I Refuse To Give Up.

I+Refuse+To+Give+Up.

Kendra Turley, Online Manager

At first glance, I look very much like a normal teenage girl. Blue eyes and brown hair. Combat boots, a sweatshirt, and jeans. Very simple and average.

Besides having an endless love for books, Marvel movies, The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, there is one specific thing that sets me apart from the rest of my peers.

I have a mild case of cerebral palsy.

The doctor said that because of my mild case of CP, I would have trouble doing things like “getting out of a canoe”. My parents didn’t really know what that meant until I moved past infancy and was a toddler. I took longer to learn how to walk. It took me a while to learn how to ride a bike. I was the kid in the neighborhood who still, to this day, cannot ride a Ripstik or skateboard. I can sure as heck teach it, but riding it? Absolutely not.

I think that this is perhaps one of the many reasons I never got into sports. Because of my CP, it takes me longer to learn a new motor skill. I may not be in a wheelchair, but it still is a struggle.

To be honest, most days I don’t even think about the fact that I have a disability. It’s so mild that it usually doesn’t interfere with my day-to-day activities in life. Simple things like walking down the school hallway, or going up the stairs – those are perfectly fine. It’s certain activities, like riding a bike, a scooter, skateboard, or even something like kayaking – those are the things that take me longer to learn.

I don’t feel like I have something wrong with me until I have a situation in which I have to use my legs for more than walking. If I’m on a paddle boat on a lake, and I’m trying to jump onto the back, it’s going to take me longer to hoist myself onto the watercraft than it might take, say, my brother. My legs get shaky, my knees feel weak, and I become nervous at the idea of entering or exiting the paddle boat. Balancing on a kayak is nerve wracking too, as I usually start to fear the idea of falling in or injuring myself in some way on the dock.

To be honest, it’s more frustrating than scary. For example, there was a time during my junior year, when, at the homecoming bonfire, my friends and I were all trying to jump up and sit on the spirit rock. When it was my turn to go, I jumped, and immediately slid back down the rock. I tried again, and couldn’t make it. I braced my hands on the rock, pushed up, and attempted to swing myself up onto it. And I still failed yet again. I spent the rest of the evening standing off to the side, watching as my friends were able to accomplish something so simple and easy that I should’ve been able to do.

But that isn’t something that has stopped me from doing what I love. Chaperoning an adventure to downtown Ada for ice cream with the neighbor kids requires biking up and down several hills. Going to the cottage and spending a day on the lake requires kayaking and getting in and out of boats. It might take me a bit longer to get up those hills, or to get in and out of that kayak, but I can still do that.

I haven’t let my slight disability stop me, and I won’t. I won’t let something so small stand in my way of doing something that I enjoy. I will not allow it to stop me from spending time and having fun with the people I love. I refuse to be blocked by this obstacle.

I refuse to give up.