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13th September 2016

I’m a Warrior, Not a Victim

As a writer, I have my selection of favourite words in the English language. Words like orang-utan, spiralizer, and cocoon. However, to me, the best word in the English language is: warrior.

While for some of you this word might generate images of brave men fighting, to me it means something quite different. To me, it means a tough person, a fighter, a tenacious believer. If you were to look up warrior in a dictionary, do you know what the definition would say? It would say: a soldier, usually one who has experience or skill in fighting. I am a warrior because I have taken the experience that my fight against cerebral palsy has given me and become a soldier.

Now on to my least favourite words: sludge, fungus and victim.

Victim is a terrible word. If you were to look up victim in a dictionary the definition would read something like: someone or something that has been hurt, damaged, killed or has suffered. As someone with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and scoliosis, too many times have I been labelled a victim.Yet look at the words in that definition. I have not been hurt. I have not been damaged. I have most certainly not been killed.

Another word often associated with the word victim is the verb to suffer. If you look up the definition of suffer, it reads: to experience physical or mental pain.

Well, my back causes me pain some days, and I’ll never be able to run upstairs or even go to the toilet on my own. But on the other hand, I have friends and family that love me, and a warm, cosy roof over my head. Lots of other people don’t have those, so I guess it’s all about perspective.

I only suffer if I choose to suffer.

Too many times, the words ‘cerebral palsy’ and ‘sufferer’ go hand in hand, as if my disability is a life sentence, a punishment. But I do not suffer. I rise.

There will always be someone waiting to tell you that you can’t. There will always be people judging you. So we must defeat them by our actions, by rising against the odds, by showing them and telling them loud and clear “yes we can”, despite our condition. If you want to fight, it’s up to you to put on the combats and the armour. The world is a battlefield, and it will not be kind to you. However, know this: You can become a victim, and you will suffer mentally and physically.

You too can become a warrior, but first you have to fight. You have to fight because if you don’t, the world will make you a victim.  Your own attitude will make you a victim. Life will make you a victim.The day you stop fighting, the day you decide that you are going to be a victim; this is the day you will start to suffer.

Or you can become a warrior, and you will use your experience in fighting to defeat the people that told you that you couldn’t.

The choice is up to you. But I know which one I’d rather be.