Piedro boots. Memories of embarrassment and wishing for their non-existence comes with hearing or thinking of these shoes. Shoes that I’m wearing in the photo above- I think I am about ten here. The nature of my disability means that when I do walk, my shoes have to have ankle support-so not every pair of shoes that I set my eyes on I can wear-. This term ‘ankle support’ was so pronounced when I was younger. I felt so othered by it, when I was told about the type of shoes that I should be wearing.
Receiving yet another box of specially made shoes I hoped that they would somehow be more of a vibe, more of a pair of shoes that I would in every way feel comfortable to wear, even though I knew what I was getting. I thought they didn’t match my identity, but, really, I was trying to chase somebody else’s. This was especially true when I grew into my teenage years.
Most of us growing up wanting to do whatever we can to fit in, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable it feels. We might pretend to like particular music or style our hair in a certain way or perhaps we try to suspend an aspect of our personality, or, like I did, want to wear a pair of shoes like the rest of my peers had. I was a Noughties teen and at that time Dolly shoes were all the trend, and so I wanted to get in on this too.
After some tough persuasion, I had my own cute little black pair with a bow at the front. I felt soo cool! I also thought this a small way to claim that I was a teenager. However there were only so many times that the back of the shoes would come away from my heel, when I would take a few steps, making me even more unbalanced, before I realised that these shoes weren’t making me comfortable like I thought they would. This was hard to admit.
As I write now, I think about those who dress their feet in plasters to save their feet from getting sores and compromising squashed toes for stunning outfit details- we’ve all got that t-shirt, in one way, and shoes to match!
The thing is though it is never just about shoes or music or hair styles or whatever else we are trying to mold ourselves into. It’s about who we feel we are when we are seen sporting these fashion trends or bopping to popular tunes and, more importantly, how we feel when we are without these things.
Secretly, I was hoping that if I was seen wearing these Dolly shoes it would somehow gloss over my disability. That (and I do apologies for the wording of the rest of this sentence-it just captures my thoughts back then) even though I was in a wheelchair, these shoes would allow me to pass as a Noughties teen, with disability not being part of the equation. How silly was I? Of course these shoes wouldn’t mean that suddenly my disability would be hidden from view like some kind of magic or something This… magic dust, if you like, would come years later, unpicking ablism and finding my identity as a disabled woman, beginning to feel comfortable with my disability.
When I started to settle into my disability, I started to recognize the shoes my feet actually needed. The term ‘ankle support’ no longer set shivers down my spine. It actually sets me free as it communicates my needs, and enable me to feel comfortable in the shoes I wear. Now I know what will make my feet happy.
I must admit though, it would be a whole lot easier if more accessible footwear was available.
Do I still feel my heart pang when I see shoes in the shop window that I can’t wear? Absolutely! Am I picturing an entire outfit based around those shoes? Absolutely! But when I think how I might feel in those shoes… that giddy excited feeling slowly evaporates. I know if I wore those shoes, I would be uncomfortable….and so those shoes that a few minutes ago (sometimes times this take a lot longer) receives a head turn. As I go in search for shoes that makes me feel giddy, excited and comfortable!
This is a reminder to anyone with a complicated relationship with shoes: Stop stealing everyone else’s shoes, dance in your own!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way thoughts, ideas, views can change and oppose perspectives and reflections and/or how perspectives can swing between the two.
I used to think that was a bad thing. That how could we be deemed unreliable if we changed our mind like the weather? That it made whatever we said invalid. As someone who has a track record for changing my mind and feeling guilty to have this trait, to say that this is actually okay is actually quite liberating and proud moment for me. There are thousands out there with a similar mentality to me and we often get branded as wishy-washy, uncertain and sometimes, as my family cat Queen T is literally and it’s one of the many things I love about her, a sit on the fencer (though with my balancing being one of my tricker skills, it’s not as quite a mundane task as one might assume). I would like others like me know that hey! You, me, we are completely fine, we don’t need to change.
I’ve played with these thoughts for a while now, with various observations and experiences leading to these reflections. I first shared my ponderings on uncertainty on my Instagram after a trip to Florence in April.
