A Love Letter to My Brain With Cerebral Palsy #rwanda #RwOT #AdvanceHBDPawanKalyan

Dear Brain,

I know it’s ironic that I’m using you to type this, whilst also addressing you directly. But please, just roll with it! We have 24 years of history to unpack here, and since it’s Disability Awareness Month, it feels prudent to have this heart-to-heart (or brain-to-brain) at this time.

My relationship with you is a complicated one. On one level, you keep me alive each and every second of the day and I literally couldn’t be writing this letter without you. On another level, you make my life unnecessarily complicated due to having cerebral palsy, and that’s not really that helpful of you, if I’m honest.

Having spastic diplegia means many things for me. Sometimes, it means I walk with a limp and at a much slower pace than others. Other times, it means I can’t walk at all due to pain and/or exhaustion after participating in very little activity, if any. Brain, your damaged parts are the reason why I have cerebral palsy. That has been the source of a lot of my resentment for you over the course of my life up until this point. I have resented you for the pain, the lack of energy, the isolation from my peers, my limitations throughout my academic life, and a plethora of other unpleasant factors and experiences.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Our CP Journey group on The Mighty mobile app. Click to join.

However, despite all of this, this letter isn’t inspired by resentment — it’s inspired by love. Brain, you’ve caused me a lot of grief in the time I’ve spent with you, but you’ve also given me a lot of reasons to love you immeasurably.

It’s because of you that my heart — your fellow organ — is so big! Having cerebral palsy has given me a view of the world that few others have. From this perspective, I have learned to see all people as equals, regardless of who they are. I believe I hold less judgment towards others because of my disability, and that it has taught me to see the value in all humans, with no specific focus on physical or intellectual capabilities.

You have also given me perseverance. When I was little, my parents were told the chances of me learning to walk were not guaranteed due to the nature of my disability. My fight to secure the skill of walking (with the support of my wonderful parents!) was made possible because you’ve never given up on this body of ours. For you, no hurdle is too big or too complicated to circumvent. After every knock-down, you pick me up and give me new ideas on how to face the challenges life seems so fond of throwing at me. Because of your flaws, I have learned to put my strongest foot forward during every trial.

Although you’re not in the best condition physically, your mental capabilities are what give me strength! It’s with you that I hope to change the world one day, and that could only be possible because of your tenacity. Your ability to organize words has proven to be my greatest skill: the skill I hope to use in order to improve the lives of others.

Finally, I am most grateful for what your uniqueness has given to my family. I stand in strength and solidarity with them because of you. The pain I have endured on my journey with you is a pain we have felt as a collective. Those pains brought me closer to my parents and siblings, especially my older brother, whose brain has given him many more mountains to climb than you’ve ever given me.

Brain, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for keeping me alive, and for making me who I am today.


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