In the beginning of the 2014 school year, my middle school’s seventh grade read the book Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. The book is about Melody, a girl in fifth grade who has C.P, or cerebral palsy. The book follows Melody and explains the difficulties of living with C.P. Shortly after the seventh grade finished the book, one student, Morgan, participated in an experiment in which she couldn’t speak, stand or move most of her body to see what a day in the life of Melody would be like. This is her personal take on the experience.
How do I begin to explain a life I have never lived? I can’t even imagine the struggles and frustrations of a life where you can not speak, walk, sing, dance, move and express yourself fully. I only have been able to get a glimpse, and although I will never truly understand this life, I can express my experience to just see a basic day in a life of Melody.
Hour 1: Social Studies
I started my day in Social Studies. My day there was like any other. I was able to work since our project was on a computer and talk through the Ipad Mrs.Thomas loaned to me. Even though physically I was able to go around business normally, emotionally was not like usual routine. Peers around me were more fragile than usual. They didn’t tease me or joke with me like normal. They asked me questions slowly and gave me plenty praise, like the simplest put down would put me in a hole of despair. And then, when they talked about different topics, it was as if I wasn’t there.
I do recall a moment in particular. I was working with my group in the Student Council room. There was another group in the room. They were distracted. By me. I was starting to feel uncomfortable as they talked in low voices and then steal glances at me. What happened surprised me. “She is just the same as always! You don’t need to stare every five seconds.” came a voice. When I turned my head I saw my group member, Valeria. When she saw my gaze she smiled. “Better?” she asked me and I nodded. Afterwards I felt completely comfortable. They stopped talking and went back to laughing with each other and joking. And so did my group.
Hour 2: Algebra
If I was to pick a moment of the day were I felt like myself emotionally, and physically, it would be math class. As always, Mr.Vento was a joy. He was never gentle with me, nor too harsh. He asked me questions I couldn’t answer, and knew it well. He would go overboard and proclaim “Well since no one can answer we will move on!” or “Come on!!! I know someone knows the answer!” then throw a smirk in my direction. He even cried out in surprise when I got up to go to the bathroom; “It is a miracle!” and everyone in the class followed. He took this serious matter and turned it into something lighter.
When we were about to leave one of my classmates came up. He looked at me and proclaimed “Hello?” then waved his hand in my face. “Anyone home?!” he called out and lightly shook me on the arm. “Hello?!” He called out over and over again. I know he was trying to lighten the mood, but it made me feel even heavier. Like I was just this statute. Finally, I guess he lost interest and left laughing.
Hour 3/4: Homebase/Lunch
Homebase was normal. I read a magazine fine and was able to type words down in my Ipad that I didn’t know, like Mrs.Soik wanted us to do. It seemed quieter I guess. Then again I talked quite a lot during homebase. Well in all my classes, actually.
Lunch wasn’t normal. I didn’t eat. The fact I had to be feed by one of my friends was gnawing at me. They still tried but I refused, too embarrassed. They gave up eventually, but Eric still took the browne packed that was for whoever helped me eat. That made me laugh. During lunch, a person came up to me. He asked what was wrong with. My friends around my told him, even though didn’t care when he heard what I was doing. Figuring that since it wasn’t as exciting as he hoped, he just left. It was like I needed to be a interesting story or something, and make myself worthwhile for him. After I ate, I wanted to go into the gym to watch the basketball matches, but I was quickly removed. It was for my safety, I know that, but I felt left out as everyone else went in. Eric took me back to my seat, and I felt like a burden since he couldn’t go either.
Hour 5: Comm. Arts
I came into class without my materials. Eric didn’t get that I forgot them. I couldn’t blame him considering I couldn’t turn and that I was facing the completely opposite direction. Chris took me back. As we left I couldn’t help but be embarrassed. We came back and listened to Mr.Crowe’s mini lesson, and got to work reading. It was easy, considering that all I had to do is flip a page.
When we were reading Mr.Crowe assigned us cubbies. Chris was my partner and took my stuff up for me, even though I tried to myself. Chris knew it wasn’t a good idea, and so did I, but I didn’t want him to have to do everything for me. He was a friend and I should have be able to do that. It aggravated me.
The rest of the hour we read. Again pretty easy. I read, trying to distract myself from the time, but the hour seemed to drag out longer than I thought it would.
Hour 6: S.T.E.M
S.T.E.M was easy too. We did a project in which we had to make a crane and move animals over a wall. With some smart thinking, I used a draw app to make a model of my idea and show my team. Then I helped instruct them on how to put things together. My team, Josh P. and Mason B., was kind to me and was patient with me as I tried to explain my ideas. Our idea was good and it worked, even if we didn’t win. I felt like myself. So much so I even stood up and stretched forgetting about my wheelchair. I was given a quick glance by my team, quickly sat down, and went back to being Melody. I could only imagine not being up to stretched my tired bones after sitting in a wheelchair all day.
Hour 7: Science
Science was different physically. Since I didn’t have a online science book, I was discluded, since I was unable to take notes. I found it frustrating in a way, but I didn’t bother asking for anyone’s help. It flushed me with embarrassment that I needed someone elses help to simply write. I could read okay, but I wasn’t called on, due to the fact that I couldn’t voice my answer and that I was stubborn and didn’t want anyone to read off my answer. I just couldn’t deal with the fact that I needed someone else for everything. To accept the fact meant I had to swallow my pride. Something ,I have to admit, I was never good at. I couldn’t just imagine living a life so… limited.
Then the day ended. I shedded out of the wheelchair and casts. I packed my bag and went home. My voice, ability to walk, dance, and jump was back. My day as Melody was done. My glimpse of a life of limited movement was over, but I wouldn’t forget it.