Hawaii has always been a special place for me; nature, culture, beaches, adventures, food, and people. My first trip to Hawaii was when I was one year old, and I have traveled back several times after that. Growing up, I enjoyed going to luaus, watching Lilo & Stitch, and wearing florals. In college, I became best friends with three people from Hawaii, and they treat me like family. Fun fact: I got hired at both of my current jobs after I arrived back from Hawaii. Hawaii is my lucky charm.
My trip to Maui in August was my first real vacation in three years. After months of staying home and working long hours, I went all out in Maui. It was different being in a crowded airport and flying. I do not like flying, and there was a lot of turbulence during the last 30 minutes of the flight. Sometimes you have to face your fears to land in paradise. There was so much to see; I walked 3-5 miles a day for a week. I ate so much meat and desserts.
March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and Cerebral Palsy (CP) comes with extraordinary gifts and challenges. I was diagnosed with CP at birth due to a delayed delivery and lack of oxygen in the brain. CP affects my balance, speech, spasticity, and fine motor functions. I was born on November 13. My birth was a traumatic experience where my mom and I almost did not survive. Even as a newborn, I was able to fight for my life. 13 is traditionally an unlucky number. However, I converted 13 to my lucky number because it is the day I survived the impossible. Throughout my life, I turned negatives into positives.
Featured Guest on a Podcast: Don’t Let The Disability Fool You
In December, I had the opportunity to be a guest on a podcast by Domo Jones called “Don’t Let The Disability Fool You.” The purpose of her podcast is to have people with disabilities tell their stories. For many years, I did not talk about my CP because people usually overlook it or did not take the time to learn how it affects me. They only knew me as someone with a physical disability.
Click the link below to listen to the podcast episode!
I started to talk about my CP openly early last year. I talked to one of my best friends about job interviews; he said to talk about how I overcame challenges with CP. I had two years of discrimination applying to jobs because I can’t speak clearly. The two great things that my best friend said about my CP are that I should not be embarrassed with him and he is not afraid to ask me hard questions. He created a safe place for me to tell him specific details. During this pandemic, I learned that I have to share my story with my CP. I can help people become comfortable with interacting with people who have disabilities. Domo Jones reached out to me to do her podcast; I was finally ready to speak about my CP and had another good friend speak on my behalf.