When I was in high school, my friend shared an idea during our English class. Being an avid fan of winter sports, he wanted to build skis that I could use. He was projecting his own passions onto me. Being active took up most of his free time and he couldn't imagine how anyone wouldn't want to take on that lifestyle. I couldn't, therefore in his mind I was missing out. It's possible that he didn't do it out of pity and he just wanted to share a piece of his world with me. The truth is, I never liked sports. I don't enjoy watching it, I never had dreams or regrets of being an athlete. To me, football, or what Americans called soccer, involved watching a bunch of adults glued to the TV, yelling at the screen when I was little. It also meant cartoons would be delayed and for the life of me I could never understand what all the excitement was about. Quite frankly, I don't think my disability has anything to do with it. There's a lot of people, my mother being a prime example, who don't enjoy sports. Yet with me, a lot of people assume, that simply because I can't do something I must be missing out. I've been involved with way too many physical activities to get a sense of what I would and wouldn't like. Bicycle equals pain and parts of my body going numb. Swimming makes me tense and panic fearing water I could easily maneuver in if I only came down. My muscle tensions made a lot of activities harder or even more painful. Sport is just not my thing. But then I remember being six and demanding getting skates from my parents. They got me something you could put on my orthopedic shoes- I just don't remember us ever using it. How would it work? My mom holding me under my arms skating in harmony? I guess as a six year old I never thought it through. But there was something about the music, the ease of the movements and the ice that spoke to me. I've never thought about where and who I would have been if I didn't have CP. I think it's counterproductive and I would most likely be a completely different person. But I must say that as a child I always admired my uncle Marian. In the 70's and 80's he danced for the Polish national pantomime until his accident in Germany. He couldn't dance anymore, so he stayed in Munich escaping the communist regime and became a cook. Posters all over his apartment serve as reminders of the career he once had. My mother remembers how if you stood me up next to a grab bar I'd "dance" in a spot. I loved to move, I loved rhythm. But that was before my surgeries. Months in a cast made be heavier and with one leg a bit shorter than the other I didn't get to do that anymore. While I never stop and guess what would have become of me if only... because I have so much going on in the one life I do have, a career full of harmony, music, fitness, passion and admiration wouldn't be a bad alternative.
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