This will probably be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do — to be vulnerable enough to admit I have cerebral palsy, and yes, sometimes it sucks, but most of the time, I’m OK with having it. I tend to keep my feelings about my disability to myself for fear of rejection and the opposite sex not understanding. Not understanding that I have feelings too, and that there are days when my disability has a mind of its own and chooses to make situations in my life difficult. Sometimes I wonder if all a guy sees is my wheelchair and not me, resulting in him walking away, asking an overload of questions or the one I tend to hate the most, only engaging in conversation because he’s curious about what it’s like dating someone in a wheelchair.
So, if you are interested in dating me, here are 12 things I’d like you to keep in mind:
1. Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder that affects muscle tone and/or posture. It’s caused by damage to the immature brain as it develops, most often before birth, and it is not transmittable.
2. There are different forms of cerebral palsy. Everyone who has cerebral palsy is affected differently.
3. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. I’m an open book.
4. I’m shy, and it’s unlikely that I’ll make the first move. I tend to observe the situation before opening up, but once I get to talking, you can’t shut me up.
5. My family and my faith are my reason for being.
6. I’m a homebody. Don’t get me wrong; I like going out, but staying in with a movie or book is where it’s at for me.
7. Everything in this world is not accessible to my needs, so there will be times where I may ask for assistance in holding the door or moving a chair, so I hope you are OK with that.
8. I’m a sucker for PDA, but I also like my space.
9. There are days when I feel pretty and days when I don’t, and there’s an extra ounce of self-doubt for me because I have CP and use a wheelchair. So on those days when I don’t feel as beautiful, remind me that I am the most beautiful person in the world, wheelchair and all.
10. Do know that I will do my part in making this relationship work, and if there are things we need to discuss to progress, let’s talk it out and work through it rather than shutting down.
11. There’s no such thing as perfect, so you don’t have to have everything together to try and impress me. We’re all works in progress. Simple things matter more to me than materialistic items and revenue.
12. I love food. I will try just about anything once, but I do have my limitations.
So there you have it. I know dating can be hard for everyone, especially if you feel there’s something that would make you less appealing. I’ve heard the saying “there’s someone for everyone,” but I don’t know if that’s entirely accurate. It’s a struggle, but what’s a struggle without a reward? All I can do is move beyond my comfort zone and lay my cards out on the table.