Seven.

At the age of seven I was strong minded and set on becoming the prime minister, purely to make the world a better place and so I would never have to do maths again. At six years old I had my first frame a metal contraption that connected to the bones in my lower leg to hopefully straighten out my ankle. I was in a wheelchair for 2 years following the 10-hour operation. It was at seven I came to realise that my lower leg would be different for the rest of my life. I learnt so much over those years, I learnt to get upstairs without the use of both legs, I learnt that even though you may not be the same as everyone else you will always be you but most importantly I learnt that that doesn’t matter everyone is different. I learnt not to care what people thought. I let people stare at my leg that looked like it has been chewed by a teething shark (sometimes I likes to look them right in the eye to make them feel guilty).
Being in a wheelchair at the ages of 6 and 7 changed the way I looked at things it made me realise just how important words are, the age I first fell in love with conversation. My experience in a wheelchair before puberty were a hell of a lot different to the years afterwards. When you are young everything is simple, easy and carefree. Although I spent those 2 years of my life not being able to play hide and seek or kiss chase in the playground my curiosity peeked. I learnt to ignore the people that stared at the girl in a wheelchair with the metal trap attached to her leg. I learnt to ignore the pity and I fought fire with fire, I learnt how to converse to an adult level. I found myself in long conversations with my mum, my teachers and my friends parents. Although 2 fully functioning legs were taken away from me I learnt a lot, it didn’t stop me.
One of my strongest memories I have of that period is sitting in the lunch hall with a friend, a male friend. His sister comes passed and called me his girlfriend in a very juvenile, playful way. Apart from the fact of feeling highly embarrassed and going bright red the thought that ran through my head was “but I’m in a wheelchair why wouldn’t you want someone else”. It was the first time my disability had made me feel this at the young age of 7, it was in a matter of fact way. This is what the world had taught a 7-year-old intelligent girl in a wheelchair, you are not worthy of love, affection and there is someone better.
My whole life I’ve never wanted to be defined by my leg and what has happened to me. Although I can’t say it has ever been an easy ride it has made me who I am and it’s the hand I was dealt. Don’t let a bad deal get to you, it can always turn a full house through the game.

IMG_3343
Me at about 5 years old, just before my big operation.

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