Living the Disabled Life: A Rant

Post by Ashley Kreutter for the Love for Love series.

image courtesy of ThePaperPoppyStore on

I’ve just returned home from my graduate school residency. I’m exhausted from running (rolling?) around campus for ten days, having to plan out rides to and from the cafeteria, and taking time to do assignments, write up my ?nal study plan and deal with my raging anxiety. I had moments during the ?rst few days where I went to my room with a ?erce migraine and sobbed. By residency’s end I was more than half dead, dragging myself from point A to point B, trying to stay awake through lecture and guzzling blueberry Red Bull. I was exhausted but I was okay with it.I was born with Cerebral Palsy, a birth defect that affects the signals between my brain and my body. It makes my balance off kilter and I have to use crutches or a walker to get around. I also have hydrocephalus, an increase of cerebrospinal ?uid (CSF) around my brain. In my case it caused headaches and increased intracranial pressure. I needed to have a shunt inserted from the front of my brain down to my abdomen. The shunt pulls excess ?uid from the skull and drains it into my abdominal cavity.

Despite all this, I try to live a normal life. I go shopping, I do yoga, I’m getting my MFA. I was in normal classes all through elementary school and in AP classes in high school. I moved ?ve hours away from my family to attend undergrad and then I stayed ?ve hours away to attend grad school. I hate being gawked at. I hate being babied or pitied. I can do everything that everyone else can (within reason).

I guess I just want people to realize that young adults with disabilities can live normal lives and do nearly everything that anyone else can. I mean, I may have to do things a bit differently than everyone else and my life involves more planning than most, but I’m the same as everyone else. Try talking to me and you’ll realize it, too.


Ashley Kreutter is a 25-year-old MFA student studying poetry at New England College. She
loves reading, music, coffee and her cat, Faulkner. She’s a yogini, an aspiring doula and an
obsessive Placebo fan. She lives in New Hampshire

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