Today I am happy and I say that with a smile on my face, a real smile with meaning behind it. Not that fake smile that I hid behind for years of my life. As I write this my eyes fill up with tears, tears of acceptance, relief, accomplishment and happiness. The past years were brutal it was a constant battle of accepting myself and trying to find true happiness. Let me tell you, the truth is it takes time; a lot of time. Happiness just doesn’t come in the blink of an eye. Loving and accepting yourself the way you are doesn’t happen on a wish of a shooting star. True happiness doesn’t come easily and the biggest thing I learned is that to be happy and to feel happy are two totally different things. I learned that the hard way, by letting someone’s opinion of me take away my self-image and happiness. I had to fight like hell to get it back. I was so focused on being in love and having someone love me that I didn’t realize I was being mistreated, and once I realized what had happened to me I knew I had to change my mindset and work on myself.

The true lesson of life isn’t to love yourself it really is to accept who you are today. Accept every little flaw that makes you who you are too. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in others people’s lives and others appearance. That’s when the saying “The grass looks greener on the other side” comes into play. You have to accept yourself with no makeup on. Accept yourself with that extra five pounds that you hate. Accept everything you hate about yourself and learn to love it, because once you do it will be a lot easier to strive to be a happier and healthier version of yourself. Never let one person change your self-image because you have to know that you are enough and you will always be loved. The most important person to have love you is yourself and once you realize that you will be truly happy.

Today I do have someone special that loves me, and she is looking right back at me in the mirror. I accept myself and I love every little flaw about me that makes me who I am today, and most importantly I got my happiness back, and it never felt so good. I may have not been made the way I would have chosen but I am the exact way God wanted me to be. Although he didn’t give me the perfect legs, he gave me so many other qualities that made me who I am today. He gave me incredible strength, a caring heart, a selfless personality. He gave me beauty and confidence. He gave me all the qualities that made me the women I’m supposed to be today.

The truth is everyone has a daily fight, whether we want to admit it or not. The only difference between you and me is you can see mine; I can’t hide it or pretend that it doesn’t exist. It does exist and each day that I’m fighting my battle head on and it’s out in the open for the public to see. I used to think that it was unfair and I would wish I had a different battle to fight one that I could hide, but why? What’s the point? So what you can see my fight, but you can also see my determination, my progress and my pride. My pride of which I am, my determination of making myself stronger each and every day and my progress of how far I come. My fight made me the women I am today and the women I’m supposed to be, and I would never want to change that.


This week lets chat about dating. If you want me to be honest I hate the whole dating thing, I have always been that hopeless romantic girl who falls way too hard way to quick. I guess I watched The Notebook one too many times. Dating is difficult to begin with especially in this day and age and I hate to say it but dating with a disability puts a twist on things. Let me give you a background on my dating history. It all started the last few days of middle school, it started out like your typical first relationship would start…the night before when his friends tell your friends that you’re going to get asked to be his girlfriend after 3rd period science class. Let’s be real, being the mama’s girl that I am I ran and told my mom, I was confused because I thought it was a joke, no one ever wanted to date me before. I was always self-conscious of the way I walked due to my cerebral palsy, so of course I had that in the back of my mind. My mom gave me her first of many boy pep talks; she explained that there is so much more to me beyond my walking, that I am beautiful and have an amazing personality, and if a boy doesn’t like me because of the way I walked then I don’t want to date him anyway, and since then that stuck in my mind. Well, the bell rang and my heart dropped within 3 minutes of everyone else switching classes I had my first kiss and I was a girlfriend just like that.