I was between two extremes. The first between fury and frustration at the inaccessibility and the constant excuse being given that it was an old city. It’s not about eradicating history, but it’s about making accommodations and edging towards inclusion and not maintaining historic believes that disabled people aren’t active members of society.
Yet on the other hand, I was struck by the superb detail of the old around- can I really say that I want a fairer world for disabled people but still marvel at the things that disables us? Or is this me with my learnt thinking that you can either be one or the other, not both. That things are either black or white, not grey. That like marmite, you either love it or hate it, there is no in between. But perhaps you can be both. Perhaps things can lie in a grey area. Perhaps you can like marmite. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.
These reflections extended further when I saw the first ramp on the second day. The joy, the relief, the unheard welcome. It had me feel that sense of gratefulness that I know I shouldn’t feel. Grateful to access a public building, grateful that simple rights are being met? Does this reading this sit well with you? How often to you hear non-disabled have thankfulness for entry in to such places? Reader, it’s more likely that the number of steps will get criticized. Yet in this moment, I felt so happy that I could explore with ease and go about my day.
In recent weeks, my thoughts have become more stretched. I want to thread carefully about the wording of this because I still don’t know where I sit with it but as some of you may know writing for me is my way to try and makes sense of things somehow. And it revolves thoughts around independence.
For the past few weeks, I’ve experience quite debilitating back muscle spasms which meant I needed even more help than usual. Like many, I have learnt through the years that it’s okay to receive help. It certainly does not make you lesser- everyone has different ways of doing things and personally I love working as part of a team. Obviously, though it was a little frustrating as I just couldn’t get on with things. As I’m slowly starting to get back to some kind of routine and relieved to get some of my independence back.
I sometimes feel like when we celebrate independence, it can feel like we’re advocating for being as non-disabled as possible, writing disability off as something bad. But it’s not about that- it’s about feeling and doing what is comfortable for you, and simply doing what you need to do for you. As I can now take a few steps with a bit of ease, my mind springs to What would Inspiration Porn say? A thought that tries to suppress my joy. Something that says I’m doing something ‘in spite of my disability’, with the toe curling saying if a disabled person can do something, you certainly can. But it’s more about… getting back to my normal, what’s in my scope. So I want to reject this thought. I want and need to celebrate about feeling good again. No one should take that away from you, so don’t let them
The point of this post is to say it’s okay to be on both sides of the coin. You don’t have to have a fixed idea on something, it can change, it can be fluid. You don’t have to grip firmly to one idea
Woooo! It’s been a very long while since I wrote on here! In fact the last time I wrote on here we were transitioning from summer to autumn and now a whole other season has passed.
The reason. Well really, I have no excuse only to say that I’m not a very good juggler! But for a while now I have been itching to get back to blogging things and today is that day!
I want to write here, a few little notes for both you, and also I, to keep moving forwards or even to how we might go about being at ease with where we are- an underestimated thing and something I find personally hard to do. I tend to overly self-access looking for things I’ve missed or not executed as well as I should have or what’s next (attempting to ensure that the next thing leaves no room for errors). I know sometimes we can get ourselves in to a slump in one way or another and the other day I thought about what are those things that help me, and I wanted to write them here.
So, here goes (btw these.. ‘tips’ are just me thinking out loud- so use, don’t use, add remove or even ignore.)
Do more of what you love and reframe from internalizing ableism
A lot of us have a guilt thing around pleasure and feel like we need to ‘earn’ enjoyment. The contents of, and how much, enjoyment we ‘allow’ ourselves to have will be measured by how much we’ve ‘worked for it.’ We have become our own unnerving headteacher that everyone dreads (Matilda’s Mrs. Trunchball type).
As a disabled person who needs more time to do things day-to-day, I feel sometimes I should be doing twice as much in order to seek reward. Though we know this thinking is nonsense, playing into that ableist view, and that everyone goes at their own pace. So for those of us that identify as disabled or chronically ill this is a reminder to not chew on ableist words. You deserve, we deserve, just as many ‘nice’ moments as non-disabled people
It could be spending time with family and friends, exploring new places, reading a good book without thinking of what we could be doing or anything else that puts a smile on our hearts.
