DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Controlling My Narrative & Owning It With Congenital Differences

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Timothy Hart

My Congenital Differences

My name is Tim Hart, I am studying to become an Outdoor and Physical education teacher. I was born with a rare disease known as congenital hand and foot difference, that is known as a central defect, which there is an absence of the central rays. This essentially means I was born with two toes on each foot, and four fingers on each hand. With many surgeries, hospital visits, and doctor appointments, I now have great functionality and very few limitations.

A Pivotal Moment

I had an encounter with a mother a year ago in which, she informed me to wear gloves in public, and that my hands were disgusting. This all being in front of her young child that came to speak to me. In this moment, she completely and utterly broke me. I thought I had overcome, and accepted my so called disability, I was very wrong. I was used to being looked at, the ugly looks, the glances and the whispers. This wasn’t new to me and yes, I had received many mean comments over the years but nothing like this. I didn’t speak to anyone for two days, I went down the coast and reflected. Why had it bothered me so much what that woman had said? The conclusion was simple, it was because she was the only one, brave enough to say it to me, whilst others had only ever thought it. I promised myself whilst looking over the ocean on a gloomy day that I was going to work hard on myself, to improve, to be better internally. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin, I shouldn’t need the validation of others. Yes, I have four fingers and two toes, I have had countless surgeries, I have been told I wouldn’t be able to do so many things, and here I am, doing more than most. I was born this way and didn’t choose it who would? I never let it define me but I knew it was part of who I was, maybe I was wrong, maybe I should let it define me.

Learn to Accept Yourself

I have a message and its pretty simple, I am sharing this because I want to own it but not only that, I want to encourage others that might be in a similar situation, to own it, to accept yourself, to work on yourself. Don’t hide from it like I did for so long, if you need help reach out, I will always be happy to help anyone.

I am controlling my narrative- are you?

I want to thank the mother who said those nasty comments, you broke me in that moment, but I came out so much tougher, I grew in ways I didn’t know possible.

On a final note, there will be a day, in which I say to myself, that I’m happy this happened to me. That day has yet to come. That’s what I am working towards. I am controlling the narrative- are you?

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