You should sit down for this. You know I am!
Now, try not to get too upset, but…this is my last column.
I know; it’s hard for me too. I’ve really enjoyed writing this nearly every week for the past year and some change, but I’ve said all I have to say, at least at this point of my life.
I’ve told my story and the stories of a few others. It’s been extremely gratifying being able to talk about my disability in a way that informs others that it doesn’t make that much a difference in how I or anyone else lives their life.
I wanted to reduce stigma, to learn about others and myself and help people make light of their own struggles. I can safely say that I have done that.
I’ve been equally grateful to everyone who has come up to me in the Student Center or on Appian Way and to all the emails that I’ve received thanking me and encouraging me through the difficulties I’ve talked about. Early on, I talked about my lack of inspiration.
That’s not nearly as much of an issue now. I want to work hard not just for myself, but for all of you that have been rooting for me. That’s been huge. I hope that I have had even a fraction of the same impact for you.
Still, I’m a regular guy and, aside from the CP and a few hiccups that have come as a result, at my core I am still like any other any able-bodied person.
So, I’ve simply run out of things to talk about. I mean, unless you want me to tell you what I ate for lunch on Saturday, there’s not much else to say that would separate me from anyone else, as least in regard to my condition. (I had a tuna melt, in case you really were wondering, and it was delicious.)
In parting, do me a favor, take what I’ve said in the stories I’ve told to heart.
The truth is, you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Get to know people you might not normally associate with. Seeing a different perspective on things can be both refreshing and enlightening.
Take your struggles and deal with them, while using your experience to make yourself unique in a way that overshadows any imperfection in your life.
Embrace those imperfections about yourself that you can’t fix, but work hard to be better than you were the day before.
Take chances, but know your limits. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Fear of the unknown really is a great motivator to take matters in your own hands, and that’s a powerful thing. Most importantly, though, don’t be afraid to tell your story and allow others to tell you theirs.
It will have an enormous effect on those who hear it. That was so apparent to me after a few editions of this weekly writing.
I don’t have everything figured out though, and I need the support of those of you who have showed it.
I still have CP, and still deal with the frustration and stigma. However, they are so many others who deal with the same. Share that support with them too.
Without further ado, it’s time to say goodbye. Life still rolls on. Hopefully this column helped to make the road a little smoother for you as it has for me.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org