The OFCP (Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy) asked me if they could put a link on their website to Vimeo, which has my short film ‘Feelings Of Invisibility’. I, of course, said yes because I want everybody in the world to see it!
The OFCP also asked for a short Bio from me. This is what I wrote:
My name is Anne Abbott. I was born in 1958 with a condition called Cerebral Palsy. However, it was a year later, just after I had my first birthday, when the doctors officially confirmed that I, indeed, had C.P.
I’ve often wondered if the delay of the diagnosis was due to the kind of kid I was. My mother used to tell me that right from the very start I had such incredible determination and endless energy.
On the day of my christening, I consistently played with the pages of the Bible and the minister’s cross. At the doctor’s office, on the day he was attempting to tell my mother that I had Cerebral Palsy, I kept trying to pull away from her grip in order to grab a pen from the desk between them. The doctor, exasperated, asked my mother, “Where does she get her determination from? You, or her old man?”
As a toddler, during nighttime prayers, my mother would always say, “Please, God, help Annie walk and talk.” It was here that I would move my legs under the covers in a running motion, signalling to my mother that I wanted her to add, “and run and play.” I wanted to run and play just like my brother and his friends did. Certainly, I was included in all of their games, but I wanted to climb trees and get skinned knees myself.
I had so many dreams and schemes for the future when I was a child. I wanted to be a doctor, an actress, a dancer, a writer, an artist. I wanted to move out when I was older, get married and have children of my own - just like everyone else!
Sadly, though, as time went by, perhaps because of societal ableism or my own teenage self-loathing, I didn’t follow through with a lot of my dreams.
And yet, my determination and energy have never wavered in the things that truly matter to me. Art and writing were, and are, of the utmost importance. As a person who is nonverbal, expressing myself has been absolutely crucial to my survival and psyche. By communicating my thoughts and feelings, upon either canvas or tablet, I feel understood and heard.
If you have watched the biographical short documentary “Feelings of Invisibility “(produced by Charmaine Lewis), you’ll know that. I did move out on my own and married a wonderful man named Rob. Oh yes, and I started my own art business called Annie’s Dandy Note Cards and Artwork. I’ve been selling my artwork every Saturday at the St. Lawrence Market for 22 years. I’m also a member of the Canadian Communication Access Alliance, which focuses on the rights of people with communication disabilities.