La tensión entre los que deben defender ciertas normas, opiniones y valores, y los que luchan por otras nuevas, es el resultado sobre el que descansa la evolución de la sociedad.

Serge Moscovici

Growing with achondroplasia (Suena L, 2010) (doc)

Since the age of two, I have been going to the Trias i Pujol hospital in Badalona, which at that time had the best unit of doctors and psychologists in all of Spain. Since then I’ve been going to doctors, psychologists and associations in many parts of Spain, especially in Barcelona, Madrid and Asturias.

When I started school, I adapted well, because when we are small we are not aware of what happens around us, and I don’t remember too much.

From what my family has told me and from what little I remember, during childhood I was very happy, although there were things that I did not understand, for example: Why I was getting older, but wasn’t growing in height. At school, as in the street, I had to endure insults such as, for example, dwarf, smurf, etc., shoves, fights, signs with the fingers, among many other things.

But I was a very lucky girl because I had my family who supported me. To finish, at the age of nine I began to understand that I was not going to grow and I had to assume all that this entails, and to make things worse I had my first period. HORRIBLE!! What grief. Another responsibility. This meant to me that, just like all adults, I had to get my life on track with all kinds of responsibilities, which I didn’t want. I didn’t want to grow up or be an adult. I just wanted to be a normal girl. I was horrified. I could not hear or pronounce the word “period” because, as I said before, I assumed this meant I would have to mature, and what I wanted was the opposite, i.e., to go back to those happy times without any responsibilities.

This situation got worse. At school I confused letters when writing and studies stopped being interesting to me. My mother and my teachers thought that it could be dyslexia (a learning difficulty where a child’s ability to read or write is below his or her level of intelligence) and my mother took me to my psychologist at Barcelona to perform a dyslexia test on me. This test indicated that my problem was not this illness, but on the contrary: I was very clever. Not much changed, even after this. I have to admit that I have stopped exercising my mind and being a studious and applied girl, and have become lazy and indifferent.

One year later was the total collapse. I was told that I had to decide whether or not to have an operation because it was too late to delay the decision any longer. For this, I went to Barcelona to see Doctor González Viejo and he said we had operate “now”. I was looking forward to it because I was going to be taller, more or less of normal stature. The surgeon, Doctor Caja, specialist in these operations, being very fresh, to avoid using stronger words, refused, despite the urgency, and made everything very difficult for us. And so I began to sink. Fortunately, my mother got in touch with Doctor Martí, and thanks to him, today my tibias and femurs have been operated on. Even though he’s pigheaded, I like him.

The operation was quite hard, although I have succeeded thanks to the support from people. In the years that the operations and rehabilitation have gone on, I’ve learned to value myself and I have really discovered the people who love me for who I am and will be.

Also, in those years I had to endure looks, laughs, hypocritical people and, above all, people who just want to be your friend due to feeling sorry for you. This has helped me as a lesson for the rest of my life. After finishing with everything, I wanted to be free, and I took a sabbatical year without studying. I just wanted to have fun, to go out with my friends. It was quite a strange feeling, to be free after being in bed, with wheelchairs, crutches and that damn iron that was hooked to my legs. It was great, but that freedom had its consequences, for example not studying, failing six subjects, etc. That led to continuous punishment, to being at home without going out due to not picking up a book and studying during the week so that I could go out on the weekends. Then the grades came, and what happened? I repeated subjects, but it was not a problem for me because, on top of that, I would be with my best friend.

But I also have to admit that this year has been a little sabbatical and I failed six subjects again.The worst of all is that I’ve also discovered that people who I thought were of value later turned out to be the biggest liars and hypocrites in the world. But hey, I won’t get depressed over that because, in reality, these things serve as lessons for later on.A month later my mother sent me to a summer school to study and sit for exams in September.I met a lot of people there.I loved to go to that school, and if I tell you the truth, I would prefer to go there instead of my own school.In September, I sat for the exams and passed, and now I’m happy because I’m going to change institutes and I’m going to meet new people.But that also terrifies me a bit.Arriving at a new place and meeting people who are different from you, and not knowing how they will react, that scares me. But I have to be strong because in life you have to take risks and, if it goes wrong, not crumble, because you learn from everything and there is always someone by your side, such as your family and true friends.And so, this is my story.I hope that you liked it, and I just want to say to anyone who is different from others, do not cloister yourself at home. Get out, have fun and, if someone tells you something that bothers you, ignore it, because surely that person is depressed about something and isn’t aware of his or her actions. And, if ever you come to crumble/collapse due to what you are, do not do so, because I’m sure you’re worth a lot as a person and you are better than someone who does not have any disability.I give you this advice because I have collapsed and I’ve become depressed and I have had a truly bad time of it, but thanks to all those who have been with me, I have returned to being happy and trusting in myself.Hugs and kisses

Lara Suena Escolar