Living With A Disability: My Story
I am from a small, quiet town in Massachusetts. For many years, this tiny piece of the world and its people sheltered me from what existed beyond it. Growing up, I rarely experienced being bullied for my appearance and was lucky enough to have friends who came to my defense if I had been. Some days, it truly felt like I had an army by my side. Unfortunately, no such army could ever protect me from the many other days when living with Dwarfism would be a hard pill to swallow.
For as long as I can remember, I have always known to an extent that I was different from the average person. This knowledge took form for the first time at five years old when I was told that I would have to leave dance class. I could no longer participate as it was not safe. Suddenly, I was being treated like a fragile entity that had the potential to shatter at the touch. I did not realize it then, but the hospital would eventually become my home away from home.
I am now twenty-three and breakable as ever. After countless visits to the doctor, accompanied by medical procedures intended to help improve my condition, it seems like I am back where I began: in the same ballet shoes, worn by the little girl who is struggling to make sense of what is happening to her. I look back on my past and still wonder how the hell I managed to overcome the challenges I have faced due to my disability.
What made me brave enough to endure surgery after surgery? Where did the courage to pick myself up after every fall that I had in public come from? How was I able to turn the other cheek every single time someone stared at me? Then, I remember the faces of my own little army. The few, special people who have continued to stay by my side after all of these years. The ones who never left me despite my limitations. They have held my hand, wiped away my tears and encouraged me to keep climbing every mountain.