I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I wish I could hide my CP. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I tried to hide it, and did a pretty bad job at it. I’d also be lying if I said I could hid it 100% of the time, if I’m walking around you definitely know something is up even if you don’t know it’s CP, usually people think MS or ALS. I have a better chance of hiding it if I’m sitting down or if I’m in my wheelchair, but even then the wheelchair is a dead giveaway of some sort of disability, although people usually assume paralysis.
CP is the most common motor disorder among children but it’s not the most common disability people assume. I don’t even think I need both hands to count the number of times someone has directly asked me if I have Cerebral Palsy.
In his book (Someone Like Me) John W. Quinn tells all about how he hid the fact that he has CP throughout his life, including his 20 year Naval career; an impressive feat considering life aboard ship(s) can be challenging even for the able bodied.
I commend John for being able to keep his CP a secret for so long, especially since it’s physically exhausting (for me) to try and hide my CP for even a few minutes.
However it appears that not everyone shares my sentiments:
Howd u hide it sir? @johnwquinn said “it would take a book to answer that.” Do u realize ur slappin ppl in the face who can’t hide our CP?
— Amanda (@JourneyWithCP) October 9, 2014
I get the point and understand the frustration. Someone can do something you can’t. It can be frustrating to admit that you need help do something, and even more so when you can’t do it no matter how much help you have.
However I don’t really find it insulting (or inspirational for that matter). It’s just how one person’s life has played out thus far.
I think we can all agree that it’s not a good idea to keep secrets or hide anything about yourself as a general rule. But aren’t there exceptions? Should there be? Not everything needs to be disclosed all of the time, and sometimes full disclosure can result in being laughed right out the door (as would’ve been the case if John had disclosed his CP & even he admits that he would’ve loved to be honest with everyone every step of the way).
Let’s not ignore the fact that keeping a secret (or many) takes a toll on a person on so many levels that it’s not really ideal to keep them if you can help it. Basically even if you can “hide” something you’re not really that lucky, each decision has its consequences (good and bad).
Contrary to the cliché the grass isn’t always greener on the other side so next time you see what someone’s done as insulting consider what they’re doing to themselves instead of what they’re doing to you and others.