Ableism is alive and well.

There was no way that I could let the weekend by without giving my opinion on the front cover for Interview’s December/January edition featuring Kylie Jenner. For anyone that hasn’t seen it yet, here you go.

o-KYLIE-JENNER-INTERVIEW-MAGAZINE-900

Since the cover was released Interview have responded to the backlash they have received by saying

Landscape photography

The image itself had reference to the aforementioned Allen Jones who is known for his artwork which depicts women in submissive positions and even being portrayed as furniture. What infuriates me about the image is that for some reason the wheelchair is being used as a tool to portray weakness, dependency and passivity. Just because I am in a wheelchair does not make me any of those things.

I know that I am not the first female wheelchair user to air my views about this and the overwhelming message that you get from all the different responses is the same. My wheelchair gives me nothing but freedom and independence. Without my chair I would be housebound. I would never have been able to get my job. I would never have been able to go to university. I would never have even been able to finish school. My chair has allowed me to live the life that any 21 year old should get to experience. So to have it used as a way to portray the limitations that being famous has on Kylie Jenner is nothing other than outrageous.

In all honesty I really don’t think that Kylie Jenner herself is really to blame for this. She’s only just turned 18 and I’m sure we can all agree that at 18 we probably didn’t always do or say the right things. The blame, in my eyes, lies in the hands of the people who decided that this would be a great idea for a photoshoot. It lies with the people who took the photos. It lies with the people who looked at the edits and decided they were acceptable to be in the magazine. It lies with the people who decided it was fine for this image to be on the front page of their magazine.

The reason I started this blog is almost the same reason that I am writing this now. There is far too much ignorance surrounding disability. I would like to know if any of the designers/editors/photographers spoke to any wheelchairs users when this was planned. Because as far as I’m concerned my wheelchair allows me to do whatever the hell I want and the reason that I sometimes end up at a disadvantage is because society judges and deems it “hard work” to accommodate disability. I am the first person to say that the world is coming along in leaps and bounds to make the necessary adjustments that disability requires but this proves that we still have a way to go yet.

My night with Children in Need

Hello everyone! 🙋

I hope everyone has had really lovely weekend. My week has been busy (what’s new!) as was my Saturday. So today has been incredibly lazy and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Now I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but I started a new job a few weeks back and since then I’ve mainly been doing the additional tasks rather than talking to the customers. But tomorrow I start my training and once that’s completed I’ll be speaking to customers all day, every day. I am looking forward to it but as this is my first proper job it is a little bit daunting.

Luckily on Friday evening I was able to take part in Children in Need with work. As the company have quite a big call centre it was picked to be part of the call centre for Children in Need and as soon as I heard about it I volunteered to take part. So if any of you watched the appeal on BBC1 on Friday night and called the phone number you may have even spoken to me!

Snapchat-4433797009314664183 [6230]

It was really great fun and it gave me an opportunity to talk to members of the public on the phone which is something that I’ve not had much experience with before. It’s made me feel more confident about going into my training and speaking to customers. The whole night was great fun as well! There were games, a photobooth, candyfloss, popcorn and ice cream machines and we even had some real life Morris dancers entertaining us for a while. I really enjoyed it but the day itself was knackering. I’d woken up at 5.30am to get to our offices in Bristol and despite the fact that I managed to leave earlier than I planned there were problems with the M25 and the A406 which meant that I didn’t actually get home until gone 1.30am. As you can imagine I wasn’t all that keen on getting out of bed on Saturday morning! 💤

Snapchat-1325824673446528090 [6231]

I’m going to make the most of my lazy Sunday to counteract my late nights and prepare myself for the start of my training by getting a take away and knitting while I watch The Last Five Years. Because what could be better than a hot date with Anna Kendrick? 😍😘

Rest and relaxation

So this weekend I took some well-deserved rest (if I may say so myself 💁). Last week was pretty full on mainly because I had the worst week of commuting; most mornings my journey into work was taking at least 30 minutes longer than usual and most of my journeys home were taking over 2 hours, with my longest journey taking 2 hours and 20 minutes. 👍 By the time I was ready to smite most of the other drivers I’d encountered on my way. So by the time that Saturday came around I needed some serious destress time.

Thankfully I already had something planned with my Aunty Kathy, we were off to spend the day enjoying the delights of the Virgin Active gym that she is a member of. Our day started off with some aqua aerobics. Now let’s just take a moment to talk about aqua aerobics – this is something that I think most people associate with old ladies wearing flowery swim caps, myself included. Let me tell you, I have so much more respect for those women. I have never worked so hard in my entire life. My Aunty and I were both sweating in the swimming pool and both said that we seriously underestimated how much hard work it was going to be. So while it wasn’t quite the easy start to the day that we’d thought I thoroughly enjoyed it and I actually think I’m going to go back this Saturday.

