Hello world!

5/21/2008

Welcome to my first blog!

Hello!  I am Jan, and welcome to my first blog! 

 

Starting a blog is not the easiest thing to do!  I wanted to begin by being all mysterious, and weaving a true story that would leave you with a bunch of questions wondering who I am.  But, I can not do that, because that’s not who I am.  Well, maybe I am a little like that, because unless people take the time to get to know my inner spirit, they don’t really me at all!  Of course, this statement is true for everyone; no one knows anyone until someone decides to take the time to  get to know an individual that somehow catches their interest. 

 

Since you are reading my blog, let me paint a word mosaic of me, myself and I! 

 

I am. . . . .   

 

My parent’s daughter.

A granddaughter.

A niece.

The youngest of five siblings (two sisters and two brothers). .

A cousin to many.

A sister-in-law.   

An Aunt ten times over (five nieces and five nephews).   

A dairy farmer’s daughter.

I am fascinated by how plants grow! 

A bird watcher.   

A member of  a Baptist church family. 

A reader.

A writer.   

A person who loves playing board games.

An animal enthusiast.

A movie buff.

A want-to-be-world-traveler,

An up beat person who  sees the cup as half full.   

A person who pays the rent on her apartment, and the rest of her bills on time.

A Self Advocate.

A public speaker.

A member of Oregon’s Developmental Disabilities Council.

The Chairperson of the Self-Advocacy Committee.

And, an employee of the Oregon Health and Sciences University.

I am Jan Staehely. 

I think I am missing something here!  What is it?  I am afraid of bugs, especially bees and creepy  crawling spiders.  I have a dog named Duke, and an aloof  cat named Danke (the German word for thank you).   

I am still missing something.  Oh, what is it?    I am looking around at my personal space.  A communication device and part of a wheelchair come into my view.  That’s it! Now I remember!  I have Cerebral Palsy (CP). 

I bet you’re wondering, can she truly forget she has CP?  Not in the general sense that I am reliant on a wheelchair, or use an device to be understood.  However, sometimes when I am out in the community and feel people staring at me, for a second I panic and wonder do I have my breakfast all over my face, did I forget to have my hair brushed, or zip up my pants, or am I dressed at all?  Then it hits me, oh they are staring at my disability. 

My Mom was never shy about explaining my physical condition. to people  I  remember being out shopping, and women would come up to Mom  and say, “My, your little one looks so tired!”  My head would snap to attention, and I know mom saw the defiant look in my big brown eyes.  She would smile at me, and still smiling turned towards the woman and say, “No!  My daughter is not tired.  Jan just has Cerebral Palsy.  Basically, her brain and the wiring to her muscles have trouble communicating. Everything she does takes extra effort for her to do.  When she does relax her head tends to fall to the side.  Despite all those faulty wires running through her body, Jan is highly intelligent!” I  know this because every day I see her determination to emulate her sisters and brothers, and her wit is uncanny.”   These people  would walk away from us thanking Mom for being so candid with them.  

In this way, I was  taught that unless I tell people precisely what has made me stand out from other humans, not many individuals  would attempt to get to know the real Jan.  Whenever I see a child looking at me curiously, I want the chance  to help them learn about why I am in a power chair.  It saddens me when parents discover their children looking at me, and quickly usher them away.  I don’t know what they are telling them, if anything at all.  However, to me, they are teaching their kids to be afraid of a person who has a noticeable disabilities.   

Sometimes an open minded parent will let their child approach me.  If I am caught off guard it can take me a few seconds to get my muscles ready to work my communication device.  I rarely get past saying hello, before they wander off from me.  I don’t blame them for walking away: They have no idea what I am doing.  For all they know I could just be spazzing out, and I know that can be scary for a kid.  Another factor is that a minute can seem like an enternity for someone that doesn’t know what is going on.   

 However, once in a while someone will stay and listen to what I have to say. I know we are having a good conversation when the child or adult understands me through my communication device.  When that person and I part ways,  I think I just experienced  a successful day! 

Now I don’t particularly think my life is all that interesting, but who ever thinks their existence will be something people want to learn about, right?   However, after so many years of my  friends and family telling me they learn from my life through my writings, slowly that message has sunk into my head!  Since I have a lot of stories  piled skyscraper high  in my 41 years young mind, I need to get them out!  I lhope you like the adventure! 

Posted at 5:26 PM by useuraac@yahoo.com

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One Response

  1. 5/11/09 9:15PM Finally, I am starting to read ALL of your posts! I am giving myself the luxury of starting from the beginning, tho this one is familiar, and gooing all the way thru. In case you don’t know, I treasurer your writings and feell I get to know you better than I did while living with you which makes my heart sing!! So, I thank you for sharing YOU with me and so many others. May Jehovah God always bless and keep you. -K-

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