Tylia Flores is a 22-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination.
Dear 15-year-old me,
Where do I begin? You have been through so many challenges and obstacles, but you have made it this far already. Now, you are a highly independent woman with a passion for writing.
You have overcome so much in your life, so don’t give up now just because other people continually judge you by the fact that you have to wear those big clown shoes and big, plastic leg braces.
Don’t don’t be ashamed of who you are. Embrace the woman that you have become, the fact that you are unique and stand out like a sunflower. Embrace the person that you are today, and love yourself despite the wheels that reflect you and the chair that is built behind you.
Although it may seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there is. One day, you’re going to be thankful for every life experience you’ve had, and you are going to inspire others with the words you type.
So, don’t listen to the English teacher who said you cheated on the test. Don’t listen to the teachers who say you will never get a regular diploma. Reach for the stars because you will become something more significant than what you thought you would be.
Also, don’t worry about the friends who left your side when you made the choice to homeschool so that you could have a better a change to reach for the stars. It may also seem like Mommy is getting on nerves as you sit down with her for hours and she yells at you to do your Live Listens and DBAs. You act so overly-dramatic, but she’s only doing that because she loves you and knows what’s best for you. Trust me, it will be all worth it in the end.
You will make it to graduation day, and your friends will help you get into your cap and gown proud of who you are.
Don’t you worry about the little things, like that boyfriend of yours who does not see your condition as a marvelous thing about you because one day, you’ll move on to someone who does love you for you and your ex will be the one wishing he had loved you the way he should have.
Don’t worry about your biological father not being in your life. You will soon realize that his absence in your life is all part of God’s plan for you. Your biological father is also going to be an important part of the story you will tell millions one day when you start advocating for people like you
And please I also know you’re grieving your lost friend, but he is in a better place now. He is finally free of pain, so let him rest in peace. He’s always watching over you.
Don’t give up on yourself. You’ll walk across that stage and graduate. You’ll start advocating for people with cerebral palsy. You’ll soon find your passion for writing. You’ll be a champion, so please don’t give up.
22-year old Tylia