My parents did whatever they could so I'd feel as "normal" as possible. When I was little and my cousins went on running in my grandfathers orchard my mom picked me up under my arms and I played with them. All my classmates from my elementary school had seen me crawl, exercise or in a wheelchair since we first met so through the years for everybody in my life my Cerebral Palsy wasn't anything unusual. It was the normal state. It was obvious and understood that I did things differently but I really didn't feel that different from anybody else. And 'till this day I really don't consider my disability a major problem. It's not something I think about, it's not something I analyze. It isn't until I see reactions of other people that it becomes a big deal. It's true, that it's their problem, not mine, but when they become uncomfortable, so do I. It wasn't until I moved to America, that I got into all those hang out spots with my friends that I actually begun thinking about how people perceive and what they think. I saw the stares, I saw the odd looks when I would get on the dance floor just to have fun. And sometimes, even as I was not feeling it I would make myself do it anyway, maybe not to show them, but to have fun regardless of what they think . Being in a club when you stand out as much as I do, when people look at you as if you just landed from Mars can be a pretty stressful experience. They are also crowded and sweaty and have narrow halls, you end up running over people's feet and you really need to be thick skinned as you go. Other than getting out of the house and trying to do something fun it felt like making a statement. I AM HERE AND I ACCEPT MYSELF. It's something else trying to live in a college town dominated by the bar scene full of very young people.And as I grow older I do those things less and less. I'm okay with myself most times. But there are days when I don't have the energy for it, that I don't wanna feel like the odd man out trying to blend in and I think that's okay also. I'm not staking out new territory anymore and I mostly stick to venues that receive me well. A friend I was getting drinks with at a bar couldn't understand why I was being loud at a very noisy club. Then he understood. I'm easy to be overlooked, the bartender may easily ignore me while people bump into me or literally walk all over me. It can be a very hostile setting. All of that requires energy that I don't have all the time. Especially if I want to have an entertaining night. But maybe I don't feel I have to make a point anymore.
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