All of my life, I have felt like a burden to everyone around me. In particular, I have always felt like a burden to my family. My family members have always helped me. I’ve always wanted to be able to help my family as much as they’ve helped me.
When my classmates started working part-time jobs in high school, I wanted to join them. I didn’t want to work just to save money. I wanted to be able to help support my family. I wanted to be able to give some money to my parents. My parents worked so hard to raise their two children. I wanted to be able to help them out.
I often feel like a burden to other people in my life as well. Occasionally, I worry that my PCA sees me as a burden. There are times when I choose not to go out because I don’t want him to have to drive me all over town. Instead of going out to a restaurant, I’ll eat at home so that he doesn’t have to take me out to eat. Rather than going to the movie theater, I’ll watch a movie at home. I already feel bad enough that my PCA provides around-the-clock assistance. If I need to go to the bathroom at midnight, he’s the one who helps me.
I depend on other people to help me every single day. I worry that my needs are too much for people. I’ve had countless friends leave me over the years. Every time this happens, I wonder if Cerebral Palsy was the reason why they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. By the time I was in high school, I’d given up on making new friends.
I am 22-years-old and have become introverted as time has passed. These days, I spend most of my time at my apartment with my roommate. Occasionally, another friend will come over to visit. Sometimes I wonder if people don’t want to get to know me because they think it is not worth the effort. This is especially true when it comes to employment. People often don’t want to interview me when they find out that I am disabled. Cerebral Palsy doesn’t mean that I am unable to work. It is hard to get potential employers to understand this.
Disabled people aren’t a burden. We are constantly trying to figure out how to fit into a world that wasn’t designed for us. It is exhausting when you have to prove your worth. Everybody is worthy and offers something to the world.