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Cassie Q

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

So the thing about being a disabled child is that your parents probably aren't disabled. They read all those books – real books or metaphorical books – about how to be a good parent but the books didn't really have a chapter covering disabilities. Basically they have no fucking idea what they're doing, so they try to do an approximation: you're not a normal kid but maybe you can be as close to one as possible. The memory of this was always very close to my mind, in one way or another. My initial reaction was to be confused, because people always found me extremely skinny and urged me to eat some more, so I didn't quite get what I was supposed to hide. My mom then had to explain my body was weird, without saying the words, and it was this whole new knowledge for me. Then for future years I made it my life purpose to hide my body, or try to reshape it by using extremely dumb methods such as wrapping a band really tight around my torso, which my mom disapproved of for obvious reasons but she has always been against forbidding, so I kept it up. I made appointments to surgeons and would ask them to fix the issue but they couldn't see a real reason to do that. By that time my goal had expanded to reshaping not only the torso but also my feet, and those surgeries would take years to be done with, which for those very sane doctors was a no go. I took it to physical therapy, thinking maybe we could change my breathing patterns and that would give my torso a better figure. I don't even know where I came up with that shit. When early adulthood came, I started to learn about who I was as a body. I learned that girls everywhere felt pressured to keep the perfect unachievable figure, learned what disabled authors thought about it, and understood I was living a lie, that it was, in fact, okay to be disabled. This memory, along with several other little memories, became then the proof of just how awful my parents and upbringing was, and I would accuse them of ruining my life and messing up my self esteem. I now deeply regret saying such things, because now I can fully see the big picture and see how lost and unsupported they probably felt. Other parents just didn't relate to their doubts at all, and the different health professionals they saw – including psychologists – had nothing to offer but "she seems just fine, you have nothing to worry about". Eventually I had to grow up enough to teach my parents other ways to deal with this very weird role they received, and thankfully, they are pretty good learners, all things considered.

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