For the longest time, I tried so hard to do the right thing by the people that surrounded me and conform to society. I did everything in power to fit in any situation I was in. As I got older though, I realised that being Ang was not always about blending in. It sometimes takes beautiful colours and textures to illustrate the difference in people. Today, I was given some health options. Some of these would take control away from me. I walked away pretty disheartened by this. After some reflection, I regained emotional strength and realised that I am important and that I need to do what’s right for me. Whether I have Cerebral Palsy or not, nobody has the right to me feel I don’t have control of what happens to me.
Any pet owner will understand the love shared between parent and pet. Anyone who knows me well can see this with my dog, Sammy and I. Sammy is not a traditionally trained assistance dog, but he has changed my life for the better. Both of our lives have changed. Before Sam came into my life, I was pretty messed up. Not only was I trying to find my way through adulthood, but I also learning how to negotiate my way with Cerebral Palsy. I didn’t know where I fitted in or where I was going. By this point, I had been told regularly that I was not worthy of anything. When you hear that often enough, it becomes a conscious thought. I have had bouts of depression throughout my life and have tried to take my own life due to the pain it causes. When Sammy came into my life though, everything changed. Yes, the “black dog” still rears its ugly head every now and then, but I know Sam needs me. I can look at him through tears and I know he will love and understand me no matter what. I know that I have changed his life too. When Sam came to me, he was in poor health and was so timid. Now he is a confident little man. Some people think that he’s just a dog, but he’s my son and best friend. I would recommend a pet to anyone. They’re full of unconditional love. I’m so grateful to have Sammy in my life.
April 7 is a significant day for me for a few reasons. It is a day of vulnerability on many levels. You see, today is the day I was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver in my own apartment. I was doing something nice for a friend and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I caught a maxi taxi home and the driver saw a woman who looked vulnerable. I did freeze while things were happening to me. However, little did he know that he messed with the wrong girl. I may look like a person who doesn’t process strength, but my inner strength outweighs the body that traps it. There were detectives and forensic staff everywhere. I do remember the people that I thought loved me yelling at me with blame. “How could I let this happen?” I really felt ashamed. I later found out that it wasn’t until the second trial that I was actually believed because I stuck to the truth. That really hurt. It is also the date of the second trial when he was sentenced. Initially I felt bad about taking a 3 year old girl’s father away, but realised that it was him that did the wrong thing. I was really shaken by the fact that certain body parts had a dollar value placed on them. The human body is beautiful and shouldn’t have a price tag on it.
I love Renoir paintings and feel that this one represents the vulnerability and beauty of the human body, particularly of a woman. I want to utilise this opportunity to point out that we are all beautiful in our own way and nobody deserves to be treated like I was. I have every right to be a part of my community whether I have Cerebral Palsy or not. I’m going to make a difference
This post is my own personal reflection about how information is given to me and the emotions and the effects it has on my life. I have the utmost respect for the university I attend and the decisions they have to abide by. Those who know me are aware that I am passionate about many people and experiences happening around us. Some of these include the Arts, environmental issues and equality for everyone including people with disabilities. I have been studying Social Work for a while now and have been working with the university over several years so I can complete my degree despite having Cerebral Palsy. A conference call occurred during Thursday morning which was meant to make the situation clearer. Instead, it was suggested that I do an associate degree. I was shattered into tears as I have worked so hard and this is not what I intended. It took me a couple of days to find my way again. It was like being told that I didn’t fit into their mould. The university sent me a lot of information via emails. I know that they’re trying to help me, but all it’s done is made me question my life. Receiving information in those volumes and to make decisions about which path to go down is overwhelming. This is exactly why I was destined to be a social worker. I want to assist and advocate for many people. There are so many more layers to me than there appears to be. The irony is that there is not an Ang shaped box. If people are patient and take the time to get to know me, a lot can be learned and understood better. People who know me well know that I try my best at everything I set my mind to. There’s been so much happening in my life this year that has thrown me curveballs, but I keep learning. This is a learning experience for everyone, I included.
I recently was mingling with my friends celebrating my birthday. My friends don’t see me any differently than anyone else. Yes, I have cp, use a power chair for mobility and have speech difficulties, and have health issues that affects my daily life, but ultimately I am Ang. I have feelings, hopes and dreams like everyone else. I have plans on being a writer and an advocate for all people. On this particular night, I went to order my meal with the rest of my friends. While waiting in line, an Asian woman in front of us asked one of my friends “Are you with that lady?”, referring to me. My friend said yes. Then the lady asked “why are you making her order her own meal?” To which my friend replied ” She is more than capable of doing so and I don’t want to take away her independence.” The lady gave a look of inconvenience. We let her go ahead of us. Little did we know that she had a list of 10 meals to order. I had a good time, but for that brief moment I felt like I didn’t belong there. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your circumstances are, you belong in the community and the world. I believe that I have been put on this planet to teach people about equality and acceptance