Time To Change

Hey,

Haven’t got much going on tonight so I thought I’d say hi. There have been a couple of things on my mind lately and decided in therapy today that it would be a good idea to blog about them.

Firstly I’ll start with the slightly negative topic. I’ve realised lately how damn lonely I can get and how easy it is to feel this way. Don’t get my wrong, I have wonderful friends, but most of them have moved away, live far away, are super busy with work or even live in other countries! Most people would probably say I have a busy social life. I agree, I guess I do. I like to plan activities and arrange meet ups with friends, but these only last so long, they have to come to an end. Then the loneliness starts again. I think *all* of my friends would tell you that I’m the friend that texts them the most or expects responses within the hour otherwise I think something is wrong. I appreciate this is a bit excessive, and I am trying to curb my love for texting a little, but it’s difficult. I think it’s verging on an addiction. My friends are good, I’ve had texts that say “sorry it’s taken me a while to reply, I’ve been busy at work, but I don’t hate you…” – that’s the start of the reply from the friends that know I’ll be questioning whether they still like me if they’ve taken longer than half a day to reply. I appreciate that. Thanks, guys. I know I have the best friends, and I love you all. I just wish I saw you, called you, text you, even got to dance with you more often.

So, the title of this blog: ‘Time To Change”. Basically, I’m looking for ideas from fellow text-lovers about how to occupy myself without texting as much. Cheap/no-cost options would be best. Or, how do you entertain yourselves when you’re lonely or when friends are busy (Wheelchair-friendly options, please)?

Secondly, the title of this blog also relates to my new job. A few of you will know, but I thought it was time to publically announce that from April, I will have a paid job with the mental health Charity, Time To Change. I have completed voluntary work with them in the past, delivering my personal experiences of mental health difficulties to children in various schools across the country. Our aim is to reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues. They’re not something to be ashamed of (yes, I thought they were initially) and the more of us who speak out about them, hopefully the more people who may feel like they can open up and ask for help if they are struggling. Anyway, in April I start my role as Time To Change Regional Campaigner for the West Midlands. My job will be to create and deliver presentations to young people across the region about mental health issues to try and reduce the stigma and discrimination that unfortunately are still experienced by those of us who have/have had mental health struggles. I will then hopefully then train a variety of young people to talk about mental health in their schools and arrange campaigns to raise awareness. I’m due to have an induction on 5th April and I’m very excited 🙂

Finally, I’m at Naidex (that’s the exhibition where I rode on a segway last year) next week. It’s an event in Birmingham where I finally am part of a majority. Thousands of disabled people come together to explore new facilities/equipment and events that we can all take part in. It’s also a great place to network and chat to people who experience similar things and who just ‘get it’ (quite a rarity). So, check it out if you haven’t already. There are also a range of fantastic speakers who share their success stories and tell you what they’re up to next. I’ve met and heard from some great people there and get some good ideas for this blog. Maybe I’ll even see some of you there. Let me know if you’re attending, I’ll be there on Wednesday 29th March.

Right, that’s it for now. Basically I want to make a few changes and am looking forward to new opportunities coming up soon. Let me know if you have any ideas of hobbies/ activities I could do (maybe something a little different to the norm).

Thanks for reading, hope you’re having a good day.

Louise xxx

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Time to Stop Hiding Away (Inspired by Giovanna Fletcher)

Hi Everyone,

How is it March already?! I’m sure the days and months go quicker as you get older! That’s how it feels, anyway.

So, this post has been inspired by a book tour evening I attended last night: a Q&A session with the wonderful Giovanna Fletcher. I’ve wanted to meet her for years (my closest friends have heard me talk of wanting to meet Gi for a number of year, I *love* her books!) so I was delighted when I realised she was doing a meet & greet and book signing after the talk 🙂 ❤

Anyway, Gi has talked pretty openly in a couple of her blogs and vlogs about negative body image. As her new book ,’Happy Mum Happy Baby’, tells her story of motherhood, she spoke for a while last night about not liking her changing body very much during pregnancy (or before) . However, one or two events post-pregnancy helped her to realise that her body was “nothing short of a walking miracle” for growing two children.

I’m not pregnant nor am I a Mum (and I don’t intend to be for a very long time, if ever), but I can really relate to not liking my body and constantly criticising it. So I thought it was about time I talked about it, accepted it, and realised it makes me who I am. It hasn’t served me too badly over the past 26years, I guess.

Most of you will know that I have Cerebral Palsy. A condition I’ve had since birth. It  means that my legs don’t work properly and so I use a wheelchair. However, what some of you might not realise is that I can only use my right hand. My left hand has a mind of its own and doesn’t really do much. Now, I’ve never liked it. When I was younger I called it my ‘mankey hand’ and certainly never wanted it in any photos. For instance, I won a competition in my first year of high school and my picture was put in the local paper. My teacher then wanted to put the article (including picture) on display in school and I stayed late at the end of the day to ensure she covered my left hand up when displaying the picture. “Nobody will even notice”, she told me. But it didn’t help, I still insisted, I *really* didn’t want my ‘bad’ hand being seen.

Back to last night…after the book signing (and photos) with Gi, the first thing I did when I got home was edit the photos to put up on social media. It was only today when I thought about writing this post that I realised I had cropped my ‘mankey hand’ out of the pictures to put on Instagram.

However, at the end of this post I’ve decided to share the unedited version. I am me, and I matter, even with all my flaws. Actually, people don’t care. Everyone else is *far* too preoccupied with what they look like themselves to be concerned with what I’m wearing, whether I look fat , or if my ‘bad’ hand looks particularly ‘mankey’ today.

Staying on the Fletcher theme, and to quote my favourite Mcfly Song:  “We All Look The Same In The Dark” 😀 ❤

I am me. All the body image issues I had as a teenager (and still do have sometimes) took so much from me. They stopped me having fun and wearing what I wanted to at times. They took my health, my mood, and sometimes my friendships.  I’ve now realised that it *really* isn’t worth it. I’d much rather be remembered for being a nice person who gave a damn about people and tried to do some good.

We’re all individual and beautiful (cliche as it sounds) flaws and all. I felt like I needed to share these thoughts. Big thanks to Gi for inspiring this post.

 

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So you can’t even see my hand really, I tend to automatically cover it with my ‘good’ hand in photos. Will try to stop this

Thanks for reading

Love,

Louise

xxx