The rest of our day involved a massive lunch to account for all the calories that we’d just burnt off and then some spa treatments (which were SO GOOD 😍).

Before we left I actually signed up with the gym. This is something that I thought about doing for a really long time but it’s just never really worked out. However, the staff at Virgin Active Chigwell made me feel so welcome. At no point did I feel like I was making their life difficult by wanting to come and use their gym and I was shown around just like I’m sure any other member of the public would have been. So I now have a gym membership which I am actually paying for which means I’m actually going to start doing exercise, it’s a miracle.

Sunday was equally chilled and my little sister and I watched our first Christmas film of the year – Santa Clause. Now, before you all start with your outrage about the fact that it’s only just turned November. It’s actually only 46 days until Christmas and that only leaves 6 weekends for shopping for Christmas presents. Which has panicked me into starting to look for Christmas presents for my family and friends because apart from three members of my family (and one best friend 😉) the rest of the people I know are getting the greatest present of all – my love and affection. Soz guys. So if you all promise to leave me to my early Christmas happiness, I’ll promise to make sure that not ALL of the blogs between now and January are based on Christmas.

Deal? Ok, deal. 👏

Don’t forget to like my page on Facebook to get all my latest updates!

Busy, busy, busy

Hello everyone! 🙋

I feel like I haven’t blogged in ages! Probably because I haven’t blogged in ages…I know, I know – I’m rubbish.

Starting a new job has really taken it out of me and it wasn’t helped by the fact that in my first week I came down with the worst cold I’ve had in years. If it hadn’t been my first week I would have taken at least two or three days off. But apart from the fact that from Wednesday to Saturday of that week I did actually sound like a 14-year-old boy going through puberty I survived and I’m absolutely loving my job so it’s all good.

I have been completely knackered though which is why most of the time I’ve just come home, sat on the sofa and knitted until I go to bed at about 9.30 (because yes, I really am an 80-year-old woman) rather than getting my laptop out and blogging. My number one priority is making sure that I’m coping well with work and not overdoing things, but I promise blogging is a close second 😉.

It’s not even just the 9-5 job that’s tiring but I have a drive either end which takes anything from 1 hour and 15 minutes to up to 2 hours (my record is 2 hours and 24 minutes) which significantly impacts how tired I am. Driving home, especially when driving around central London is such hard work and so I really am knackered all the time. After that I still want to see friends and family and go out to the cinema and that’s before I even consider what I still have to do on my to-do list!

cropped

But I feel like I’m definitely striking the right balance, I’ve perhaps been over-cautious but I often find my health and my joints take a real nose-dive when the weather gets colder and so I’ve been careful. I’m feeling good at the moment though, and so I’m looking forward to writing more blogs and hopefully doing plenty more blog-worthy things because somehow I don’t think you want to know about the latest episode of Dinner Date or Come Dine With Me that mum and I watched as I spent yet another evening curled up on the sofa.

Now I’ve got to go, the oven is telling me my dinner is ready and I really need to catch up on last night’s Apprentice – no spoilers please! 🙊

How many people does it take to get a wheelchair user down 7 flights of stairs?

Hello everyone! 🙋

Now first off I’d like to apologise for how long it’s taken me to get another blog up since my last one. It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks, not in any massively interesting way but just non-stop with all my everyday stuff. However, I’m back and here to tell you highlights of my week once again!

My week started off with a hospital appointment at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital which meant I had to take the morning off work. The morning stretched into the afternoon and by the time that I actually got home it was actually too late to get into work. It’s difficult when I’m booking time off for hospital appointments because I can never really guarantee how long their going to be. Especially if I’m seeing a consultant rather because you can be waiting for hours to see them. So while I try and take as little time off as possible, it is completely out of my control how long I’m actually going to be at the hospital.

