When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with spinal muscular dystrophy. This is a rare genetic and progressive disease that affects walking, eating, and even breathing.
My childhood was miserable because of illness
I was unable to accept my body and complained a lot to my parents. When I first started school, because I looked different from others, it was difficult to get on with everyone. My classmates said that I was a monster and would isolate me and even hit me. I remember one time that I was pushed down the stairs! It was a really difficult childhood and I was swallowed up by an endless inferiority complex.
Using physical strength to learn is more valuable than using it to walk!
When I was 14 years old, my body deteriorated rapidly, and my hands and feet gradually shrank. I would often fall when I walked. After I fell, I didn’t have the strength to stand back up on my own. I needed help from others. Everyday I had to climb up 4 flights of stairs to my classes because there were no elevators. That year was the most broken and painful year of my life. Later, in order to conserve my energy for learning, I started to use an electric wheelchair to travel.
The only thing that can change is myself
Not until I entered high school did I think that instead of expecting others to learn to empathize with me, I might as well start by changing myself. I started to learn to talk with others; I would be brave to speak out when I needed help. Unexpectedly these actions made my school life change for the better. Teachers and classmates were able to empathize and help me because they understood my illness and condition.
I know that I am not perfect, but I have always liked taking pictures since I was a child. I think that many stages of life are worthy of being recorded. In recent years, I have started to experiment with outdoor shooting. Because of the physical aspects of the activity, I was very nervous and unnatural at first, but through the guidance of the photographer and with a lot of experience, I can now confidently show myself in front of the camera.
Picture taken from: Shirley’s IG
It’s not your legs but your heart that restricts you
I don’t think I should be restricted by my legs. In fact, I can go to many places in a power wheelchair. I often travel or go shopping to enrich my life. I regard being sick as a gift from God, I no longer view it as something that made me miserable, but instead I live a richer and happier life. In the future, I also hope to be a social worker to help more people and give back to society.
I want everyone to know:
Our life may be short, but as long as we are still alive, we must strive to live happily and as our true selves! -Shirley