This year, like every year, I told myself was going to be my year. I was going to lose two stone, start a celeb inspired skin care routine, revamp my style and write more posts. "2017 is this time to make a start on my future", and this was true for the majority of the new year. Until April, when life took an unexpected turn.
A few years ago, back in my sixth form days, I had knee reconstruction surgery, which fixed one problem but seemed to cause several more. Unexplained pain and swelling means my crutches have never been far from reach and are never out of action for long. Painkillers become my best friend and my bed becomes a prison, instead of a place of refuge. But these ‘flare ups’ only seemed to last a few weeks before all the issues vanished. It was a mystery, so when I started to get a flare up in April I thought nothing of it, carried on and tried to ride it out! After all I thought it would be over soon.
Now its August and the pain is worse, the crutches are constant and using a wheelchair outside of the house is a necessity. A pretty crap thing to have to come to terms with when you had a summer of adventure and travel planned. I was forced to wave three of my best friends off interrailing, a trip I so desperately wanted to still be able to go on. I had to watch as people carried on with life, working, going on amazing work experience placements and having a normal social life, while I lay in bed, lonely and depressed. My life had been put on hold.
|Glitter and festival ready. Wheelchair selfie but you cant see it!|
Coming to terms with the fact you’re becoming disabled is one of the hardest experiences, possibly the hardest emotional strain I’ve faced. I didn’t want to be different, I didn’t want to face people who knew the person I was, I didn’t want anyone to see my struggle. People don’t understand that I don’t seem to be getting better this time. People didn’t understand I can go from having a ‘good’ day to a ‘bad’ day very quickly, this makes it harder. It is true, ignorance truly is bliss, while people don’t see me struggle, if I don’t have pictures taken with my crutches in them, if I don’t make it obvious to people, I’m not disabled to them, but this choice isolated me more.
With my third year of university around the corner, I considered deferring a year, or transferring to a university at home, until one day something clicked. Can I take being away from home? Can I cope? I rely on my mum for so much, can I manage alone? This summer I had plans to travel, eat, have new experiences, gain work experience in an industry I love. I had no choice but to put these plans on hold but why should I put my life, my future on hold? I started thinking I can be a television presenter, no matter what happens with my leg, so why shouldn’t I start living again. Becoming disabled, losing the independence you’ve always had is a barrier, but it isn’t a barrier that can’t be overcome, or completely smashed.
“You’re a lovely girl and I think you have so much potential, but if your legs don’t work please don’t contact me for work experience again” – I was told this by someone I’d arranged work experience with this summer, it knocked my confidence to the point I haven’t written or filmed for months. This sentence now motivates me to keep going, smash the barriers and not let anyone tell me no. I will carry on and be the best version of myself I can be. I will present music festivals. I will still admire my idols, watching Phil and Holly on this morning, wanting their jobs, becoming a big of a star-struck fan girl when I get the chance to meet people like Fearne Cotton at Glastonbury.
Always be the best person you can be, lift people up, don’t knock them down. be understanding of peoples struggles and admire their determination.
‘Be the girl who helps someone glue their eyelashes back on in the club toilet, instead of the one who walks away laughing.’