Comparison’s a thief
We don’t have to look far before we find that we are pitting ourselves against someone or something else doing something better, or leaves us, in whatever way, feeling less. I mean we all like to push ourselves and make improvements if we want. But it can also make us overly self-criticize, which can stop us on our tracks.
So how can we stop this? I don’t think there’s a definitive answer. But I do think a part of this is about being more aware when we are comparing ourselves and that the thing that we are comparing ourselves to something that is bigger and complex than what we are perceiving. Social media is a great example of comparing ourselves to someone else’s photos, status updates and snippets of their lives. But the same people also have parts that they choose not to share and are more than likely doing the same- comparing themselves to another person.
So we need to try to prevent ourselves from going down the rabbit hole and just remember that what we think is not the complete story and that everyone is just trying their best, including ourselves.
Connection is key
Humans are social beings. The amount of which will vary though, with each individual having their own unique social battery. Some peoples’ runs flat quickly if they socialize too much and need time away to charge, while other social batteries can be sustained and even be fueled by socializing.
I don’t want to sound greedy here, but I think I’m a bit of both. Sometimes i just need space and other times being with others is more than a want, but a need. I believe that perhaps our social battery is dependent on how and who we are spending it with.
No matter which way we flip I think that when we are not feeling our best a lot of us will turn to a trusted person or people in our lives and also when things are going well.
Loved ones can always energize me just by being with them…. I hope this can be the same for you too and if not let this be a reminder that it’s okay to step away and reconnect with yourself.
Get out of your own way!
Okay, this is another cliché but it true. We spend so much time thing about What ifs and worrying and talking ourselves out of things that in the time which we are doing all that, we could have done the things that we are putting off. This is a whole lot easier saying than actually doing, but by trying to be more of a doer we can break the habit of sabotaging ourselves. So before you completely talk yourself out of doing something-just go for it!
These are a few things that help me get out of my own head sometimes. I hope these can help you too.
I started writing this post early in September and it strangely took me a while to form my thoughts. Whilst I speak about the changing of seasons-summer to autumn-, I think some of the reflections I make can be applied, somewhat, to any time, to one’s own personal seasons too. This is why I have left the wording as it is. I have truly enjoyed losing myself and discovering as I wrote this piece. And so I hope you are able to go with me on this and also enjoy this read.
September sees the last utterings of summer. The shortening of length of light by a minute each day, as September ages. indicated that this warm season is coming to a close. Some of us grow back down into routines, after a period of perhaps adventure or a simple pause from the daily workings, if only a while. Maybe the sun, radiating the last of its warmer rays, is soothing us back into our everyday, or maybe trying to echo an element of hope, if it didn’t have that sparkle that you thought it would have- that everyone says it has.
For some of us summer is the season where life seem the most vivid and has an abundance of colour and everything feels that bit more possible…rose-tinted glasses much? I think so. How many times have you heard recently the phrase ‘holding on to summer’? I know I’ve heard this quite a few times in recent weeks. Don’t get me wrong we all want to spend times in the warmth of the sun, but I think that something about fixating and trying to anchor ourselves on something that is fleeting will always leave us defeated; the passage of time will always win. This is a message that has rippled through out the U.K and beyond, with what’s been in the news recently- that, for a lot of us, draws on parts of our own lives, somewhat, making us reflect.
Wow! That got deep so quick! I don’t know but it’s something that I’ve thinking a lot about recently- that the volume of life left to pass in the timer is constantly shrinking. I say the above like I’ve aced and surrendered to the unknown, but that could not be any further from the truth. If we are going full on confessional mode-the unknown is my biggest fear.
I know the unknown has its sparingly exciting charms about it, like discovering a new dish(linguine is a recent for me and is all kinds of delicious) or exploring a new place (especially if disabled access guaranteed) and not knowing what you might find, or how a piece of work might take shape, like writing this, or the anticipation of what will happen next in Virgin River (new-to me swoonworthy series I have found on Netflix) that kind of thing. But the bigger stuff that plays on your heart strings and have unsettling tones is something that has me reach for the duvet.
For me summer as an air of nostalgia to it and gets me in a reflective mood. I toy with all of the unanswerable questions like ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have beens’. I am also increasingly aware that in just a couple months’ time will be entering my last year of my twenties-I mean it would be a worry if I didn’t know my own age, good lord I would be more infantized than I am now, by others, as a disabled person- but that’s a whole other story. What I mean is the heart pounding thoughts of not having my ducks in a row, or not and being the person that my eighteen-year-old self thought I would be ten years on.
