Awkward moments, everyone encounters them. For people with cerebral palsy that remains especially true. Walking differently or using a mobility device seems to attract the awkwardness. Strangers make oddball remarks or behave peculiarly. Those while awkward moments, I do not plan to focus on today. Instead I wish to address another kind.
This post will examine awkward moments caused by CP related self-consciousness. Situations powered by feeling inadequate. Personally, growing up I felt physically inferior to my peers. Consequently my cerebral palsy embarrassed and frustrated me. To cope I attempted to hide my disability.
Hiding meant avoiding discussing any factors connected to my CP. Subsequently I created awkward moments. In high school freshman year I used a cane. Curious to my peers since previously I never used a mobility device in school.
However most dared not to ask what happened. My past reaction to inquiries about my disability warned them off. Basically a justified question became awkward to ask because my attitude.
Now the cane scenario only represents one example. Additionally I recall a time one year later chatting with friends in homeroom. As I recount in my cerebral palsy memoir Off Balanced.
My physical difficulties still existed as my dark secrets as much as possible. Trip and Rob found this out one winter morning before homeroom. “What’s that on your back?” Trip curiously inquired to me in his thick accent, pointing to a brownish tab sticking out from the top of my long sleeve shirt. “
Oh nothing” escaped my lips before I could think of a plausible explanation. I proceeded to reach back and tuck the brown tape Trip spotted into my shirt. I wore the tape at night to help relieve irritation caused by the swelled pinkish red scar running from the top of my spinal cord to the middle of my back. In the mornings I removed the tape but I obviously forgot to on occasion. My tone must have indicated I didn’t want to discuss the matter because Trip and Rob didn’t call me out on my frivolous “nothing” response.
14 years later I enjoyed the chance to learn Trip’s take. In a conversation recorded for a Youtube video I brought up the memory. Watch Trip give his recollection and expose the truth behind the awkward moment.
Trip’s insights highlight a valuable point, perspective. Coincidentally I emphasize perspective in my memoir’s 10-year high school reunion epilogue. You will find Off Balanced available on the Kindle*, Nook, and any device compatible with the Kindle for Android app*.
With my shameless plug done, shall we refocus? You probably wonder “How do I gain perspective?” The best way to gain perspective also works to discover the truth behind awkward moments. ASK! I sincerely hope my video with Trip will spark others to hold similar conversations.
Actually, forget hope. I challenge you to revisit an old awkward moment with a friend or family member! So tell me. Who do you plan to strike up the dialogue with? Comment below and let me know.
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