Monday, January 24, 2011

My name is Matt

Matt Kamaratakis wrote this blog in response to Tekeal's blog Growing up. Thanks Matt! Louise

We have never had the pleasure of correspondence or simply talking as one human being to another. For, I am not a parent, but do have a disability, and can relate to every word in your post – even the ones which we have locked away in our hearts.

Our journey for peace and self-acceptance is as life itself: “never ending and always changing.”

For instance, I recently became an uncle. My nephew (above) is four-and-a-half-months old – and I know that babies usually roll over at the age of five or six months. Hence, I find myself saying: “Hey Buddy (this is my nickname for him). Are you going to do the ‘roll’ for your uncle, because we’ve had enough of disability in this house. You need to crawl, walk, run around, ride a bike, and get dirty.”

I've spent most of my life trying to hide or outrun my cerebral palsy, until a friend wrote to me and said, “My cancer is no more a part of me than your disability is a part of you; it's something we live with, but it doesn't define us.” Her name was Alexandra and you would have loved her.

I've failed more than anyone ever should, and like you, have struggled with wordless prejudice, but possess the wisdom to learn from my mistakes and the will to try again.

Due to life experience and disability, I have become a man that I hope most people will want to know – a man of intelligence, compassion, understanding, acceptance, strength and love. I pray that the woman of my dreams will look beyond my wheelchair and crutches to see this in me. This is who I am, and who I will always be.

I never thought that I would be writing or commenting on the BLOOM blog, as I did not wish to be an advocate for people with disabilities, but a voice in which everyone could find a home.

My disability will forever force me to think and operate beyond the narrow vision of normalcy, but it has been the most common people – those like Louise, John Kooy (my friend and orthotist at Holland Bloorview), and all of you – who have helped me embrace a growing sea of humanity which is infinitely evolving. Everyone is different, special, and equal.

My name is Matt and I am truly honored to meet you.


dear matt, i am also honored to meet you and to read your words. you are so right - everyone IS different, special and equal. may we all have wonderful friends such as alexandra to remind us of the essentials in life. looking forward to reading more from you... all the best! tekeal

Hi John,
Nice to see you posting, I always enjoy your comments on Bloom and am inspired by your relationship with John Kooy.

What a beautiful and articluate writer you are Matt. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Thanks Barb. I promise to write to you soon, as Annie and you do not only hold a special place in my heart, but are never to far from my thoughts.

Yours truly,

Matt Kamaratakis