Your Truth: Broke The Mold

Twenty five years ago, shortly after I took my first breath, society along with the help of some doctors slapped a label onto me image2to be forever attached: I was going to live the rest of my life with Cerebral Palsy (CP). For those who don’t know, in simple terms CP affects the delivery of messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Imagine inviting someone to a party, they receive your invitation and have every intention of showing up on time, but as hard as you’ve tried to get them to show up to things on time they are always late, without fail. That’s pretty much how my brain works. I drop something, I can see that I dropped it and know that I want to pick it up, but the speed in which I complete the task is slower than most; parts of my brain are always fashionably late to the party. As a result this leads to a weakness in balance and some fine motor skills causing me to have to get around using both crutches and a wheelchair.

In the early stages some doctors believed that I might never read, speak or even write. While some people living with CP may have difficulties with these tasks I feel extremely fortunate to say that those doctors were wrong when it came to me. These assistive devices will forever be a staple in my life. They are items I will never be able to hide and parts of me that I have learned to accept and love; I will never let them define me as a person or what I am capable of accomplishing.

As I have gotten older I have realized that society has a hard time accepting the idea that although multiple copies of the same label may be given to a variety of people –not everyone with CP is going to look or act the same way. I am extremely proud to be a woman of great beauty, strength and intelligence all while living with CP, not “despite having CP”.

image1“You are so beautiful – it’s a shame you have to use that chair,” some say. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in a wheelchair,” I have heard from others. These comments do not anger me nor do they deeply offend me. More than anything they frustrate me because I believe we should and very well could live in a world where both beauty and what makes you different can coexist without confusion or exception.

I started doing CrossFit in 2012 because I love to constantly break the mold. This is an intense workout regimen for your average athlete, but what would happen if someone with CP was up for the challenge – would that be acceptable? There was only one way for me to find out.  It’s been three years since my first workout, and I can say with every ounce of confidence in my body that doing CrossFit is and always has been acceptable for anyone that wants to take on the challenge. Over the last three years I have had the privilege of being an example of possibility to thousands of people, and I couldn’t be more willing or grateful for the opportunity. Through the CrossFit community and its culture I have been able to find true happiness, confidence and purpose. Each day I wake up and I’m excited to see who I will meet, what I can learn and how I will grow.

In the last five years I would say I have created the best version of myself. When I first entered the world the list of things that limited me outweighed my possible successes. Now I am able to say the opposite is true, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a young woman who believes she was born with a loud voice meant to be heard, a beautiful face meant to be seen and a difference meant to be noticed because a few molds needed to be broken.

 

Steph Hammerman is the world’s first L2-CrossFit Trainer with Cerebral Palsy. She entered the world making it quite clear that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with and hopes that before she leaves she will have made an impact that is impossible to be forgotten. This is the story of a woman who is proud to have broken the mold.

Author: Grown Up Truth team

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2 Comments

  1. I’m Steph’s mom. I sat there while the Dr’s told us she may never walk, talk, write, live independently, etc… Well, she’s defied all the odds and I have always said G-d has given Steph her beauty and her ability to communicate so that she can be an advocate for people who are differently abled!

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  2. YOU ARE INDEED A REMARKABLE PERSON YOUR GRANDMOTHER ALWAYS SPEAKS SO HIGHLY OF YOU AND I AM GLAD TO KNOW OF ALL YOUR EXPLOITS MARILYN BABITZ

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