Cerebral palsy (CP) impacts confidence. Enter into evidence last week’s live CP Twitter chat #CPChatNow. The discussion featured probing questions to make us think deeply about the overarching question “Are you thankful for your cerebral palsy?”
One probing question asked “How would your life be different without cerebral palsy?” Quickly the answers flowed in. “CP has made me kind of shy.” “Definitely more confident.” Self-consciousness came up. Man, all these comments described my experiences through high school. Ironic since my 10-year high school reunion remained three days away.
Emotions flooded me as I read the #CPChatNow tweets. Relief set in knowing I no longer let CP impair my confidence. Desire to heal others’ confidence issues emerged. Excitement to attend my reunion bubbled up.
Poor self-esteem really places a heavy burden on you. I never asked a girl out in high school because I thought “Who wants someone who can’t even stay on his own two feet?”
When my friend Sami invited me to the Cleveland Auto Show sophomore year I went. However, I did not enjoy the event fully. I struggled to keep up with Sami and our other friend Brad. Rather than asking them to slow down, I let embarrassment keep me silent.
Learning to free myself from negative self-talk and embarrassment provided tremendous relief. In a way my past poor self-esteem imprisoned me. Confidence gave me the rock hammer I needed to escape.
After escaping my self-imposed prison I felt a desire. I wanted to help anyone else who felt like me. Hence the main reason I wrote my memoir Off Balanced. Life remains too short to wallow in self-pity.
Making the transition to confident individual brings to mind an old cliché, “Easier said than done.” Believe me the 180 I performed since high school illustrates that. The process requires you to leave your comfort zone. Another key factor involves time. I dare say maintaining positive self-esteem proves continuous.
Yet even a continuous process necessitates a starting point. For me that starting point arose Monday, June 6th, 2005. High school graduation! There I experienced a realization, an epiphany essentially. By lacking confidence and staying timid I never gave my peers the chance to know the real me.
Ah, now we arrive to last Saturday and my 10-year high school reunion. I saw the night as the opportunity to finally give my peers from a decade ago a chance to know the real Zachary Fenell. Exciting!
Throughout the night I noticed little moments only the real Zachary Fenell could create. I’m talking moments made possible by small behavioral traits. Small behavioral traits but with huge impact! In high school I would keep my eyes on my books to avoid conversing with classmates. At the reunion I actively sought out people.
Off Balanced readers might recall Justin. I share a couple stories about him. At the reunion I told his wife about my old shy and timid ways. Her response went like this. “Really? But you are so outgoing now!”
Thanks to finding my confidence, I am outgoing now. Freed from my self-imposed prison! Oh, the beautiful freedom!
Seriously though, I think everyone should live such a life. Leaving your comfort zone will stir up anxiety. Take deep breaths and go forward. Soon the anxiety will become a reassuring feeling. When you feel anxious, you will know your comfort zone nears a growing spurt.
If you need extra encouragement to leave your comfort zone, read my memoir. I hope my words can serve you the way my high school graduation served me
*Disclaimer- The link to Off Balanced’s Amazon sales page is affiliated with the Amazon LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.