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Kayla's Blog

My Story

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On this page, I will periodically provide updates about what's going on in my life. These updates won't be on a regular basis because I stay so busy.

July 5, 2000

I'm still writing my disability column for my local newspaper, but I've been considering branching out into more writing directions. Thanks to my best friend, Rose, who sent my Mother's Day column to her local newspaper editor, the article was published in another newspaper located in a different state than where I live. That editor suggested I syndicate an interactive disability column where the readers could be involved. I'm considering that intriguing idea!

I also have other writing projects in mind such as writing an autobiography or compiling personal essays in a book. I think compiling short essays is a more obtainable goal for me right now because writing short pieces is easier to write than long ones. I lose interest in writing a long manuscript, and it's hard to find the time to complete such a huge project. Hopefully, I'll write an autobiography one of these days, but I need to try to get some of my smaller pieces published in national newspapers and magazines first.

Lately, I've had to cut back on the amount of time I spend on my computer because of low back pain. I guess so many years of bending over typing with my nose has taken a toll on my back. My back problem is also hindering me from doing as many writing projects as I once did. I'll turn 30 later this month, and I'm certainly feeling my age! I know 30 is not old, but it's the first birthday that I have really dreaded.

I still believe the computer and the Internet are wonderful tools for individuals with all types of disabilities. Because of my speech impairment, it's very difficult for me to communicate on the phone, so e-mail and the world wide web has open a new world of communication for me! Thanks to the Internet, I'm in contact with people with CP and other disabilities. For example, my deaf friend and I wouldn't be able to communicate with each other without a computer or a TTY (tela-typewriter). Not only am I able to be in touch with family and friends I already knew before I had Internet access, but I've met many new online friends.

Here are a few of my friends I've met on the web:

* Christyna has mild CP, and she enjoys writing like I do. She recently became the Editorial Assistant of a magazine for the Humane Society. We have been corresponding for the last few years ever since we met through my disabilities board. I think we have a lot in common.

* Zen and Shay is an "unique" couple whom are truly inspiring! Although Zen has CP and Shay does not, they decided to follow their hearts that led them to love in spite of all the obstacles they would obviously have to face. They are currently engaged. We also met through my message board.

* JC has a vision impairment, but she hasn't allowed her disability to slow her down! She's currently taking college classes, and she has an interest in writing. She likes to advocate for the rights of the disabled. We share an interest in music.

* Levi is my newest online friend, and he's from Wyoming. Although he has CP, he's very active in his school and community. During the summer, he's working at the county clerk's office, and he's the senior class president at his high school. He recently created his own web site, and we met when he told me about his site via e-mail.

Some of the links to my friends' sites are including on this page if you would like to check them out. I'm sure you will enjoy learning more about them from their web sites.

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June 27, 2002

When I started writing this online journal, I had planned to write more regular updates, but it seemed like I never had time because I'm always busy doing something. A couple of my net friends have requested that I write an update about what has been happening in my life, so I decided to make time to do it. The last two years has definitely been exciting for me, which I'll explain why in this entry.

I'm still writing a regular column pertaining to disability issues for my local newspaper. An interview that I conducted with my maternal grandmother was published in a book of oral histories of local people. The books authors were in the writing group that I belong to, so I suggested to them that they interview my grandmother for their book project. While they were visiting Maw-Maw and I to discuss the possibility of an interview, Maw-Maw shocked and embarrassed me when she asked them if I could interview her because she would feel more comfortable talking to me. Surprisingly, they allowed me to conduct and transcribe the entire interview, and I sincerely appreciated their confidence in my writing ability. It was exciting and an honor to be a small contributor to a book!

I've suffered a few personal tragedies including my paternal grandmother's passing in March 2001 and the unexpected deaths of a couple of other family members. The most exciting thing that has happened since my last journal entry is that I've met a very special man! Although I had a few boyfriends when I was in elementary school, I've never had a real romantic relationship during my adolescent years and through my 20s. Not being asked on dates when I was in high school was disappointing and frustrating, so that's probably why I concentrated so much on academics because it helped me keep my self-esteem up to be considered a good student.