At the appointment itself though, I found it really refreshing because for possibly the first time ever (certainly the only time I can remember) the physiotherapist that I saw spent a large amount of time asking me exactly what it is that makes me feel uncomfortable in terms of being touched or being around other people. He wanted the exact details of why I feel uncomfortable around other people and at what point I would start to feel uncomfortable. He is now quite possibly the only person in the world who knows exactly what hurts me and what makes me feel uncomfortable, it was like an interrogation…

Tuesday was a very interesting day as well. The street where my office is was affected by a huge power cut. And although we have a back-up generator it appears that it doesn’t cover the three lifts in the building. So I was stranded on the sixth floor of my building just as I want meant to be going home. Now when the building hasn’t lost all its power it’s one of the most accessible buildings I’ve been in. It has three lifts, disabled toilets on every floor, all the doors have buttons to open them up; it’s absolutely perfect. This was just a very unfortunate incident. And the facilities team and my amazing marketing colleagues were incredible in making sure I was reunited with the ground floor. I had Mark pushing me down in an evac-chair which is just a crazy contraption that I am in no rush to use again. Rebecca was carrying my bag and Harry was carrying my wheelchair down. This was from the sixth floor down to the lower ground floor where my car was parked. I was so so grateful because part of me had just expected to camp out for the evening!

On top of this it was my last week with the fantastic Marketing team 😢 so it was full of wrapping up and handing over to another member of the team on top of all the other exciting parts of the week. I was sad to leave the Marketing team but looking forward to starting with a new one. I also have an amazing memento to take with me to my new desk

20151004_204256 [7512]

And I also have a great plan to make new friends in my new department tomorrow morning 😉

IMG_20151004_193001 [6008]

“And though she be but little, she is fierce”

Hello everyone! 🙋

So today I got back from what has been a glorious mini-break in Stratford-upon-Avon. I had the most wonderful time there and I’m really quite gutted that I’m not there anymore.

I did a fair amount of the tourist-y sightseeing but I didn’t do too much of it for a number of reasons:

  1. I need an excuse to go back another time
  2. There is so much to see, I didn’t want to exhaust myself even more by trying to see it all in one go – the whole point was to get some rest and relaxation!
  3. The weather was so beautiful that actually I was over the moon to just sit in the sun and read my book.
  4. It is hard work pushing myself around everywhere and I could actually only go so far before my arms felt like they were going to fall off or my hands were going to blister (I should have been wearing my wheelchair gloves but they didn’t go with my outfit 🙊)

I really have been so impressed with how accessible the town is given how old it is! Which is great because it means I know I can come back and I won’t encounter too many difficulties.

There are a few hilly spots here and there but nothing that was any more difficult to navigate than what I have to deal with at home. Everything has been paved really well there are no outdated cobbles or foot high pavements without a dropped kerb in sight everything was so flat and smooth and I really didn’t have any trouble at all in getting around. The RSC theatres are completely accessible and the staff are incredibly helpful. Even when I went to look at the house that Shakespeare was born in I could still get around easily which I really wasn’t expecting given that it’s a restored 16th century house. There were staff in every room to help guide me which was reassuring even if I didn’t need any help at the time and as I couldn’t make up the stairs to see the bedrooms they radioed to reception and produced an iPad with loads of pictures on there of all the rooms upstairs which was almost even better as I didn’t have to deal with all the other people that were looking around and blocking the way and trying to get through the small rooms. It was ideal really.

The streets did get really busy at times but there was a massive food festival that was taking place so I wasn’t surprised and the food I had was really delicious so I really didn’t mind.

I’ve never really got it when people said that they’ve fallen in love with a place before but I have well and truly fallen in love with this place.

Untitled design

Now ‘once more unto the breach, dear friends’ – it’s back to work tomorrow…

Head over wheels…

So today I had an adventure on my hands.

My car had to go into the garage because it was making a noise that sounded a little bit like a strangled cat. So I booked it into the garage and I was left alone and car-less which I haven’t been since I passed my test over three years ago.

I felt lost.

But once I got over the initial loss and shock of the whole thing I looked at it as a test of my ability to make it in the world without Kacey (that’s what my car is called, don’t judge me).

Turns out I don’t do very well without her.

I ended up flat on my back with my skirt nearly flashing my undies to the world when I fell out of my chair backwards as I tried to independently get myself off the tube. It didn’t go well and I’m now currently sitting on the sofa with tea and cake to help myself get over the whole ordeal.

Aside from the extra pain I’m now in the whole experience was a pretty good one because it taught me a few things:

  • laughing about the ordeal is definitely the best way to go
  • don’t have such a heavy rucksack sitting on the back of your chair because it makes it a billion times more likely that you’ll end up like I did
  • the gaps between the train and the platform isn’t a gaping abyss that will swallow you whole if you even so much and dip your toe into it (except the gap at Bank – that will be the last time anyone ever sees you…)
  • there are so many lovely, lovely people who will come and save your bag, your wheelchair and your dignity when such an incident occurs
  • always say yes when your Mum offers her help.

So thank you to all the lovely people who helped me today. And just a quick final note:

Dear Vauxhall service people,

Please fix my car quickly. As you can see I’m not coping very well without her…