The next Disability Blog Carnival is on Thursday and it's theme is "Simply The Best"
I love this as a topic and was thinking about what to write about. Several ideas crossed my mind but nothing really seemed *right* to me.
Then just as I had written off this as a topic that wasn't for me, it hit me.
The thing that had made me happiest today had a no longer really noticable to me disability beginning and that's what's Simply The Best.
At this current moment in time, I would say that meeting people who would never have come into your life if not for your disability is Simply The Best thing about having CP.
My oldest friend, Maryse, was my physio when I was nine. We are still close now even though we haven't seen each other since 1999 and she lives in Germany. No CP would have meant no physio and that would have meant I never met someone who I love dearly and who was a confidante and a trusted adult whilst I was growing up - and who was able to turn the trauma of physio into something I looked forward too.
Then there is Ruth. She was disability support coordinator when I was at college doing A'Levels. She helped me learn an important lesson about other people, about attitude and about self worth. It was a tough time that led to that incident and it was disability related. Take away the CP and the circumstances would have been different. But I am glad I learned those lessons - I have friends who tell me they wish they knew them too.
Some of my best friends I met thru disability activities or because they were my or my friends carers. Some of them I was paired with at school so we could receive support together - at the time I hated that, and I hated a lot of them because I resented being made "different". I got over that, they became friends and the rest as they say, is history...
Or it could be the journey care assistants at my local stations... I couldn't exactly say they were friends but they always say hi when they see me, stop me in town, ask how I am, make me laugh, hug me (sometimes) and occasionally fight over who gets to help me on and off of the train. Knowing I can trust them really helped me when I first started traveling independently on the trains. They are all really good people and they brighten my day.
But if it wasn't for my chair - they would just be "station staff" and so I have another reason to be grateful for CP, more people who touch my life in a simply way and enrich it so much.
Before I went to university I had academic support at school (learning support assistants) but I had never had a true carer from outside of the family. I was a little nervous about that. But mostly nervous about the going to uni thing as a whole.
Incidentally, I realised (and was a bit shocked by) totally by accident this morning whilst surfing facebook and looking at Birthday reminders that the day I left home and went to uni was seven years ago TODAY.
My first ever carer was Kim (this entry has the story of when I met Kim and my first day at uni). She drove me a bit crazy but we got on well and grew to be very close. Unfortunately, as happens I lost contact with her for several years. Last week we got back in touch through FaceBook and we e-mailed.
Tonight I rang her and it was so wonderful, curled up on my bed with the window open and a breeze drifting over me. It was dark and the only light came from the twinkling of my fairy lights round the window. Just me and a phone, talking to a much loved friend who brought back so many memories, who helped to shape those memories too. I reckon it must be at least four, if not five, years since we spoke. It could have been yesterday.
We made plans to meet up and catch up the Saturday after next. I can't wait.
And I was left thinking that whilst there are many small things and experiences CP has brought into my life. For me, what is Simply The Best about being in a chair is the wonderful people that are and have been in my life because of it.