High school years for me were very uneventful. I don't think any of my classmates particularly liked me, I didn't bond with anyone in particular, I didn't have people coming to my house to "hang". Not to say that these were bad people, but we didn't necessarily click. I've had an awkward sense of humor and obviously I was trying too hard. I guess you could call me a wallflower and like so many kids who felt they didn't belong, I couldn't wait to graduate. To move to bigger and better things. Unlike many Western countries that allow students to pick their own curriculum and be exposed to a diverse group of people all our schedules were fixed and we would always be together. All through elementary school- one group of people and then in highschool- another. If you like them you like them- you'll grow even closer. If you don't, hard cheese- you're stuck together for all eternity (which is the rest of your school years) anyway. In elementary school it was easier. When I was young my mom would always find some intelligent way to interject between me and my friends. She made sure I was included and they wouldn't just run away from or go somewhere else and play. She knew how to interfere when some conflict was brewing up, she thought of fun things that I could do with my friends so I would never feel abandoned, if they started to drift away she'd jumped in. When I was six or seven she introduced me to my first group of friends and she knew how to steer a conversation when I was too shy. The thing is, my parents knew how to play down my disability. We all knew I was a little different but it was key that I wouldn't feel it too much or be reminded of it every day, not with my peers around. But then, it's easy to do with eight, nine ten year olds. It also helped that I had an older brother people respected and that we were the first ones in the area to have a computer, a CD player and later on we did get a dog. It also helped that my classmates weren't with few exceptions very much into sports or any physical activity at all and then, being in Budapest a lot I'd be missed When my mom attempted the same things in my first days of highschool- talk to some people introduce me, get some friendships started it didn't quite work like that. She picked people that appeared to her as most caring, reliable and stable, I found that a bit boring and was more drawn to the fun crowd. But then, they didn't care much for me. And those were the same people I'd see for the next five years, with very few venues to make friends outside of it. And here we were, stuck in our tracks for the reminder of highschool with friendships and cliques already forged. As I was the one who introduced some of my friends to the internet, people starting reappearing at my house, but nothing too serious. Quite frankly I was too stressed and over worked to even realize that I was a loner until about half way through it. And then it dawns on you how different you really are. When people get involved in school dances that you go to, but you end up selling tickets or just sitting there. When people go swimming or playing ball and you don't. More school trips and outings that you don't go to. Crushes and hormones and all those growing pains. But worse. Because you feel more isolated and nobody notices. And it's not as easy as having my mom step in and fix things anymore. One thing that got better- my parents didn't have to carry me up the stairs all the time. My classmates did between classes. In my wheelchair. But not because they liked me- out of of obligation. At first it was laughs and giggles and they were happy to do it. Then, they just did it. Those were also the years that I had to come to accept that I forever be in my wheelchair. Something we were trying to avoid, something all this rehabilitation was supposed to prevent. But there it was. The dreaded moment. Those were my mid-teen years. Graduation came not a day too soon. And I always remind the Conductors dealing with Cerebral Palsy kids : It's easier when you're ten. It's easier to deal with a ten year old. You can chase away dark thoughts, the future is limitless. You have them right before the first bump: puberty. Something I know I was very much alone in. A confusing time for everyone, so much harder if you have a disability when you realize- this is who you are going to be.