Not having a significant other bothered me more after I graduated from high school because most of my classmates were getting married and having families, and I felt like I was being left behind. Although I desired a man's attention, I kept these feelings to myself because I didn't think a man would want to date a woman who had so many physical limitations that I have. I tried to accept that dating was probably one of the things I would never experience because of my CP. So, I concentrated on my writing because it gave me something meaningful to do with my life.

When I first got the Internet, I vowed to myself (and my parents) that I wouldn't give people who I met online too much personal information about myself because I'm well aware that there are con artists online waiting to pounce. I had no intention of starting a romantic relationship with anyone who I happened to meet online, but I felt safe e-mailing people who visit this site and who e-mail me. (In fact, I met so many nice people on the net that it has become very difficult for me to stay in touch with all of them.) I also believed that if any man showed a romantic interest in me, he must have ulterior motives because I didn't think I could be attractive to anyone thanks to my disability.

In October 2000, I received a nice e-mail from a man who had visited my site, and he was complimentary about my site. Matt also told me that he had mild CP and that he was in a country music band. Although I already knew we had at least two things in common since we both have CP and are music fans, there wasn't anything unusual about his e-mail except he also sent a photo of himself taken during one of his concerts. I did wonder why he sent me a picture, but I didn't think of it as being anything except a friendly gesture. He also mentioned that he wanted to create a web site too, but he didn't know if he could. So, I e-mailed him back and told him that I was sure he could do it since I had created one, and I gave him a few tips about how to start a site.

He e-mailed me back and said he was going to nickname me "Lightning" because I had replied so quickly. This comment made me laugh, and I soon found out he has a great sense of humor and is a natural born comedian. We soon became great friends as we learned we had more and more in common, and we e-mailed each other almost every day.

As our friendship grew, I began to wonder if he was attracted to me by the little things that he said. Although I remembered my promise to myself about not starting a romantic relationship on the net, I was also attracted to him, but I didn't admit this to him right away. He made me feel very special when he told me for the first time that I was beautiful, but I was convinced he just said that to be nice. For the first time in my life, I felt like a real woman because no other man had shown an attraction to me before! Although I thought Matt was a wonderful guy whom I was beginning to trust more and more, I knew I had to be extremely careful.

I wasn't sure what to do when he asked for my address because he wanted to mail me a video of a performance by the band that he's in. I ignored his question for a while, but he kept asking it ever so often. My parents knew we had been e-mailing for almost a month, so I asked them about what I should do. I was surprised when they told me it would be all right if I gave him our address, and that's what I did. I couldn't believe how nervous I was when I started watching the video because this the first time I saw Matt playing his guitar! I enjoyed the concert very much, and I especially liked watching Matt. I only wished there had been more close-ups of him.

As a Christmas gift that year, I made him a video of me at home. I didn't know what he would think when he saw my awkward movements, and I believed he wouldn't be able to understand what I said. He seemed to really like the video since he told me I should go to Hollywood. (Yes, he's a sweet talker!) I was pleasantly surprised when he commented on some of the things I said on the video because that showed me that he understood my impaired speech.

We started chatting on the net in December. He surprised me once again because he didn't seem to mind at all that I was a slow typist when we chatted, and he enjoyed chatting with me for hours at a time. We soon called our conversations on the net "chat dates," which became a weekly ritual for us. I enjoyed these dates immensely as Matt and I got to know each other better.

Soon Matt asked me for my phone number, but I was hesitant about giving it to him. I felt more comfortable chatting with him on the net because my other friends have a very difficult time understanding me, especially on the phone, so I was sure Matt would also have trouble. He gave me his phone number and kept reassuring me that he would be able to understand me because he had been around other disabled people all his life. After a few months, I finally called him. Even though I allowed him to do most of the talking that first time, I was pleasantly surprised that he understood what I did say.

We began talking on the phone more frequently, and it amazed me how well Matt could understand almost everything I said! No one outside of my immediate family has ever been able to understand my speech that well so quickly. He says he can understand me because he attended school with other disabled students, and he always had the ability to understand his classmates with speech problems even though some of them had worse verbal impairments than I do. I believe he is blessed with a special gift to be able to communicate with speech impaired individuals so well! It's so wonderful to be able to talk to him and not worry about whether he can understand me!

