West Hartford Stories is part of an occasional series of first person anecdotes for West Hartford Magazine and We-Ha.com. Please send your ideas for consideration to: [email protected].
By Brigit Clancy
It was recently Growth Awareness Week and International Growth Awareness Day as well as Craniofacial Acceptance Month, so I’d like to break away my shy (and private) self and share a more personal post.
If you read all of this, thank you; I appreciate it. I write the following neither as a way of complaining nor as a means by which to get sympathy. At my core, I’m the furthest away one could be from these things.
Instead, I write the following to raise awareness of and to advocate for individuals with growth disorders – a small but mighty population that I am proud to be a member of.
I have a very rare growth disorder that essentially causes my bones to be more susceptible to breaks than the normal bone and, in some areas of my body, to grow more than the normal bone.
It’s unpredictable as to when or how I could break a bone, but I can’t stop living my life.
The only way to handle my condition is with surgery. I’ve had a surgery for almost every year that I’ve been alive (I lost count after 20) and I have 25 scars (which I’m proud of and will happily show others).
There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not in pain somewhere in my body, but I move through it, physically. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not stared at because of my limp or my facial asymmetry, but I move through it, mentally.
With all of this in mind, I don’t have my condition as severely as some do. My life is an example of the physical and emotional difficulties that result from a growth disorder. Our lives are not just a special day or week or month, but every day, during which we must face various physical and emotional obstacles.
From this understanding, when you encounter someone different from you, be kind. I know personally, after almost 30 years of enduring these challenges, that your kindness can be a light for individuals with these conditions and can wipe out the shadows filled with hardship and hopelessness.
Check out @magicfoundation and @ccakids (on Instagram) for more information and for stories of amazing individuals.
About the author: Brigit K. Clancy, M.A. is a West Hartford resident who loves books, yoga, and food, and is a candidate in Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology; Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology, University of Hartford; and candidate for Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies in Public Health, University of Connecticut. Follow Brigit on Instagram @brikel52.