My teenage self-romanticized what young age adulthood would be like, I think most of us do at when we’re young. We want independence, we want to be seen in our own right and taken seriously. More personally- I thought that I would stop being infantilized but spoiler alert, I haven’t. I was naive to think disabled adults would be treated the same as non-disabled people.
As a disabled woman, the expectations which I am held to are different. You think I would be slightly relieved to be released the from expectations, but in fact I am annoyed at this. Why the hell should I get off lightly?
Do you remember egg and spoon races at school? Well my ball never fell off my spoon… confused? You would be right to. No it’s not that this activity that magically calmed my tremors, in a strange contradictory technique, it actually made them more aggravated. The truth was that the ball was stuck to my spoon as on its own the ball would fall of within two seconds. I did feel bad for cheating- if it’s any consolation I would always come in one of the last places-, but I guess my teachers just wanted me to feel involved somehow and that was their way of doing this.
My adult self is spilt in two about this scene on the one hand it allowed that kid who was the only physically disabled kid in her primary school not to be left out and feeling the odd one out. However, the other part of me looks at the message this sends out for the bigger things- that disabled people goes through life, and must be treated differently. Yes in some respects we do navigate the world that deviates from non-disabled people i.e some of us need an extra pair of hands for certain activities, or accessing a building via a ramp and not a staircase. This is only seen as different because society views it like this, not incorporating this into the mainstream. Another message from this says that disabled people cannot be seen to drop their ball. Because society views disabled people with a fragile lens, and so to everything they can not to ‘let’ us break, no matter the cost, cushioning us from the world. And also because ‘dropping the ball’, so to speak, would go against that other bizarre narrative that holds disabled people on a pedestal (goody- two-shoes type thing ) and says that disabled people couldn’t possibly fail and oversee our humanness and need to fail-and not being over or under berated for this- not that one should ever be judged for their failures.
So if we use the analogy of the egg and spoon- us, disabled people, being the egg, the spoon being the rest of the world, we need the glue, being the stereotypes or ideas about disabled people, that holds the egg (or us) in one fixed position to be eroded and let us be trusted and encouraged to just be . We need to be seen as humans, that can fail.
I digress. As I have written soo many times before it took me years to speak openly about my disability, unlike now whereby I could write about disability till the cows come home! I wonder if I was more willing to embrace my disability sooner where would I be? Would it have led me to taking different pathways? Of course, I will never know the answers to these questions and this pattern of thought isn’t helpful either. It’s an exercise though I’m sure pretty much everyone knows the mechanisms of, which may include pondering over what another life led could have looked like, missed opportunities, saying no rather than yes or vice-versa perhaps even mulling over past regrets. Still, this reflective practice will be unique to everyone who does this.
I don’t think there is any definitive resolution to these woes, as I think it is something that is naturally reoccurring and is a part of what it is to be human But I think in these moments of thinking back, growing quite and almost yearning for time gone by, we can’t let these times be all consuming and keep us fixated on the past.
So as we approach the end of September, the end of summer and the start of autumn, instead of trying to keep a hold of what is moving away from us, to try and release the grip around this. As I said above time will always win, and as much as we can feel defeated we can’t always perceive this character as an enemy. The time we have at this very moment can be used in any way we like-how cool is that. How we use it, is up to us!
I hope this has provide food for thought for you as we transition to the next season.
Social media. Social media can often be seen in a dark light and as something that can hinder one’s wellbeing. It can be a source of comparison and a play a role in the décor of one’s rabbit hole if they let themselves be consumed by the tiny squares or life updates from others who pick and choose what they share. But there is also another side to this platform, which can be so positive if used in the right way.
The way that we engage and use the online world has changed dramatically from years ago when Facebook was mainly used, with people just sharing updates on their life. However, now there are many outlets and are often used to start conversations and express stories. So given that now social media can be used to shed light on things that may be left in the dark, can at least some of it be seen as a force for good?