The next challenge Matt and I faced was meeting each other in person because we live many miles away from each other. My parents were willing to take me to meet Matt at his home, but we had to find someone to drive us because they aren't comfortable about driving on long trips. My uncle and aunt were kind enough to be our chauffeurs, so we headed to meet Matt in May 2001.

Since it was late in the evening when we arrived in the town where he lives because it took us approximately eight hours to get there, we decided to wait until the next day to meet Matt. I barely slept at all that night at the motel because I was so excited and nervous about meeting him! As we drove the short distance to his house the next morning, I kept wondering if I had lost my mind because I couldn't believe what I was doing. It seemed surreal that I was actually going to meet the guy that I thought of as my boyfriend. This was definitely the wildest thing I have ever done!

Matt came out to greet us as we got out of the car. Everyone had gotten out except me, who was still in the back seat. I watched Matt as he chatted with my family, and I wondered if he would ever look my way! Finally, he smiled and waved at me, so I smiled and waved back. Mom told me to come on out of the car since I was taking my time because I didn't know if my legs would hold me up since my knees felt so weak. I remember Matt walking backwards in front of us as he watched Mom help me walk up the ramp to his home, and I wondered what he was thinking about me.

That was the beginning of a very special and memorable time for me as Matt and I spent our first two days together. He showered me with gifts and made me feel like a lady by insisting to pay for my meal when we ate at a restaurant. Since I had never dated before, all the little things that we did like holding hands and watching the stars appear in the evening sky were magical and romantic!

I was probably more nervous about meeting Matt's parents than I was about meeting him because I didn't know how they would feel about Matt dating someone with so many physical limitations as I have. Matt's CP is much different than mine because he's able to do more for himself. In fact, he lives independently. I was pleasantly surprised that his parents treated me like I didn't have a disability, and they seemed genuinely happy that Matt and I are dating.

Although I haven't had a chance to visit Matt since then, he has visited me three times. His parents came with him the first two times, but he drove the long way by himself the last trip he made in April to see me. It meant a lot to me to know that he cares enough about me to drive all that way just to be with me for a few days! Not many of my friends who live close to me will take the time to visit me as often as Matt does.

September 11, 2001 was a tragic and terrifying day that all Americans will always remember, and it was certainly a memorable day and week for me! Matt was visiting me that week, so we watched all the horrifying news coverage of the terrorist attack. I certainly had mixed emotions then because I was excited and happy to be with Matt, but I also felt sadness, fear, confusion, and anger about what was happening in New York. I'm glad Matt and I were together on that day because it was comforting to be with him.

Matt and I stay in constant contact by e-mail or chatting on the net and phone, and we're looking forward to the next time we can be together. I have a link to Matt's web site (Jamin' With C.P.) on all my pages, which I encourage you to visit to learn more about him and how he became a guitarist in spite of his disability. (He's a great musician, and of course, I'm his biggest fan!) We're planning to create a new web site about our special relationship; so hopefully, we'll have it up soon.

Although I now know that it's possible to meet trustworthy people on the Internet, I still believe it's best to use extreme caution before deciding to divulge too much personal info to anyone. I don't know when my next journal update will be, but I hope you enjoyed reading this one.

* * * * *

June 12, 2004

 I think it's time to give another update about my life. Matt and I had a wonderful romantic relationship for the last 3 years, and we had even become engaged. I've always been a romantic at heart, but I never believed a man could love me as much as Matt did in spite of my disabilities. I also truly loved him. However, I always had fears about how we would managed everything if we did get married since we both have CP, so those fears finally became too stressful for me to handle. I recently told Matt that I thought it was best if we were just friends. It has been a difficult time for both of us, but I believe this was the best decision for Matt and me. I'll always treasure the many great memories that we've shared, and I'm glad that we can still be friends. I sincerely wish the best for Matt.

I'm still writing occasionally, but I've always wanted to learn more about computers and graphic design. So, I'm considering taking online computer classes. I think trying to learn more about something that I enjoy will keep my mind occupied and give me a new goal to strive for during this time of transition for me. I'll write more when further developments in my life occur. Best wishes until then!

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To learn more about my life with cerebral palsy, please visit my other site:

My Story page
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FRIENDS' LINKS

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Jamin' With C.P.

Kim's Site: How I Cope With Cerebral Palsy

Levi's Watkins Site

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Mikki's "Grandma's House" site