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.