[This is an essay I wrote for 12th grade english class (yes I still have things on my computer that old). The topic was to write about a time when you felt like "the other," To which I raised my hand and asked my teacher "What if you always feel like 'the other'?" You can tell I was pretty depressed when I wrote it]
I am a very astute person. I can pick up on things very easily. I guess I always knew I was different - it was obvious. I also learned very young that as a rule, regular people thought that all disabled people were retarded. This made me very afraid that people might think that I was retarded even though I wasn't. I used to tell myself all the time that I wasn't "one of them," even though I was. I was scared to be around other disabled people because of what other people might think of me. I used to think that, just maybe, people didn't notice - and that they wouldn't notice unless I was with "them".
Then I learned that I am one of "them", and that people noticed all the time. They noticed my leg braces and crutches. They noticed my big blue stroller. They noticed I didn't go to recess. They noticed when I fell. They noticed I was sloppy. Most of all, they noticed I got a lot of extra help.
I used to think that when people first met me they met Cheryl. Now I disagree. When people first meet me they meet Cerebral Palsy. They meet the girl who is late to class. They meet the girl who uses the elevator. They meet the girl that has other people take her notes. They meet the girl with scars on her legs.
I wanted to be "able" even though I knew I couldn't. I tried so hard but failed from the start. I guess I'll always be "one of them".