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Frederika Menezes is an inspiration to many, though she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she has not let her diagnosis define her life.

Words of inspiration

ANNOUSHKA FERNANDES

The use of hands and legs are important to us, for the simplest of reasons. From picking up things to brushing your hair, we need to use our hands. And our feet are essential for moving from one place to another. And what happens if we are unable to do both? While some lose faith in life, others use that drive and turn their life around.

One such person is writer, poet and artist, Frederika Menezes from Campal, Panaji. Menezes was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child. Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition which affects the motor and movement disability. Cerebral palsy is normally diagnosed during infancy or early childhood. Being in a wheel chair hasn’t stopped Menezes  from being one of the most accomplished women in Goa.

Menezes is known for her literary works such as her book ‘Unforgotten’; ‘The portrait’, which is a collection of poem; ‘The Pepperns and Wars of the Mind,’ a fantasy novel and so on.

She discovered her passion for writing when she was still in school and hasn’t stopped since. “I first began writing while in class eight. I was 13 and it was an English class project,” she says.

While Menezes has authored various books and novels she has also penned a number of poems. A poem written by her, ‘The Different Normals’ features in the class 10 English textbook of the Goa Board Secondary and Higher Secondary education. However, Menezes says that it is poetry that she prefers writing. “I love writing poetry as it is the voice of the soul. And I like writing fictions and fantasy as often too. Because one needs to escape the real world for a while,” says Menezes.

She adds that she is inspired by life to pen down her thoughts into her literary works. “I derive inspiration from life and all that it throws my way,” she adds.

In addition to writing, Menezes is also a digital artist, in fact, painting has always been one of her passions, she says. “And it’s easier painting with one finger on a screen than holding a brush and paints. What I paint can be described as abstract art, but it always reflects my innermost feelings,” says Menezes.

She describes her childhood as a happy one. “I had an unchallenging happy childhood. And I have such great memories of my school days. I was treated as a regular student, which of course, I was,” she says while also describing her days at People’s High School, Panaji.

Last April, Menezes was also a part of TEDxPanaji. “It was a total honour to be chosen to talk at TEDx Panaji,” she says adding, “I chose to talk on how optimism, positivity and determination rule my life day in and day out,” adds Menezes.

In fact, life is full of challenges says, Menezes. And she has learned to deal with these challenges in her own way. “I learned to face these with as much positivity as I can and overcome them with as much determination,” she says.

Menezes is also an advocate for the differently-abled and she says people’s attitude towards the differently-abled need a check. “People’s attitude towards me, ‘The Different Normals’ could use a check. We are humans too. Respect and don’t pity, include and not exclude,” she says.

Her advice to people is, “People, live and stop complaining!”

On the work front, Menezes says that currently she is in between projects. “I am currently juggling projects. Writing and painting. And I am hoping to publish a book soon,” she says.

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