I was born with Spina Bifida. I can’t really give you a great description of what Spina Bifida is, because every case is different. For instance, my cousin has a child with Spina Bifida who can walk, while I never have. It all depends on the area of the spine that suffered pre-natal damage. As with any technical subject, I think it would be best to find information on Spina Bifida at the library as long as the book is current. I have never really read too much on the subject to be honest. I always felt like it was more important just to know myself and what my personal limits and abilities were. I would never suggest to anyone that they shouldn’t be educated about their disability. I feel that I know what I need to know. But a book can only tell you so much.
With Spina Bifida, the many operations you will likely undergo beginning in infancy, can leave you with many scars and imperfections. Anyone who has listened in on the “Kids Are Too Fat vs. Teenage Girls Are Too Skinny” debate can see we have a major image hangup in this country particularly. Any slight physical imperfection has to be covered up, removed or otherwise fixed. And I am NOT immune to this. For example, my hairline has been receding for quite some time, and after I began to notice it, I wouldn’t often go out in public without a hat. Though my attitude is improving on this, I have another “imperfection” which I never tried to conceal. It’s a slightly curved scar about three inches long just behind my right ear which I recieved when I was a baby and I had a shunt put in to regulate spinal fluid. I like to keep my hair very short, and this makes the scar very visible. Maybe it is because I am in a wheelchair and I know that people will probably look twice at me anyway, but I see no reason to cover my scar.
I have other scars that tell just as much of a story about my life, on my back and on my belly, but you won’t see me with my shirt off very often. And do you want to know why? Because I have a gut that could use some work. But all that tells you about me is that I don’t work out as much as I should and I don’t eat the things that I should, which is nothing to be happy about. A receding hairline might tell you about my genetics, and that I’ve worn a hat too much, which just shows you how brilliant it was trying to cover it up in the first place. My scar behind my right ear tells a lot more about where I’ve been. And it reminds me of what I can and have survived.