I guess we all have our issues and some are more obvious than others. Mine are slightly more obvious than others and can be seen from the moment I meet someone. When dating this can cause all kinds of reactions from, I don’t understand what your saying and therefore have switched off 5 minutes into the conversation, to I want to know exactly what your disability is. I have been in both situations which can be both incredibly confusing. The most common reaction is to ask me to repeat myself a couple of times to repeat myself throughout the conversation.
There is no simple answer about how to present your disability on a dating website. There are a million and one different ways of doing it and it will depend on a range of different things how open you are about it. I have to be open as if I’m not and I have been in the past there is a really awkward situation and the person your meeting does not know how to react at all. Its the same when I’m meeting someone for the first time. I know they have absolutely no idea what they have just come across and my speech is affected by nerves and meeting people. What I’m always curious about is how much of the rest of my disability others see when they first meet me. I feat that I wont be able to shake someones hand or that my hand will tense up around someone when shaking it and leave me in a really super awkward situation. Its when making that first kind of contact with people that I get most nervous and self conscious.
I don’t think there are any simple answers to the question above as it depends on the person and situation. If I meet someone who is sensitive in a relatively quiet place they are likely to understand most of what I say. No one gets everything so i have to walk into situations thinking if i can make myself understood 75% of the time that will be good.
I have always found 1 to 1 situations better in terms of people understanding me. There tend to be less distractions and its easier for them to concentrate n what i’m saying. The very worst situations are the ones where i’m in a noisy space and trying to talk to someone who i’ve just been introduced to. This can backfire in so many ways. The worst is when your introduced and two minutes later they say they need to talk and just shove you out of the conversation. There are times where i am just ignored and talked over because the other people find it easier to talk to one another than pay enough attention to talk to me. This can happen with friends as well which can be very challenging as it means that people who know my speech cant be asked to listen.
The places that feel least comfortable are where it is most popular to meet new people which is a large reason I have found it so difficult to make lasting relationships. A great example of this is when I’m going to the pub or a bar where i don’t know people that well and may not see them again. Walking into unknown social circles can be daunting, so imagine life where every interaction weather it be social work or otherwise related being like that and you have some indication of the way that it is for me. I have learnt to ignore most of the idiots in this world but it takes a bit of effort to get me and most people just don’t understand or are put off by the way that I talk.
I want to share a video from youtube that is on Living with Cerebral Palsy. Its about introducing yourself from a different perspective than me but saying the same message.
I have had a lot of reactions to my disability over the course of my life. when i meet most people they know very quickly something is wrong because as soon as i open my mouth my speech impairment comes out as well as what I’m saying. My speech is not too bad but it does raise questions for people when they first meet me the most common of which is “What on earth did that guy just say?” After a while people do get more used to my voice but the time it takes depends on how often they are interacting with me.
There are a number of reactions the first is to carry on as it they have understood just what I’ve said. This is annoying because i can be saying one thing and the other person says something that makes no sense or is not how I expect them to respond. I normally repeat what I say if I think the situation would benefit.
If there are multiple participants in the conversation I can find it hard to get into the conversation and when I do people can find it very easy to not listen to what i have to say as it is harder for them to catch the content. They tend to ignore me in the least harsh way possible. This is especially true in loud situations like crowds and where there is loud music. I have found myself cut off in a lot of social situations such as clubs and bars where there is loud music playing. This has not stopped me going to them but has meant that I have found it a lot harder socially when I have got there.
I also get the people who just switch off when i talk to them. This is more difficult to deal with as they are just not interested because I can’t talk properly. These people are rare but they do exist and they annoy me a lot especially when I am going to have to interact with them multiple times.
My life changed a lot when I was born. I don’t think anyone had any idea of the changes that were going on but it was to have an effect on my entire life. I have a mild form of cerebral palsy and have had to make various adaptations to my life in order to deal with it. Perhaps the biggest is the fact that I would probably have been right handed if I didn’t have my condition. As it is I have to do almost everything with my left hand side as the right is affected. This has not been easy but I have learned how to do almost everything with my left hand because I don’t have a choice. It did take me more time to learn how to do stuff and I always have to think slightly harder than other people when I’m trying something for the first time. A great example is cutting food up when its being prepared of on my plate. I was useless at cutting up food when I was young. Even now I can make a real mess when I cutting up my food and it always takes me longer to cut tough things like meat or bread.
My disability does not hole me back from doing stuff because it is part of who I am and it won’t change. I’m lucky in the fact that I’m completely mobile and have never had any real issues getting around. I am a can do person and the way is see the world is if anyone else can do it why cant I. That’s the way its been for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of me seeing my family on the ridge of a Scottish mountain on a beautiful summers day and thinking that I woul make it up there one day. That didn’t take fvery long as aged 7 I was on the top of a Munro and it is something I continue to really enjoy to this day.
I think im pretty good at makind people see my disability for what it is but there are times whenit gets in the way. My speech impediment is probably the single biggest thing that holds me back. I can talk and will have my say at every juncture but I just need people to wait for a bit longer in order for me to get my words out and it is more difficult for people to understnd what I am saying. I absolutely hate hearing my voice recorded and have horrors about the way.