So for the most part to my knowledge, my friends are not like me. They don't have CP. To my knowledge they all happen to be able-bodied. I never befriended any of the kids that were like me, that had CP or other disabilities. Why? Because the school system kept me separate from the special needs kids. Because having such mild cerebral palsy, even I thought to myself, I hope I'm not coming off like them.
What does like them mean even? Well it means the stereotypical disabled person, unable to communicate with the normal world, without being talked down to like that of a four year old. It means the ones sitting there drooling uncontrollably, tapping a hand at their chest, as others sit there and imitate them. I always hoped I did not fit the stereotype, and so I hid my CP as long as I could from my friends. Until I needed a hand with something in PE.
Even to this day I don't discuss it first thing with my friends, I wait till I need a hand, and then explain. I worry that if I tell people I have CP first thing, they won't bother getting to know me on a friend level, but rather as a person with a lower intelligence level that they must take care of. Now granted that's not really giving my friends that much credit. My friends are awesome, and have treated me normally, even after finding out. It just made them more likely to stop and ask if I needed a hand with stairs, or something like that. I would be screwed without them. They really have proven themselves as friends to me. They've been there through my graduations, my first jobs, as well as my parents separating, and my bouts of depression and anxiety. They've answered those late night panicked calls, and offered up solutions to my problems, and to this day I am amazed that any of them saw me through those roughest days. Yes I am truly lucky to call them my friends.