My father was sitting there, Millennium Eve, with far too many brandy shots, asking me this question. He died a few years ago. To this day I have never understood why he found my answer so hard to comprehend.
I’m Wendy. I am 4 ft 9” with Cerebral Palsy. I have two hearing aids, walk not very far with two sticks. So far, so descriptive. My disability does not define my happiness. I am a high achiever, like my dear papa. Four cats, four guinea pigs. I drive and I work full time. I have a house and a husband.
“Am I happy?” It reverberates around my brain. Why wouldn’t I be happy? My answer, at the time, through an alcohol induced haze, was that I saw my disability as a gift. I also said, at the time, that if there was a “cure” I wouldn’t take it. I’m 46 now. That’s a lot of years for me to figure stuff out.
Being disabled has meant an awful lot of being sat on the side-lines, and an awful lot of deep frustration. I wanted to be a solicitor and got as far as Law Society Finals. I didn’t like the lifestyle or expectations. I fell into Housing Management and there, more or less, I have stayed. But I digress.
Happiness – hell of a big word that one. Not joining in, meant a lot of people watching. I’m quite intuitive, I’m a natural “carer” and like being there for others. My personality, I think, creates happiness. That comes from the hard work which goes in; to not giving up each day, learning from the dating disasters, generating a positive outlook against the failures at work, when people have just been downright patronising. It has also meant I can be abrasive, I’m impatient with others. I sometimes just think, what is the point of constantly explaining myself… society is too busy to listen.
Yes, overall, I’m happy. I like being me. I see no need to “change” and my dear Dad, I certainly didn’t want to be anyone else and I don’t want to be cured. I am me. My disability has added bits, just like it has taken away bits. I’m just sorry you never understood the gift you and Mum gave me. Perhaps that was why you were so lonely.