I use social media as a tool to express my voice, my thoughts and views about my disabled experience. My disability is something that I used to keep under wraps when I could, not really talking about it voluntarily. However after sometime, writing on this blog and by gentle encouragement from those around me I started to introduce my Cerebral Palsy. I found sharing my ideas in this way to be something that was so freeing, discussing my disability wasn’t something to be afraid of. Expressing this part of myself also allowed for connection with other disabled people and I learnt soo much in turn.
I wanted to know if others felt the same about social media-if others felt that good could come from social media, or if it was me just having rose-tinted glasses on. The responses I got reflected my thoughts that online can be used for good. First and foremost, sharing experiences an having a space to do this was something that I picked up from in one’s person response, saying how it “Gives a personal story of those whose voice might not be heard.” This was something that really resonated with me. Sometimes people may only be in touch with those who look like them, share similar interests and values and be part of the same community. This was also reflected in one response who said how friends of theirs who have “Difficulty [in] communication verbally” “Feel like they have a voice that is paid attention to on here [Instagram], as opposed to in-person interactions where others may avoid communicating with them, or have difficulty understanding them.” This is something that I could identify with, having a speech impediment myself.
It seems that by logging on to the online world, you are logging on to find lives away from your immediate one. One that could be informed and shaped in a way that otherwise wouldn’t be.
The freedom of expression was also something one person said to be a positive about using the online world, saying “Talking about the ups and downs and my ‘normal’ has not only helped me but also helped complete strangers who message that they feel the same way and even created new friendships.” In some regard then, this outlet could be considered an educational tool too. It definitely has for me. Reading/hearing perspectives from other disabled people allows me to better understand and reflect upon how I think about my disability.
The sense of gaining insight is not limited to a disabled person to another disabled person, non-disabled people can learn about disability too. One person replied saying how by listening to disabled people has “helped” them “destigmatize disability and tackle my own ableism”. Isn’t this what the platform should be for? To educate and shake up perspective ….and maybe the odd cute cat photo dump just to please the eyes?
Sharing experiences can be daunting, especially when you are unsure whether anyone will understand and/ or respect what is being said. Even now I still sometimes second guess myself when sharing some perspectives. And so, it is such a lovely feeling when people respond saying that they feel heard or understood. When I went to social media to find out what people thought social media was good for, the sense of community was something that a lot of people touched upon. Someone said how it allows for “Making genuine friendships and being part of a community that understands”, followed by someone else who said how this platform “Provides community and understanding.” The feeling of support is something that I also deeply feel. Whenever I post something online about disability I receive such supportive feedback, in terms of people saying how something resonated with them or sharing their experiences. I feel held. I feel understood. I feel less alone when experiencing such thoughts.
Even though social media can be a trying place at times and I do think it is important to step away from time to time- at weekends no screen time (or more limited screen time) is something I like to often do- it can also be used to bring about positivity. One person echoed how parts of this world can be a good thing, when they said “I have gained so much confidence especially in my body after seeing so many beautiful disabled women on here proudly posing in their wheelchairs, showing off their gorgeous selves and building up other women.”
I think we need to focus on using social media to create change and be a space that keeps starting helpful and useful conversations having even more reasons to celebrate the online world and work to minimize the harm created these platforms.
Ever get that feeling that you’re not enough? That you’re not doing enough? That what you are right now and who you are is not enough? Well this is something that can honestly feel quite lonely and depletes one’s energy and when in such a mind-set….the hope of this turning round does not seem like a move that can be made. However it’s me who is writing this post and even though I can annoy the crap out of myself being a positive Polly and sometimes just wanting to see the volume of water that is in the glass in whatever damn way (without a psychological explanation being attached to this), it is true that this is not a feeling that is felt by a singular person- it is experienced by many.
It feels like I’ve gone off into the deep end, I didn’t mean to here but fear of not doing enough are thoughts that I have been experiencing of late. Back in May I shared on my social media that I had been experiencing pain as a result of my Cerebral Palsy, which meant I couldn’t do very much at all for a while, and for someone like me who always wants to be a busy bee this was kinda hard. Since then these aches have been on and off depending on how much I’ve been doing. It’s that knowing that I’m not doing, not continually moving forwards, which at these times are my more prominent thoughts, the insistent chatter of what I could be doing clogs up the ol’ mind. Somehow this has more of an importance than it did before. I guess it’s a classic case of when you can’t do something, you want to do things even more with the imagination running wild with ideas. Ohhh how the mind chatters!
