Rare Rock Profile: Abbey Curran

Abbey Curran is the reigning Miss Iowa and she recently competed in the Miss USA pageant as well. A beauty contest wouldn’t be the first place I’d look for a Rare Rock. Don’t misunderstand me, my sister and I relished watching these contests as a kid. It didn’t matter if it was a small-town festival or the big night on TV when all the fifty states were represented by some perky 20-year old in sequins. We loved it all. But now I’m trying to look for a standard beyond outward beauty to determine winners in this visually driven world.

Our country is obsessed with image and it is affecting the youngest of our girls. (I love Hannah Montanna, but you DO NOT want me to get into a discussion concerning her behavior at the Idol Gives Back show – seriously, don’t make me do it.) You may think I’m prudish about this, but it really is more than that.

One of my beautiful daughters has Cerebral Palsy. Just a few weeks ago Claire begged us to let her quit dance class. I cried when she said, “It’s too hard for me.” Last year she was twirling on the stage without a care in the world and this year she understands that her body is not moving in the same patterns as the little girls around her, including her younger sister. Claire’s left side has high tone, meaning the quad and calf muscles in that leg don’t relax the way they should. It gives Claire a little catch in her step and, until this year, kept her from running.

I’m not one to let my kids quit something just because it gets hard, but this was different. My husband and I had always talked about the fact that someday Claire would realize that dancing is a body-centric sport and even girls without disabilities find it difficult. We knew eventually she would find a hobby that challenged her but didn’t subject her to the prying eyes of an audience that didn’t understand. We didn’t expect it to happen when she was 5!

So we let her quit. She still dances at home with her sister and sometimes just on her own. She is at peace with this and so are we, but you can imagine my trauma for several days. I cried and I was pretty sure we should go out and buy her a fluffy puppy.

Yesterday Serenity told me about Abbey Curran, who also has cerebral palsy, and I watched her appearance on Ellen.

This is a Rare Rock. She is fighting a stereotype and going after her dreams. She has to fight her own insecurities every time she takes the stage, every time she goes to the mall. I showed Claire the video thinking it would be great inspiration, but since Claire really doesn’t comprehend that she has CP, and because it comes in so many different forms, the moment was kind of lost on her.

But I got it. Thank you, Abbey Curran!

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6 Comments

Filed under Family, Rare Rock Profiles

6 responses to “Rare Rock Profile: Abbey Curran

  1. Kathy Nickerson

    I think what Claire got out of the whole event is that she can be anything in the world she wants to be — but she doesn’t have to be anything to please you.

    And I think the true Rare Rock in this story is the mother who sat in the NICU four months straight and continues to fight every hour of every day for Claire to have Life!

  2. I am an (almost) 40 years old woman with cerebral palsy. I have a great life (I am married, I have a good job, I travel a lot…)

    I think that it is great that young girls with disabilities are getting role models to look up to.

    I think that it was one of the things that I missed the most, growing up.

  3. Thanks, Sophie! Wow. I was going to say, you have no idea how encouraging that is to hear, but, you do know – that’s why you posted. Thanks!

  4. Yay! A new post, and it’s killer! Beautiful Claire. And beautiful Abbey. What a great story.

  5. Andrea

    You made me cry, Felicity, but that is a very good thing. I am SOOOOO proud of you. I expected no less from one of the Nickerson girls, but my heart rejoiced at reading this blog. Such love, such insight, such desire to understand, and work alongside God in your daughters life, as your mother said, from the very beginning.
    I had not seen this young lady until you wrote about her so was also impressed by her. I have every confidence that we will see Claire somday reaching above an beyond every expectation any of us might have for her, but that God created her for and knew she would accomplish all along.

  6. [I’m way behind in my blog reading]

    This post is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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