New York, NY

Thoughts on the first meeting from Posse member Jessica Yates…

“Hey gang!
Here are some random thoughts about our first meeting. Hopefully I will get my life together and get a chance to write about our second meeting within the week. Feel free to do what you will with this:

I’m here two days post posse. I both can’t stop thinking about out out meeting as well as my place in this life (I know how stupidly feel-y that sounds). I feel more involved with the worlds around me whilst having a firmer stance on where I am in that world. Today, I’m not focused on all the ways I am different and more focused on living the life I’m in. I guess it could all just be boiled down to say I feel less alone.

Don’t get me wrong at all, our meeting wasn’t exactly comfortable at the start. No, in actuality, I was terrified. I cannot even stomach looking at myself in a mirror when walking, so being in a room with five other “me’s” was initially horrifying. Having five people in a room that could literally fall down at any and every moment put my body into a visual perspective. If I feared for the safety and fragility of all these people then how do others feel about my body in a space. I often forget that this CP body is mine, too. I’m so used to seeing a normative that I forget that I’m actually not part of that norm. When I walked into this room, I was forced to acknowledge that this is the body I am in. I’m not normal and having a visual reminder smacked me in the face.

I did eventually settle into an acceptance of the bodies in the room, but it was not until after we started talking and this new group of humans were not to be defined by their bodies’–just as I don’t want to be defined by mine. Once I got past that, i was really nice to hear about a shared experience that we all have. It was nice to discuss my CP and not worry about making people uncomfortable.

One thing that I thought was interesting is the medical nature of our discussion. In my everyday life, I actively fight against the stigma of being seen as a medical diagnosis rather than a living, breathing, intellectual being. The fact that our introductions revolved around our medical history, rather than our personhood was jarring (but not in a bad way). Perhaps I pushed my CP aside, because I was ashamed–not because I was trying to live a full life with CP. And perhaps those introductions helped us foster empathy and connection. Still, I do think it says something about how our own bodies have been taught to us–as a medical anomaly and deviant from a medical norm.

All this being said, I’m incredibly excited to learn that things that were abnormally me, are actually a shared trait. I’m possibly not as crazy as I thought! WOOO!

That’s it for now!”