I grew up in a world, where I was perceived as different. That being said, I know that this sense of difference I’ve felt over the years has being a driving force in how my experiences were shaped. Being that my disability is visible and there is simply no hiding it, much of my socialization occurs online. I think this is because it levels the playing field.
The online environment may seem impersonal to many, but for me personally I feel like it actually makes social interaction easier. People seem less intimidated by me because my wheelchair has been almost eliminated. They, in a sense, forget about the cerebral palsy staring back at them and get to know me for my character and personality. Whereas, in the real world, they probably would be too shy to approach me.
That all sounds great in theory, but I have often wondered how to make people more at ease around me. I don’t have the answers, nor do I ever expect to have them in full. I wish there was a way to make face-to-face communication easier for me and others whose disabilities make this a challenge.