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Look for the good and you’ll find it

Look for the good and you'll find it

The world isn’t always what it seems. Nor is it always what you would like it to be. Sometimes it’s a picture painted by people who only see what they want to see — and ignore everything else.

On the flip side of that, there are those who choose to see the good in the world while acknowledging what’s really going on around them. Not only does that outlook create kindness and happiness, but it also leaves room for something magical to happen.

I didn’t know what that magical “thing” was for a long time. I was waiting for proof that magic was more than simply pulling a rabbit out of a hat or conveniently having a four-leaf clover within reach. My idea of magic was being able to hold my head up or use both of my hands somewhat effectively. I didn’t think of it as something mystical or mysterious.

If anything, I knew there was nothing magical or mysterious about growing up knowing that I had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was a baby. However, the real magic started to happen when I discovered that I could utilize my circumstances as a platform to do something good. Not only that, but learning how to control that energy has also opened the door to a world of opportunity.

The past year was filled with unexpected opportunities — both personally and professionally.

I started 2019 with the intention of finishing the writing process for my second book – my autobiography – a project I’ve been working on since September 2018. I knew that much for sure, but buying a brand-new van was not even on the radar — despite a nine-year struggle. Neither was starting a community-wide campaign for the van and getting one of my childhood heroes, Mick Foley, involved in the process.

If that wasn’t surreal enough, The Altoona Curve hosted a fundraising event in August, featuring an appearance and autograph signing by Mick. That day was more than just a wonderful coincidence to me. It was a sign that my Grandfather, who loved baseball, was watching from somewhere high above and wanted this to happen.

It gave me a rare chance to see a lot of my closest friends, as well as meet some of the faces who have been reading and supporting my work for all these years. It also reminded me that absolutely anything is possible — especially when people come together. All of this set the tone for the rest of 2019 and the excitement was far from over.

I finished writing my autobiography in early October following an unfortunate injury to my arm. A few short weeks later, my family received approval to drive to Monroeville, Pennsylvania to pick up my new van. I felt overwhelmed in every possible way, but it was well worth the worry and sweaty palms.

There were a few more surprises in store before the year drew to a close. I not only found out that my autobiography is scheduled for publication in Spring 2020, but my third book is on the horizon and it’s shaping up to be a hit.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. When I began this mission to make my audience feel comfortable in interacting with people who have challenges, I never imagined surpassing my goal. I look forward to entertaining you with my not so “normal” life.

As I drive out of 2019 in my new van, I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for me. Happy New Year and keep on reading!

Erin Kelly, 34, was born with cerebral palsy in Korea, and lives in Altoona. In addition to this column, she also writes for online publications The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Upworthy, and Real Talk Magazine. Email her at WriterWheels28@gmail.com.

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