It's been said that if we were all the same life would be very boring. I fought this notion as hard as I could when I was younger. But guess what, I was never able to sweep my wheelchair under the rug.
After my first trip to Shriners, I felt like my disability and how it made me different was all I could think about.
I was incredibly fortunate to grow up with a group of girls on my street that were my age, and we all hung out regularly.
Having this great group of friends was bittersweet, especially when we started going to each other’s houses. This began to put me in a pickle, I couldn't get my wheelchair into anyone else's house.
We either had to hang out at my house, outside, or somewhere like the mall.
Of course, my friends didn't always want to hang out at my house or play outside. When they would go to each other's houses, I often felt like I was on the fringe of the group. I would miss out on those stories, adventures, and jokes.
Not only did I feel like they were sometimes part of a club that I just couldn't join, I began struggling with negative emotions stemming from the perception that I was different.
I had yet to become angry. I was disappointed and jealous. I longed to be part of this club too.
These thoughts grew into feelings of inferiority, isolation, and depression. It didn't happen all at once. But it was the beginning of a very dark couple of decades in my life.