Women's Empowerment Month Collection: Becky Lawson
I got to interview the amazing, talented, independent, and hardworking Becky Lawson. Like me, she has Cerebral Palsy and doesn't let it stop her. She was one of the first people I met with Cerebral Palsy as well, so I really was excited to meet and talk with her.
Kaylyn Gabbert: I was wondering if we could talk about your Cerebral Palsy since I've never met anyone who is a force to be reckoned with like you who also has Cerebral Palsy.
Becky Lawson: I'm going to take that as a compliment!
KG: The Cerebral Palsy comment was definitely a compliment 💖 the only other person I met with CP like us before you let it own them.
If you ever want to ask about mine I'm an open book
My first question to you, how does Cerebral Palsy affect your life?
BL: Well, physically speaking, I have Spastic-Ataxic Double Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. It affects all four limbs, but my left side is worse than my right. I have slurred speech, I walk with a quad-wheeled walker most of the time, but there are days I can manage with arm crutches or a quad cane.
Mentally, I'm good most days. I know this is the hand I was dealt in life. I believe 'The Powers That Be' figured I was strong enough to handle being disabled. My mother instilled into me the mantra of 'You can do anything you put your mind to.' I firmly believe this is how I've gotten as far as I have in life.
Sadly, there are days I consider myself a 'burden' to others, especially Mama Melissa. I've also nearly broken up with my significant other MANY times, because I convince myself they would be happier with an able-bodied person, who can just get up and go do something fun at a moment's notice.
What type of CP do you have?
I've noticed from pictures you use a wheelchair. Have you used one your whole life, or is it something you transitioned to?
KG: I have a mild form Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy that seems to have gotten a little worse with age. Mostly it affects my legs. I used to walk with a walker when I was a young kid then I moved up to leg braces and forearm crutches. When I hit twenty my legs started to give out more, to the point that I needed to find a second hand wheelchair. I didn't get my own first, built-for-me wheelchair until I was twenty-six. My back being out isn't helping my walking situation though, and as an adult I've learned that my Cerebral Palsy affects more than just my legs. It affects muscles I didn't know I wouldn't have expected, but unfortunately my parents knew it affected them and just never told me.
Do you think your Cerebral Palsy has held you back from the life you wanted for yourself?
BL: When I was younger, no. I had better mobility, so going places and doing things with friends/going on dates wasn't an issue. But as I age, I do think it has, simply because I have to now 'plan' things. Getting out to a vehicle is now a multi-person production and I don't want to be an inconvenience or a pain to people, so it's just as easy to bow out of things and be a 'homebody.'
KG: I've never heard of a quad cane. Can you please explain what that is?
BL: Sure! It's a cane with 4 legs instead of the single 'peg.'
This isn't mine, but this is an example: https://www.amazon.com/Hugo-Adjustable-Right-Black-Small/dp/B001ULD5OQ/
KG: Did your friends/ partners make you feel like you were holding them back? Or was that something in the back of your mind?
BL: I had a few exes that made me feel like I was holding them back/was an inconvenience to them... probably why they are exes. But my friends accepted me fully and made sure I was always included in things.
If it was in the back of my mind, I never really acknowledged it. None of my friends SHOWED it, so it was never made into an issue.
KG: Did I answer all your questions about my Cerebral Palsy? Or do you have any more? 😊
BL: When were you diagnosed with it? Was it at birth or was it diagnosed later in life?
What was your education like?
And what I mean by that is,
I was in the 'Special Ed' room in NJ from Kindergarten to 4th grade. They threw both 'Learning Support' and physically disabled children in the same classroom. I had to stay 'on par' with the Learning Support students, so I wasn't being challenged and I was BORED in class.
When Mommy and I moved to PA before 5th grade, they tested me and found out I could handle the mainstream course load and they placed me into the mainstream classes. I was mainstreamed from 5th Grade through graduation, actually was placed in the Gifted program as well.
KG: I was diagnosed at the age of two years old.
I learned right next to all of the other students with minor changes. In elementary school, I was given an alternative gym class. Don't remember what changes were made in early middle school. In late middle school and all of high school, I was given extra time to get to classes and given extra time on tests. When my parents noticed my grades dropping and the school tried to put me in the 'Special Ed' class, my parents opted for me to have study hall with a teacher who could help If I needed it. My problem was I was blowing it off
BL: Yep, same here. Diagnosed at age 2, when Mommy noticed I wasn't crawling/walking.
In 5th and 6th, I was given a VERY primitive laptop and I took my spelling tests on them, then went to the speech room to print. Starting in Jr. High (7th grade, 91-92 school year), I could leave classes early (3-5 minutes early) and I had dr-ordered adaptive gym class (which ended up being either weight room or walking the track/cross country trails). By then, I had my own computer at home, so I just typed everything at home and then printed them on my old dot-matrix printer.
I could have done better in school, but I kinda fell into the 'wrong group of friends' and slacked off as well. LOL
KG: Onto another subject, you write all the time. How long have you been writing?
BL: Overall, for about 30+ years. I started writing 'Mary Sues' at the age of 11 or 12, then I moved onto writing WWE fanfic, most of them also being 'Mary Sues.' I've been writing original fiction steadily since 2018.
KG: For our readers, what name do you write under?
BL: I write as Daisy Loveless.
KG: What's your favorite genre to write?
BL: I write a lot of Romance, so I'd say 'Contemporary Erotic Romance' is my fave genre to write.
KG: You always write in the real world from what I've seen, so I have to ask. What is your best research advice you can give other writers?
BL: Make sure ALL plot holes are covered, and do your research THOROUGHLY. An old cliched piece of advice is 'Write what you know.' To a point, that makes things easier, since you're already an 'expert' in the field. But, if you DO need to research something, research it as deep as you can!
KG: Do you attend virtual writing events?
BL: No. I don't do things like Zoom calls or things like that, because I'm self-conscious. The closest to a virtual writing event I've attended is ProWritingAid's Romance Writers' Week 2021. It was more like a 'lecture series' rather than Zoom calls, so I could just watch the videos and not 'interact.' What interactions there were, was more typing rather than speaking.
KG: Thank you for agreeing to do the interview 💖