Taking Pictures

Our camera phones make snapping a quick picture easy today, but cerebral palsy makes it more complicated. My hands and fingers can be difficult to maneuver making it complicated to manipulate small items like a phone. When traveling I find it tough to take out my phone and take a picture. Thoughts enter my mind of whether I really want the picture because of the time and frustration it takes to snap it. I become more nervous attempting to take a picture in front of others. The fumbling around of my phone with shaky hands, causes me to worry about others staring.

Taking out my smart phone to take a picture is always an ordeal. Phones today are larger. Even wrestling to free the phone from my pocket is a struggle. Once I have my phone secured steadily in my left hand I make sure it is setting upright. The next step is to steadily place my thumb on the button at the bottom of the phone. If I set my thumb down correctly, the phone recognizes the fingerprint and unlocks. Frequently my thumb won’t land properly on the button causing frustration leading to reprimanding myself for not concentrating. I’ll have to give it another try or two, trying to concentrate in order to steady a shaky thumb. Once unlocked the phone is entirely touch screen meaning I’m required to touch each icon with a steady finger in order for the phone to react. By now, somewhat exhausted I take a breath and attempt touching the icon I’m looking for; with focus I steady a finger to hit the icon.

Working with my smart phone is much easier when I’m seated. While standing my body is naturally unstable because of CP causing my arms and hands to tremble. My hands quiver all the time when working with small items. Sometimes more focus doesn’t work to steady them and I fight an inclination to give up. After holding my finger steady enough to invoke the camera function, I have to work patiently to steady the phone using both hands, which can bring about a defeatist attitude. It would be easier to take pictures placing just my right hand on the camera. I can steady my right hand more easily than my left, but the phone is too large to be operated with just one hand. With shaking hands and a stubborn attitude I attempt to steady the smart phone enough to frame the vision I’m trying to capture. Upon accomplishing the task of framing the shot the process begins. I have to figure out how to move one finger, steady the finger, and depress the button signifying the camera trigger, doing all this while still keeping the vision steady in the frame. The frustration of attempting all this is mind numbing. The process and implementation of snapping a simple picture can lead to emotional overload.

Many times while on vacation I have someone with me happy to snap photos. I was in San Francisco recently for the first time last month. There is so much beauty in and around the city creating all kinds of photo opportunities. While in the city I was visiting a friend from college who now lives in Korea. Anytime I wanted a picture taken of the scenery surrounding the city he was happy to oblige saving me from the frustrating process. The couple photos I did snap on the trip came out a little blurry, but passable. As the trip in San Francisco wore on it became easier to ask my buddy to take a picture.

The difficulty of taking pictures is another small act I can’t do simply. Cerebral palsy causes many of these small challenges in life. I struggle with the perceived inconvenience I may cause those around me by requesting help. I’m always wishing I could take my own photo with the ease others show.


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