A letter from Mack

Dear Laura,
I have been reflecting on our conversation from the other night and on your recent blog post about dating, relationships and cerebral palsy. Your viewpoint intrigues me because I have been on the other side of that relationship – the friend with the boyfriend for three years now.

I was the first out of all of my friends to have a steady boyfriend and my friend Morgan and I were always boy-crazy growing up. However, before we get to that, I think I should describe our relationship a bit more.
I have known Morgan since kindergarten. Growing up, I stopped seeing the visual differences between us because I realized they were only physical. This is how we grew up. We were equals, with the differences that come from being two different people. It wasn’t until we were older that I realized the whole dating game would be a new kind of different. This realization came along with a bunch of new “differents” – each one feeling like a smack in the face. I can’t speak for how Morgan felt or for how long she had been noticing our lives were inevitably different, but my world felt like it was turned upside down. Suddenly something other than her and I were dictating our lives – society was.
But we are talking dating here and at seventeen, I started dating my boyfriend of three years. It was exciting. It was new. I was bubbly and in serious “like” – if not love. I couldn’t wait to share the news with Morgan! In the following months I didn’t suspect anything out of the ordinary. I’ve never thought that Morgan was going to go forever without a boyfriend. However, I was beginning to realize that her relationships may not be like mine.
One of the things I spoke with my supervisor about is dating and relationships for all types people. We discussed privacy, intrigue and the obstacles to having what is viewed as a “normal” relationship. I have to be honest, I have some serious beef with the word “normal”. I don’t think it should ever be defined.
More and more I understand that the way Morgan lives her life won’t be exactly like mine. But it doesn’t need to be exactly like mine – just like mine doesn’t need to be just like hers. The focus should be what makes her happy and figuring out the “how” that will make that happen. She has an equal opportunity to define “relationship” her own way. That is something so incredibly special and exciting – I will fight and fight to make sure it is never taken away from her.
An idea that we’ve toyed with is touring workshops for people with all types of abilities to participate in. One of these workshops is ideally called “You are Allowed to Own Pretty Underwear too”. I truly believe that statement. Everyone is entitled to passion, love and some great undies. No matter who you are and where you are from – when you find that person, things WILL work.
One last thought about love from the Holstee Manifesto: “If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.” All of us wonder if we’ll be as happy as our friends despite our hair colour, our body weight, or our chair. The truth is – we will be happier. It will be our own love. Our own life… and only we will get to tell that story.
Talk to you soon!

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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook
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