange grocery delivery or go to the pharmacy. Hopefully, in the future, this will be good enough for my partner.
Writing is one of my passions. I love to take my passion and use it to make other people feel loved. I often spend a long time crafting individual poems and cards for people I love. I usually decorate the poems with graphics and quotes that match the occasion and the recipient’s interests. It doesn’t matter to me how long it takes to make one. I always feel a sense of immense pride and joy when I finish one.
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. Disabled people are worthy of love and deserve to feel cherished and valued even if they can’t do everything a non-disabled partner can.