I Was a Cyborg

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


In kindergarten, I was a cyborg. At least, with wire glasses and a clanky metal leg brace, my classmates thought I was. They thought cerebral palsy was a disease that made you part robotic; mostly because I led them to believe that. For in-school physical therapy, I told them I was getting an oil change. In gym, unable to move my left leg much, I told them I had rusty hinges. When they asked why I couldn't do all the things regular kids did, my circuitry needed rewiring. I didn't just have cerebral palsy, I was cerebral palsy.

In middle school I was “cripple girl,” and I embraced it. It made me different from the crowd, separated from a scrap yard of the mundane. Teachers stopped me to ask if I was limping, but, “no, I'm just a cripple.” The name was welded to me; branded on my forehead with a hot iron.

Now, I want new plating. I should have avoided the cripple name. I'm not a cripple or a robot, even if that's what the school knows me as.

When pen hits paper, scratchy and quick, I become something different, without hinges or rust, reworking and destroying and adding to my work, crafting a sort of machine of my own. The paper becoming gray with pen smudges, but still, a fully-functioning piece of work. Then the keyboard clicks...

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