Sitting there with all these thoughts was kind of like toying with someone else’s story-it wasn’t I who was living out that day, it was a character I created in my brain. A character with no flaws who navigated a flawless day-ironically, this whole idea is flawed! The thing is by participating in such creativity and building a picture of a person of who you think you should be kind of puts one into self-destruction mode, picking out parts of oneself that aren’t enough, that they should be more focussed- basically berating anything that makes one human-the mistakes, the getting things wrong, the going at a different pace to everyone else, the not living up to expectations people or even you had of yourself … the list is endless. All this obsession over what you think you don’t measure up to will only make you feel worse.
I do think now more than ever we need to be kind to ourselves as well as each other. This year has thrown everyone sideways in one way or another, yet we can find ways to tear ourselves down and tell ourselves that we should be doing more or that we’re not doing what we should be. There is no ‘right’ way to think, but if we just found a way not to be too harsh or expect too much of ourselves and be a bit more gentle maybe we would start to feel a little lighter in a world that already seems so heavy. I guess what I want to say is that it’s okay if you are not where you thought you would be, focus on where you are and the pathways that could lead from there. It goes without saying that everyone will experience peaks and trots and just because you find yourself at a low, up against a challenge, facing a flare up, it does not mean you can’t get back or that it will be like this forever. I am saying this to you as well as myself, do not let these not so great days define who you are.
There’s that saying ride the wave. Although this can seem like a fleeting statement, it actually does have some merit-stay with me here. Instead of fighting what you are experiencing and burying yourself down some dark rabbit hole, I started to realise, when I had to take a break from things that rather than focusing on whether or not I was measuring up to being enough or trying to justify to myself as to why I was not doing thing, I started think about how just resting and being more present could just help the future me: if I rest now, I’ll be able to do more later.
It is funny (not the haha kind, more the stop and think kind) how the world is sooo pent up and focusing on fixing things, solving this by pretending they are not there instead working around them. I guess that would require too much ground work. This idea becomes dangerous when these things are not just things but are people and the outlook remains the same- the focus being ‘how can this be fixed’ or ‘made better’. Well, spoiler alert, this can’t be fixed, made better or be shunned away through any other ableist ideologies-how about…they you know…turn that frown upside down and realised that it’s more about people working with what they’ve got. Sometimes disability is seen as some sort of disadvantage, and something that instantly categorises people with disabilities as ‘the disabled’ as if they’re a faulty model. As a person with a disability, it is all too familiar and expected that I will see someone’s eyes widening and their voice reach a new octave as I share a little about who I am, flabbergasted that I am just as human as them. However something in their behaviour says that this stereotype of disability is still being brought into.
Though I write and do my part to raise awareness of disability I do not know quite how to tackle one’s perception of this. Dating back to long ago people with disabilities were…let’s just say there was no voice that represented this community so I guess this stereotype was the only reference point. But this stereotype was only formed because there was no voice, still the only voice that was heard were men in power(sometimes I do wonder if times have changed). Even though the community of people with disabilities has come a long way, with campaigns around inclusions being had, it still feels like we haven’t reached our peak! When I ask myself how I can go about furthering my message, the only possible solution is to keep saying how things are for me, keep speaking out, keep writing stuff like this, call out when people show discriminative behaviour and do not let other people’s words and actions have an influence on how I view myself.
It is not only how people with disabilities are approached and talked to that needs to be addressed, but what is also needed is for society to be accessible and all round inclusive-some may call it ambitious, I call it essential! As I said above, the world can go around fixing things by pretending that they are not there, by this I mean by places STILL not accessible. Checking if somewhere is, for me, wheelchair friendly should not be a part of my ‘check before you travel’ routine. On this note: London underground! Now I know it is at the height of hustle and bustle but it is also the most inaccessible and my question is why? We’ve got technologies for the more unnecessary such as being able to see on your phone who is at your door, so why can’t some investment go into technology to engineer public transport to be just that transport for PUBLIC use, transport for EVERYbody? I’d love to say that the physical form of accessibility that the only an area of that needs stark improvement but this is just the start: how institutions relate to people with disabilities, be it in education or in, or accessing, work need to undergo a major change in order for the same opportunities to be given to everyone. Therefore this means people with disabilities receive equal treatment to everyone else without having to go to extra measures to prove themselves, that extra thing that if disability was taken out of the equation these measures wouldn’t have to be taken. I do wonder if people without disabilities were questioned, were put through tests and were observed in the same way, what would be the response of these people? Would they understand the implications of ignorance? Would they finally see people and not what people have or haven’t got?
