I’m an author, poet living with cerebral palsy (CP). When I read this disability poem by Marty Gregoire, who also thrives with CP, — and is the founder of Footsteps of WNY, an organization that provides charitable assistance to individuals with cerebral palsy — it really spoke to me.
Benefits of Writing Poetry
There are many benefits to writing poetry. The cathartic experience allows us to share feelings about a particular topic. Plus, words have the power to connect, inspire and change others in a positive way. Poetry also helps develop perspective and empathy, both of which are very important when dealing with anyone who is different from us in any way.
The Pain of Perceptions
Physical Appearance Doesn’t Tell the Truth
It’s easy to judge a person’s appearance. Since a disability like cerebral palsy is usually visible, our true essence gets lost. We are bullied, mocked and teased. Even though we do things differently, we are highly capable. In addition, we want to laugh, love and share our unique gifts with the world — just like everyone else. More importantly, we don’t want to be seen as being ‘less than.’
‘I AM’ is a powerful disability poem. It addresses the pain of perceptions. It challenges society to love us for who we are. Most of all, it promotes acceptance. Declaring ‘I AM!’ is the first step to shattering perceptions. Let’s define who we are, pursue our dreams and unleash the greatness within.
Call to Action
So, as ‘I AM’ vividly describes, living with a disability isn’t always easy. It hurts when people don’t get to know us. As a result, we feel alone, misunderstood and unaccepted. What can we do to change how society views us? How has others’ perception of you impacted your life? Share your thoughts below.