Except I did.
I threw that walker down, outright refusing to use it. I couldn't stand still without collapsing, without my knees buckling, but I was determined. With a lot of persistence and a fair amount of M&M's, I learned how to manipulate my wobbly legs. And never again did I touch that walker.
"Can-Do Girl"...that's what my parents called me, because when I was asked if I needed help, I usually replied, "I can do it."
I am still that girl in college. Sometimes I wonder if I am independent to a fault; I struggle to find the balance between being as independent as possible and asking for help when I need it.
Several times already, some of the boys on campus whom I don't even know have offered to carry my backpack.
"I'm all set, thanks, but thank you for the offer; I really appreciate that," I say, and I am unaware of the words tumbling out of my mouth, the refusal that came before I fully processed the offer. I can't even remember the last time I accepted help.
And then there are the people who see me about to use a staircase, and their faces turn to panic as they try to direct me to an elevator.
"I am all set, but thank you," I say again, feeling like a broken record. "I always take the stairs."
And the panic turns to confusion, then surprise.
One of my professors wondered yesterday why I walk all the way across campus to my class.
Can't you just get a ride? she asked.
Yes. But cerebral palsy has taught me that the easy way out is very rarely the best way; we never know what we'll be able to accomplish when we push our abilities to the limit...I can walk. I can manage my backpack. I can climb three flights of stairs. If I can do it, I will.
Just because there's an elevator doesn't mean we have to use it. I am no longer a wispy-haired two-year-old throwing down a walker, but my spirit is every bit as fierce.
I've been told that I can't. I've had my knees collapse out from under me with no warning. I've experienced the frustration that comes from having a brain that can't always tell my body what I want it to do. I know what it is like to struggle with every step. I know what it is like to feel broken.
I know what it is like, so I don't take my abilities for granted.
That is why I take the stairs.