I’m a disabled person, handicapped; a freak, an odd one. Call me anything but normal, because I’m not like you at all.
You see, I walk with a limp, and forever can never wear fancy footwear. And that means stylish, elegant clothes are allergic to me. What a shame! But, who cares? It’s not the end of the world, or something. Fact is, it’s not my fault I was born with half of my left foot missing.
Birth defects may be mental or physical. The most common and the most alarming I think, is Congenital Heart Disease. But I won’t talk about that for now.
Most physical defects are easily corrected, especially in childhood. Corrective and plastic surgery can fix the problem; gadgets, and other what-have-you’s can aide the handicapped. With breakthroughs in Medical Science and advances in technology, innovations have tremendously helped the physically challenged lead better lives.
Anyway, growing up with a physical defect haven’t been easy for me. I know firsthand how it is to grow up with something that makes you different from the rest. It’s like taboo; it’s there, it exists; yet, it’s not something that you’re supposed to talk about. Everyday was a struggle; for it meant I had to be out of the house to face people, and limp, limp, limp.
I was miserable each waking hour; I hated everything and everyone especially my parents, whom I blamed for my misfortune. As much as possible, I avoided people. I was too ashamed, inferior, insecure and depressed to be mingling with the “normal” ones. I remember crying a lot at night in self-pity, feeling sorry for my circumstances .
We’ve always been branded as freaks, abnormal, handicapped, disabled, scums of the Earth, scourges from the gods, aliens, even. Heaven knows how much that hurts, the branding. Mockery, discrimination, and social stigma take a great toll on our emotional health. Worst of all, we have to live with the “curse”. It was like a battle for survival that you know you’d never be able to win.
That was then, more than 20 years ago.
For now, I’m starting to embrace myself for what I was, what I am now, and what I am becoming. I now consider my physical anomaly a boon, instead of a bane. I don’t care what other people may think of me; I don’t get affected by that, or by anything trivial, anymore.
And I’m proud to be finally heading somewhere.