‘My thoughts and reflections on surviving’
Today, I will be digging deep into my feelings about what my dad did to me back in June of 1993. I can only imagine that many people who have dealt with physical abuse from a parent often fall into a similar pattern. That being depression, self-blame, confusion, and even sometimes beginning to loathe yourself to an extent. Feeling all the emotions long after my injury, none of that is a piece of cake, and it never will be even though I am strong on the power of positivity. Acknowledging my thoughts, listening to my heart, and realizing who I am through the years has got me to a point where more than ever, I feel like I’m in the right position to share my deepest feelings on my child abuse story. My hopes are that this article can help anyone out there who, too, has been in the abuse boat.
I’d get the question “why can’t you walk?”
“I was child abused by my dad when I was nine months old.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said that sentence. Or typed it out. My mom was honest with me from day one and informed me that I needed a wheelchair because my dad had broken my back. When I was a little girl, and I’d get the question “why can’t you walk?” in elementary school or on the playground outside of my house, I’d freeze up. It would put me in a state of anxiety. I didn’t know how to answer that. I honestly can’t remember when the change took place. Still, eventually, a time came where, if someone didn’t ask me why I was riding in a wheelchair, I would straight up ask them if they’d like to know why I have one. I’ve never gotten a no. To this day, in 2021, I break the ice first most times. It makes me feel good that something which once upon a time had me feeling beyond uneasy to talk about has me feeling empowered to state today.
It does not define me.
Like yes. I have been through a bad trauma, but no, it does not define me. I am not ashamed of who I am and why I am literally rolling with life today. What happened to me is not okay. I don’t mean to come off as glamorizing something so awful. I mean to say that being a survivor of childhood abuse should not make you feel embarrassed. Ever. IF anything, you need to be proud of your strength. Even though explaining my background isn’t hard anymore, it doesn’t mean all the hard stuff is long gone and past me. It’s not. Not even close.
Having the ability to walk is not something I long to have.
The hardest part about being paralyzed for me is not that I can’t walk. I honestly don’t care about that. Having the ability to walk is not something I long to have. I don’t feel lost in regards to not standing up. It doesn’t feel like a part of me is missing or anything. I got my first chair when I was two years old, and life with wheels is all I can remember. It’s all I know. I had a conversation with someone not long ago, and I told them basically what I am saying right now. I don’t need to walk to be happy. Legs don’t define happiness. I finished my sentence with them, and then they continued on to say they were so sorry I had to live this way. People don’t get it. They won’t get it. And I can’t expect them to since they’re not me.
You have to live it to know it.
I used to think the more articles I wrote, the more speaking videos I made; that eventually, someone who thought life was close to unbearable without walking would FINALLY get it and see the light. It’s not something that can be understood through an explanation. You have to live it to know it. Want to know the most challenging part about being paralyzed? It’s knowing that one of my parents, who was supposed to love and protect me unconditionally, is the reason I have a wheelchair, to begin with. While I am happy with my life, with who I am, who I’ve become…
“I’ll always have a feeling that makes my heart hurt when I think of him and his role in my life story. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I’m silent. Feeling. It’s painful, but I want to allow myself to feel it. I don’t want to block out reality. I want to continue to live with full acknowledgment of what happened and find grace in being able to face it. He did take one of my abilities away, but not the ability that matters most as a human being. I am still happy without working legs. I don’t need them, never did, to have a life worth living.”Courtney Cirabisi
Monsters are all around us in this world. Sometimes, closer than we’d even think.
The fact I had to go through this at all, the reality that it is my dad’s fault….that is one hard pill to swallow. I can’t wrap my head around why a grown man, much less a human being with a heart, would want to hurt their child. Imagine the feelings that rush in as I’m trying to analyze this. I would think at this point anyone would feel the way I have before…to wonder in the back of their mind, ‘is it something I did to set him off. Even though I KNOW in the deepest part of my soul, that is not true. I can’t do that. I don’t allow that to continue. None of this was my fault. There is nothing I could have ever done that would have changed him or the outcome. Monsters are all around us in this world. Sometimes, closer than we’d even think. Sometimes they live with us. You’ve got to remember what I remind myself…the abuse we encountered is not something we EVER deserved. We were just in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person. Days of self-blame need to be gone for good for your own mental well-being.
