October 6, 2017 is Cerebral palsy awareness day, and March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month. I used to dread these dates. It took 20 years to discover and accept the courage needed to start speaking about such a profound part of my life. Why should I praise something that makes me so different than everyone else with the world telling me it is important to fit in, and to do the same things as everyone else?

My name is Alyssa Brown. I was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia, CP at the age of two after coming into this world 9 and a half weeks early with a lack of oxygen to the brain.

For 20 years I was hiding who I truly was. I even hid my emotions while pursuing my first college degree. I received my first degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences because I believed society wanted me to be a counselor, because they believed I was not capable of the career I wanted. I wanted to help others find their potential, but I didn’t know how.  How could I help others if I wasn’t true to myself? I now believe my calling is to share my story through writing about my daily life and overcoming obstacles.

Aly's tattoo, and daily reminder to have hope

Aly’s tattoo, and daily reminder to have hope

Sometimes it takes a best friend and a tattoo to open your eyes to the actual reason you were put on this earth. The motto behind Cerebral Palsy is to have hope in every situation. I didn’t really understand the meaning behind hope until my best friend told me how much of a difference I can make in my life and those around me when I share pieces of my story.

I have had to have hope for my entire life, it was just hidden from people, even from me. People would often think that I wasn’t capable of breathing on my own, caring for myself, being independent or going to a mainstream school. I want to do everything everyone else can. I do, it just may take longer, or it has to be done differently. I am independent. I go to college, and I even drive, but it isn’t easy.

I’ve had to have hope my entire life because how can I be sure that I can do the same things that everyone else can if my brain is damaged and my feet lost the connection on how to move independently because of that damage?

Hope is the answer. Hope has made me defy the odds and do many things that others thought I couldn’t. As long as I believe in my precious heart that I can do something, it will happen.
Remember that best friends, hope and faith can get you through anything. You were put on this earth to stand out, be different and tell a story that no one else can.