Believing in My Strength

Believing in My Strength

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

Believing in My Strength

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I am different from a lot of other kids. I have cerebral palsy, which happened to me before I was born. I was born really early, and I had an injury to my brain; because of this I am not able to use some of the muscles in my body in a normal way. Kids like me who have CP may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play the same way as most other kids do.

One of my legs is shorter and smaller than my other leg. I don’t have very much control over that leg and foot; for example, I can hardly bend my toes. When I try to move that foot, I get a tingly kind of pins-and-needles sensation, like it has fallen asleep. I have to wear a brace on my leg to keep it from curling up, and that makes it hard for me to balance. I bump into things a lot. You may think it is no big deal to have a weak leg and to come in last in all of the races you compete in… but it is. When you are growing up, you don’t want to be the one who always lags behind.

Because I walk differently and wear a brace, kids call me “retard” and other names. People even imitate the way I run. You honestly don’t know how cruel kids can be unless you experience it. I try to rise above it, but sometimes I just have to cry my feelings out. Sometimes I come home with my eyes red from crying. It’s not fun to be made fun of over something that I can’t control.

CP is not an illness or a disease. It isn’t contagious. It will never go away. I will never grow out of it; I will have CP for my whole life. Over the years, I have learned to rise above the people who don’t understand my situation. I have learned to look for my strong points and not be pulled down by my weaker ones. One of my strong points is singing, and I try to focus on that. I try especially hard at whatever I do. I think that is something that keeps me going every day.

If you have some kind of disability, I encourage you to start today to do something that makes you happy. You can do whatever you believe you can. Talk to someone who may struggle with the same thing that you do, because it may help you a lot.

I hope my story inspires you to take a better look at life and to let you know there are kids just like you who have a hard time, too. Just don’t let your hard times take the place of your dreams, and keep reaching for the stars.

~Kelsey Peters, 10

EDITORS’ NOTE: For information on cerebral palsy, go to www.cdc.gov/ncbddd.

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