I personally think that after you get out of high school it’s a thousand times easier to date, people are more knowledgeable and don’t care about a silly limp. Throughout my experience I can basically describe people in three different ways when they are faced with dating someone with a disability. There are the ones that see beyond the disability, there’s the ones who plain and simply won’t date you because of it and of course my personal favorite, the ones that like you and want to date you, but won’t because they are scared of what their friends might think. Now, I do not judge because I don’t know what it’s like to date someone with a disability… however on the other hand I know what’s it’s like to date with one. I also know that pit in the middle of your stomach when you know someone doesn’t like you because of your disability. I know what it’s like when you have to walk past your crush and you try and do your “best walking” you know the slow and steady, heal to toe one what we all learn at physical therapy. I have had amazing boyfriends that respected and didn’t think twice about my walking but then again on the other hand I had boyfriends that weren’t so respectful when it came to my disability.  Just like anyone with or without a disability you have to know yourself worth and do not settle for anything less than what you deserve. It’s so easy to lose yourself in a relationship it happens to plenty of people and it happened to me.

People are going to come in and out of your life for many different reasons, they are either going to love you and bring happiness into your life or just be a lesson learned, with that being said I believe that each lesson you learn from a past relationship will make you stronger for the next, each person you date good or bad is getting you ready for your future husband/wife. Of course I got my heart broken, turned down and disappointed in a relationship, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. I’ll be honest, my biggest flaw in dating was always thinking that it was my walking. I always had it in the back of my mind. Every time someone broke up with me or didn’t want to date me that was the reason in my head. I gave myself zero credit when it came to my self-worth. I had to sit down and literally write down all the good things and bad things about me and completely eliminated Cerebral Palsy out of the equation. When I looked at the list, I had a lot of good things to offer and I had other bad qualities about myself that didn’t even have to do with my disability. It was good to see and get in my mind that it’s not always about Cerebral Palsy. So when you’re out there learn from my mistakes never forget your self-worth and don’t always assume it’s your disability, because people who don’t have a disability are going through the same dating problems as you.

Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room at least it might be for anyone with a physical disability and that is exercising and stretching. I’m speaking from my own experience. I love to exercise, when it’s something for me and when I don’t feel forced, but the minute I feel like I’m doing it for my cerebral palsy I get frustrated. Although when I am on a consistent routine with my CP exercises I notice the biggest difference and feel better, stronger and my walking gait improves. So why am I so against doing these exercises? Is it just me, or do any of you have the same issue? Maybe I just get burnt out because I have been doing this for my whole life.

I, like many others who are affected with CP started doing daily exercises and stretching at the age of 2. Yes, that’s right 2 years old! I’m not saying I was running on the treadmill getting my 30 minutes of cardio in every day. It was the simple stuff, mostly done by my physical therapist and my parents. Stretching twice a day, pushing my toes outward, bending my knees up and down. I honestly can’t remember a day in my life that I didn’t do my daily stretching and exercising, other than days I was sick, but even then my mom would make me do a “quick stretch”. If I did feel like rebelling and telling my parents that I didn’t want to stretch, I regretted it the next day when I woke up tight.

Every school day (elementary) started with my mom waking me up 30 minutes earlier then I needed just for stretching. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I laid on the carpet in our living room with a pillow and blanket watching cartoons as my mom stretched me. Not too spoiled, right? This was the time that I would try and convince her that I should stay home from school so we can order in chinese lunch specials with my aunt. I’m not going to lie to you I can be pretty convincing, so it worked some days. After my 30 minute stretch was up I would get ready, and we would walk hand and hand down the block to school. It didn’t end there though, three days a week after school I had Physical Therapy for 45 minutes which happened to be 45 minutes away. My mom always made it fun though she would have a snack waiting for me in the car along with the newest Spice Girl CD that was out and a clip board so I could do my homework. If PT went well, I could always count on getting ice cream on the way home. To end the day, I would take a bath, stretch one last time for the day, and curled up with my parents and watch TV.

I used to complain and think that this was all so much for me, but the real question is how did my mom do it all? Taking care of the house, cooking, cleaning etc. That’s why all of you CP moms are the real heroes. As I grew up and got stronger so did my CP routine, but the one thing that stayed the same was my mom right next to me. For all the CP mama’s reading this as much as your kids are going to fight it, and believe me I tortured my poor mom, but do it and push them every day. Without my mom being so on top of me as a kid my doctors said I wouldn’t have been walking as good as I do. I would have had more pain and not have retained as much flexibility as I did after my surgeries. As much as you work on yourself as a child and young adult it will only benefit you in the long run.

