“You are inspirational.” Those words you may, depending on your cerebral palsy, remain acquainted with or know well. There exists a correlation between inspiration and cerebral palsy. Well, disability in general.
While my peers in the CP community likely realize where I am going with this, I imagine able-bodied readers thinking “Nice! You’re inspirational.” Yeah… maybe based off the “inspirational” compliment’s context. That right there proves key, context.
Behind the seemingly innocent compliment lurk dark implications. Ones documented through various mediums. During the ABC sitcom Speechless’ pilot episode the show hints at said implications. Then with the book title I’m Not Here to Inspire You, you bet author Rob J. Quinn addresses the issue.
Admittedly asking you to read a book before resuming my post stands impractical. Although I recommend you checkout I’m Not Here to Inspire You sometime. Meanwhile for your viewing pleasure I embedded Stella Young’s 2014 TedxSydney talk. She exposes the deep under layers to the “inspirational” compliment.
My First Time
Growing up I tried hiding my cerebral palsy. A task made possible by my CP’s mildness. After all, you can dismiss a limp easier than a walker or wheelchair. Mainly I acted in a way to discourage others from asking questions. Not until college did I find the courage to open up.
Hence logically my first time receiving the “inspirational” compliment came in college. A professor very familiar with me spoke the words. I remember feeling taken back. “Me? Inspirational?”
Actually the moment helped motivate me to write Off Balanced. I may not consider myself inspirational, but perhaps someone else will draw inspiration. Judging by the Amazon and Barnes & Noble customer reviews, I chose wisely.
Enough shameless plugging! Returning to the topic, in August 2015 I started increasingly encountering the phrase “You are inspirational.” The increase coincided along my journey into road races. I heard the praise during 5ks. When posting updates about my half marathon training, comments echoing the sentiment filled my social media pages. If you research athletes with cerebral palsy, you should note my experiences amongst a trend.
Give Me an “I!”
Now give me a “N.” Kidding! I am not going to cheer you into spelling “inspirational.” Instead I am clueing you in on the just peachy tone earmarked for athletes with CP. A tone everyone reacts to in his or her own unique way.
Sure, you will discover similarities within the reactions. Responses differ too, though. These emotions enter center stage in my Youtube video, “Cerebral Palsy Fitness Round Table: Talking Inspiration.”
The video begins a four-part series featuring highlights from a round table discussion. Personal trainer Daryl Perry and former college football player Brandon Ramey joined me to talk living actively with CP. Brandon offers his perspective on a newspaper article touting him inspirational for playing football. Daryl recalls his first experiences at a gym. Watch below!
Today’s post contained sources spotlighting various outlooks on the “You are inspirational” compliment. You viewed Stella Young’s 2014 TedxSyndney talk. You possess future reading courtesy I’m Not Here to Inspire You by Rob J. Quinn.
Plus you listened to Daryl Perry, Brandon Ramey, and I provide our insights. However the more opinions collected, the more credibility gained. So, who else could contribute?
Oh, oh. Idea! YOU! Leave a comment sharing an instance you dealt with the “inspirational” compliment. What led to the remark? How did you feel? Once finished commenting share the post with someone else and keep the dialogue rolling.
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