Whenever I mention to someone that I have begun training in Combat Hapkido, their immediate response is "Why?" My answer? "A bunch of different things". I hope in this blog I can take the time to be a little clearer than that, but first, you all need a little history.
As I mentioned earlier, I have cerebral palsy. This puts me at a physical disadvantage against those who would try to harm me, making me an easy target for someone who needs a victim. My mom knew this, and from a young age, asked everyone who might know what the best way to teach me self defense was. However, no one really had a viable solution. My mom's paranoia made me so afraid of the world, I can't even begin to describe it. Then, I began to be afraid of her.
My differences from my peers were glaringly obvious to mom. She was constantly telling me all the different ways I was "not normal". She singled me out for my height, my weight, my personality (very sensitive), my lack of walking ability, inability to cook/clean, the number of tasks I needed to modify to succeed at them, the slow speed at which I accomplished tasks that were easy for everyone able bodied...you name it, she used it as a weapon.
I truly believe she was at first only trying to make me aware of these things so that I would learn to compensate for them. But as time went on they turned to being things she hated about me, things she felt reflected on her, because what parent wants a kid that's any less than perfect. My able bodied little brother Jason, able to do the things I never could, only highlighted my flaws when she mentally compared him to me. After his birth, the gentle reminders became screaming matches, became punishments. I was being blamed for things I could not control. I was singled out in front of my friends and family, and in public as well. Each harsh word was another blow.
Even school, somewhere I have always excelled, became a nightmare when I was told I deserved inappropriate treatment (abuse, inappropriate touching) by teachers and personal assistants. Bullies reinforced what Mom was saying, making things worse. Most of mom's abuse was psychological, and the few teachers I had that believed me claimed they could do nothing. Sophomore year I attempted suicide, and was finally diagnosed with clinical depression, though Mom sabotaged my progress by promising to change when confronted by my counselor, and then screaming at me for telling the truth and going back to her old ways when we were alone. This continued through my first year of college, causing my grades to drop, and me to really struggle.
I met and fell in love with my fiancee Chad when I was at Bradley University, and he is the one who finally helped me to identify that the attitude my parents had toward the challenges I face is what was holding me back. After a nightmarish struggle and confrontation I ended up moving in with him and his mom Robbie.
Shortly after doing so I was diagnosed with GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder which led to panic attacks. After losing control of my life for awhile I finally got the courage to go back to school. I have been a college student ever since and have a 4.0 GPA as well as membership in Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honor society. I am working toward a bachelors degree in Special Education
I think this is a good place to conclude the history lesson for tonight.
Thanks for listening,