In the past couple of years, I have changed my mindset when it comes to doing good things for my body and health. That’s a big thanks to my fiancé. When I met Matt I was intimated by him, he went to the gym 5-7 days a week and sometimes twice a day. He was extremely strong and confident, something that I wasn’t. The first time he asked me to go to the gym with him my heart sunk into my stomach. Somehow he convinced me to give it a try, we walked into the gym and went to the side that I never thought I would be on… the weight training side. “Come on babe, let’s lift some weights.” He said. I looked at him with complete fear in my eyes, my anxiety set in big time. I thought I was going to ride the bike and walk on the treadmill and be done. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other girls lifting weights next to me and completely embarrass myself in front of my new boyfriend, but next thing I knew and it was months later and I was able to leg press over 200lbs. It was then when I realized that I had to stop comparing myself to others because yes maybe they can run on the treadmill and be stronger then me in some ways, but I might be stronger in other ways that they aren’t. Rather than focusing on how far I have to go, I had to recognize how far I have come.

So let’s make a pact and look that elephant in the face and take out those Thera Bands that are collecting dust in the closet and sit on the floor and try and reach for your toes and think about how far you have come the past few years. Together let’s make a healthier version of ourselves for 2017.

Be the best for YOUR ability!

I’m twenty-five years old today, a quarter of a century. Wow, that’s seems so weird to say. Twenty-five years old and I think I have my life figured out… well, most of the time. Dealing with the usual stuff a 25-year-old goes through on top of that let’s throw a disability into the mix. A mild case of Cerebral Palsy to be exact.

When I was younger I had a theory that if I kept praying to God and wishing on my birthday candles, shooting stars and 11:11 that one day I would wake up and my legs would work “perfect” after all birthday wishes only happen once a year and seeing a shooting star is rare, so it has to work, right? I thought that the way I walked was just temporally. “Okay God, I’m ready.” I used to say to my praying beanie baby bear, like magically somehow God could zap me in the middle of the night and I’d be fine. I can remember lying in bed curled up in my twin size mattress bundled under my blue Snow White comforter. I remember the excitement I had thinking that tomorrow would be the day that God would take my Cerebral Palsy away, all because I made a wish at 11:11.

Well believe it or not, that wish never came true. Shocker right? I did this for years before realizing that this is me, it’s not going to change. Trust me it took me years to come to terms with my disability and trust me I mean years, but once I realized that, life got easier. I finally decided that I was blessed to have the ability to walk with my limp rather then not walk at all, the day I came to terms with that was the day I finally started to thank God each and every day to allowing me to walk and have the inner strength that I need to thrive with.

In life everyone has two choices that occur over and over again in every situation that life throws your way. That is to be positive or negative, to look at the glass half full or half empty and that choice is one you can only make for yourself. Now I’m definitely not saying to be happy go lucky or to take your positivity to the extreme, but that is just what works for me.

I have Cerebral Palsy, it would be so easy for me to have a negative mindset, and always think bad thoughts. I could sit here and complain and tell you all the negative things about having Cerebral Palsy or I can sit here and tell you how having CP made me a stronger, caring and a more determined woman. Now, I’m certainly not going to lie to you, I definitely have my times of weakness and will complain about my sore muscles, or how the cold is making my legs tighter and stiffer. I’ll think to myself “why me?” but then I remember God doesn’t give you things that you can’t handle. I may struggle a little more then some, but I am blessed in so many other ways.

I do truly believe that I wouldn’t be the same girl without having CP but I also think that I was given this life for a reason, maybe the reason is to share my story of going through life with a disability and how I dealt with those uncomfortable situations and to show younger boys/girls they aren’t alone, everyone has a battle that they are going through.

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