What Will 24 Bring?

Today is my 24th birthday. Life has been an interesting journey so far. I live thousands of miles away from where I was born in Kolkata, India. It is one of India’s largest cities, home to millions of people. I came home to America on June 29, 2000. To me, Massachusetts will always be home.

I wonder about who brought me into the world. I wonder what they would think of me if they saw me today on my 24th birthday. Do they wonder where I am in the world? Would they remember me as a newborn baby? How much do I look like them? These are all questions that are never too far from my mind.

My life hasn’t been without its hard times. Overall, I have had a wonderful life. I’ve been blessed to have a fantastic family. I have been surrounded by loving people my whole life. My aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins have always been there for me. Because my parents adopted me, I have had the pleasure of being an older sister for the past 19 years too.

Both of my moms have always been there for me. They were the ones who took me to St. Louis for my Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy in 2005, outpatient PT appointments, doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, and Children’s Hospital Boston.

My moms were my biggest advocate growing up as well. They called insurance companies, talked to doctors, and wrote letters. As a child, I was grateful that I didn’t have to do that by myself. As a disabled person, it is very overwhelming to advocate for yourself.

The past year has been very exciting for me. I switched to a new antidepressant medication which has improved my mental health greatly. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write two articles for different nonprofit organizations this summer.

Unfortunately, the last year has also been filled with bureaucratic hurdles. I’ve had to deal with health insurance, the local community college, and the Social Security Administration. For many disabled people, advocacy can be a long, emotional process.

At the same time, I am grateful that I’ve met many excellent teachers, doctors, PCAs, and therapists. They don’t give up on me, which means more than they know. The devotion they’ve all shown me over the years hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I am excited to see what the 24th year of my life will bring. While I still have bad days, I feel much better than I used to. I can’t wait to see what new experiences await me this year.

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