“I hate the word ‘normal.’ [Yet,] if I am being honest, I don’t want to redefine the word ‘normal.’ I am working on redefining myself."
Jennifer Senda has cerebral palsy and is a mother, but these traits only make up a small facet of her life. Still, she continually receives questions regarding her daily life (e.g. how she became a parent) or stares from strangers when she goes out in public with her son or her partner. While she recognizes that she may always face such situations, Jennifer admits that she “get[s] tired of the ‘normal’ questions people ask.” She is, after all, human, like everyone else.
It is definitely important that societal perceptions towards disabilities evolve. But what is also essential, according to Jennifer, is “how we see ourselves.” Redefining your own attitude and re-evaluating your value is absolutely necessary. And one way to do so is by asserting your voice and being your own spokesperson. “It is not ok for another person to speak for me when I have a voice and can make my own choices,” says Jennifer.
Recognizing your self-worth is important, and that means that you should not tolerate rudeness or condescension, nor allow others to put you down because of your disability. Additionally, as a parent, showing that you should be treated just like anybody else sets an example for your children.
“Remember, how we perceive ourselves will directly affect our children’s perceptions about us, and themselves."
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