“I have thought about the writing thing, and thought I’d write a bio about my life, but everyone does that. It’s boring. I have been thinking about it actually, and thought it might be fun writing children’s books. For one, it’s at my level of ability and interest. I am not sure about this, but was thinking about writing a book about my life, but who wants to read about some woman who had a bunch of surgeries and junk? It’s already been done, and those people always come across to me as if they are trying to make people feel sorry for them. I know they are just trying to make people aware. But the books I read like that sound like the people are just whining about their hardships, instead of how interesting living a life having to use a wheelchair can be. How the struggles of life may look horrible to the “normal person”— but to us, we are just living— like them. Well, okay, maybe a couple people have had good books like that, but who wants to hear about more things like that? I’d need to convince myself that there would be someone interested before making myself do it. It would be a lot of hard work for me.”
This was Cody’s response to an email from her mother Marly suggesting she consider becoming a writer. Oh, Cody, how wrong you were!
It wasn’t just “feel sorry for me” inspiration porn. This was Cody’s story, from as close to her as we can get. I was struck by Marly’s ability to tell us about her without resorting to trying to make her a saint or glossing over the stories that make her real and human, not just a “person with spina bifida.” She was a human being who lived and loved and participated in life as fully as she was able.
I wish that Cody had decided to write that book about her life. I would have loved to hear the story from her perspective. I wish she had trusted her voice. I think her mom did, and that’s why she wrote the book Cody never did. I hear echoes of the person she was, and it’s better than nothing. I hope that others with disabilities will decide to tell their stories. It makes a difference to me, and I hope that you will decide to add your voices to those who have done it before you.