I received more life-changing news.
Before I continued…tons of people knew why I was paralyzed. Still, until now, they aren’t aware that after his four years in prison for child carelessness’, after I had reached my twenties, I received more life-changing news. A confession was given, and I found out that what happened to me was no accident. It was beyond being a reckless parent. He admitted that he had intentionally tried to end my life, and what happened instead was I became paralyzed. He went on to say he had a bad childhood and was jealous of my fresh start. So after the prison sentence had been done, once he could no longer be held accountable in the eyes of the law, is when he finally spoke the truth.
I almost lost my life because of him…
It was disgusting to me. Not that I’d ever really had any type of relationship with him after my parents divorced after I had gotten hurt, but I knew then that I was done. Someone so vile and cruel would never have the opportunity to be present in my life again. He helped bring me into this world. This is the only way I really view him in a positive light. That’s about the only credit he will get from me. The pain he put me through. Knowing I almost lost my life because of him…knowing there was a loss that is entirely his fault and was done intentionally..there is no room for a person like that in my life. Family or not.
I still don’t know how to wrap my head around that confession.
To this day, I still don’t know how to wrap my head around that confession. I am aware I don’t need to put too much thought into it whenever I do think about it. What matters, what I should focus on always, is that I’m still here. I survived. I am a conqueror. Whereas he, for the rest of his life, has to live with the title ‘child abuser.’ I am the winner here. I won’t ever allow myself to forget that.
Sometimes I cry.
There is a sadness in my heart that even after all these years has not gone away, and to be perfectly honest, I am aware it will never fully go away. It’ll always be there, even if it’s just slight. I’ll always have a feeling that makes my heart hurt when I think of him and his role in my life story. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I’m silent. Feeling. It’s painful, but I want to allow myself to feel it. I don’t want to block out reality. I want to continue to live with full acknowledgment of what happened and find grace in being able to face it. He did take one of my abilities away, but not the ability that matters most as a human being. I am still happy without working legs. I don’t need them, never did, to have a life worth living.
Everything happens for a reason.
I got injured the day I took my first steps. It’s so strange to think there was once a time when I could feel and move my whole body. That life seems so far away. I have become a firm believer that everything in life, the big things especially, happen for a reason. I’d like to talk a bit about losses and the gain that comes with them. Thinking this way more often than not can help you count your blessings more than your problems.
I lost….my ability to walk…I gained…one hell of a strong mind after everything I’ve been through.
I lost…my dad…I gained…the wisdom that you do NOT need two parents to grow up happy. All you need is someone there for you who loves you.
I lost…the feeling in my legs…I gained…more feelings in my heart than I think I ever would have had otherwise.
I am going to get into more detail about the last one. I feel it’s very important to discuss exactly what I mean.
It makes me appreciate what I still have.
If I hadn’t ever gotten injured, I think I would have taken walking for granted without even meaning to. It’s human nature. We get so used to having the things we have that we can’t really picture life without them. Unintentionally we subconsciously tell ourselves, “oh, I’ll never lose this.” It’s a safe way of thinking. Seems logical too. Why would we lose things most people don’t have taken from them anyway, right? Well, not walking, my body going through an intense injury, makes me not take my health for granted. It makes me appreciate what I still have. I am one of those people who knows the things we have a right to can be taken in the blink of an eye. Living my life with this on my mind helps me be more in the moment and appreciate what still remains.
There is a life after abuse.
Becoming paralyzed has been a real eye-opener for me on so many levels. I learned soon after I was born, even though I didn’t fully mentally process it as an infant, that sometimes the one we should be able to count on to protect us will do what they can to destroy us. It’s scary. It’s heartbreaking. It’s awful. But we are not what happens to us. We are who we choose to become after these terrible things are over with. I promise you, there is a life after abuse. I will continue to write about the joys of overcoming obstacles and beating the odds. Thank you for your time.
#PushLiving #WheelchairLifestyle #Empowering #ChildAbuseStory #Hope #Empowering #Inspiration #InspireOthers #Motivational #Positivity #WheelchairGirl #WheelchairLife
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