Upon meeting Sara Pyszka, most people think they know what it’s like to be her, regardless of what they actually know about her.
They see her wheelchair. They see the computer attached to her chair. They may or may not see the bands that hold her arms down, or the buttons on either side of her head rest. They see, and probably speak with, whichever personal assistant is accompanying her that day. They see her, yes, but this doesn’t mean they know anything about her.
Few people can accurately imagine what it’s like to be completely nonverbal, to be unable to walk or use their hands. They don’t actually know what it’s like to rely on strangers to get them out of bed and ready for the day, to feed them, to bathe them.
Inside My Outside: An Independent Mind in a Dependent Body provides an in-depth look into the life of a young woman with cerebral palsy who cannot walk or talk but who uses an electronic device for communication. This memoir covers three full days, from morning to night, in Sara Pyszka’s life, providing glimpses of past relationships, friendships, schooling, and outrageous stories about the challenges of hiring, firing, and working with personal care assistants. Sara even takes it a step further by providing the occasional comparison between her life and what she imagines life would be like if she did not have a disability.