I am writing this as I no longer want to be silent and pretend that I am not moved by the inequality that is blandly obvious in society, a society that is fractured and unable stand in solidarity with those with differences. I am one of many with these thoughts and I hope that others who resonate with these words are able to feel empowered to share theirs. But not only do I hope these voices come forward, I also hope people who are on the other side of the coin, who don’t have a disability, that these words play a role in their understanding in how such judgement feels. Perhaps this understanding will also go towards changing their perspective and actions towards disability!
Image description: words in black handwriting that reads: “It’s okay to feel flat you can’t ALWAYS bounce back CONVERSATIONS can be TOUGH doing the RIGHT thing isn’t always enough . We can’t have HAPPINESS without a little pain hard times will pass again & again- emily coxhead.” These words are on a illustrated lined piece of paper. This paper is on a blue background with a illustration of a rainbow in the center. Illustration is by @emilycoxhead
It has been a real long while since I have posted anything on here and I have missed blogging, I really have. I guess it that good ol’ excuse of life getting in the way. But when thinking of it, it’s actually me getting in the way of myself…I mean it’s me who make plans and then break than again. So on behalf of me, that part of me that is the putter offer, that part of me that has made a big, brighter, endless list for tomorrow, I am sorry.
While I have be absent in here I must confess, I have cheated on you with other social media, namely Instagram. I have ever more ripped off the seal that was keeping shut tight the lid on my disability and my thoughts around this, as well as going a bit ninja (as my bestie would say) and have started to speak about things that do not sit right with me- the stereotype around disability and how stigma NEEDS to end. Now.
Now, don’t worry I am still full of rainbow fluffiness happiness and that will not change, but in order for this rainbow fluffiness happiness to continue things need to be aired, views need to be discussed and challenged and we need to stop being so darn polite and just say if something is bothering us- like can people just treat me as another human being and not treating me as if I am the disability? I still think in today’s society a lot needs to be done for it to be a place that is fully inclusive and rather than, or only, accepting differences but embracing differences too.
On here, on this blog was were my love affair with writing begin, and without sounding like Joe Goldberg from You (a Netflix series, surrounding a guy obsessed with, and a therefore “would do anything for” love-and this really does mean ANYTHING!), where I found you. It was through writing I found a way to express what I found difficult to say aloud. Reader this felt utterly freeing and found that the Queen of vulnerability, Brene Brown was right, vulnerability does pave the pathway for connection. Sharing parts of my story, expressing my thoughts on my disability, only allowed me to get to know others that have gone through similar things.
I guess I wanted to remind you that letting people see who you are is important. Why? Because it means that you don’t have to continue to hide and make up this idea of someone who is not you. Because you can start to see who you are and feel your power. Because by doing so you will feel less lonely; in this world of social media and by sharing your experiences there will be people reading/hearing your words and will resonate with them and maybe reach out. At the back of this they will also feel less alone in the world, finally finding someone with a similar story to them.
I want to ask you not to be afraid to using your voice-your voice is your power. It is your weapon that no one can destroy. Use it well dear Reader. I am right behind you.
I intent to show my face on here a little more this year. I hope I will see you here too, hoping we can thrive together.
? It’s a Happy double whammy today?? Happy Magic Monday and also Happy Sticker Day ?
I love me some fun stickers to spruce up my calendar… it’s adds a inspiration for the month (as any rainbow unicorn hearts or little positive words would ?)? Sooo get fun when your organising it might takes the edge of things that feel a little weighty, especially at the start of the year!
Also my writing is a little different than most but that’s ok. I can understand what I have wrote and that what matters, right? If you have a similar writing character, don’t let it stop you from creating your writing artwork ???