For years, the poet and author tried to keep her cerebral palsy secret, until motherhood and a new love taught her to make peace with her body and share her experience
There are ways to cover for the fact that you can’t run like the other kids, or skate, or climb fences, or ride your flowered banana seat bike without training wheels. My own strategy was to suggest alternatives, offering to bring out a board game, colouring books and crayons, or my brand new, unopened jigsaw puzzle with the picture of a farm scene on its box. If my friends countered by asking to play hopscotch, a game that would require each of us to stand first on one foot, which I could do fine, then on the other, which I couldn’t do at all, I’d act like the idea was too dull to consider. If they suggested we play cards, I’d say yes, but reluctantly, willing someone else to insist on shuffling since it takes two good hands to bend and riffle each half of the deck. More often I told them, truthfully, that I’d rather grab our dolls and play house or store or any other game of pretend.
Pretending, after all, was the thing I was best at. It was the magic that allowed me to inhabit any capable, agile, graceful body I chose.
The daily and very physical tasks of caring for a baby forced me to recognise my disability for what it actually was