A few months ago I wrote a blog post on How My Physical Disability Can Be Perceived in which I kind of defended myself in saying I’m not always as complicated as I seem. I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions that I don’t like the fact that when I say I did maths at college people assume I had to redo my GCSE’s, but on the other hand this doesn’t mean that my physical needs aren’t demanding because at times they are. I’m not writing this blog post to write a list of my needs and tell you what I can and can’t do, because let’s face it that’s a bit boring and a bit too much information. However, I want to give you a few examples of how not everything is as it seems…
For example, take my profile picture- on this day I was going to a party (I’m aware I need a much more professional picture hopefully I’ll have a new one soon) so, I have my hair done and my make-up on. Everything looks ordinary, yeah? It is ordinary but I didn’t do my hair or my make-up, my sister did. I’m not saying the sole reason why she did my hair and make-up is that I couldn’t have done it because I can, it just wouldn’t have been as good. I understand, that I’m not an artistic person and I’m not saying that without CP I would be a hairdresser or a make-up artist, but this would certainly be easier. So, why am I tell you something I’ve already told you before? This is because on this night people at the party who didn’t know me and was sat at the other side of the room probably just thought that I was an ordinary individual with no complexities. This isn’t a problem, I am an ordinary individual and I do want to be treated the same but, at the same time, I wish that people could just see how much effort it’s taken me and my sister to get my sat there looking how I wanted to look.
Another example is when I’m sat in a restaurant eating with friends or family, to other people around me I’m just enjoying a meal. Which I am (I always enjoy food); the people around us won’t know that whoever I’m with has had to cut up my meal or that I’ve ordered a burger because it’s a lot easier for me to eat. Whenever I go to university or placement I always make sure I look respectable; people don’t realise how much effort goes into me looking respectable for example when I’m on placement I have to have my hair tied back which again means that my sister or mum has probably done it. I love fancy tops it’s very rare you’ll catch me in a plain t-shirt, in which I might have a top that buttons up, meaning that someone has helped me that morning to button it up.
I don’t mind that I need help in these situations because I’ve never known any different and I have got more independent at doing tasks like my hair and my make-up over the years; I know that I’m always going to struggle with buttons. Which is fine I don’t want people to feel sorry for me but if people knew how much effort these daily tasks take me then I feel people would understand my complexities a lot more. For example, in the winter I go to university I have a cold- so what it’s winter everyone’s got cold, I’ll put a brave face on and not complain. But it affects me so much more in terms of fatigue and puts me at the risk of potentially having a seizure and even though I may not complain at university I’ll come home have dinner and go straight to bed because I’ll be too tired to do any other work. I’m not saying that an able-bodied person doesn’t also do this, but it’ll be a lot easier for them to push themselves than it will me because that work may only take them 30 minutes but for me, it’ll take an hour.
I’m not writing this blog to tell you how complicated my life is and to be negative, I’m writing this blog to explain to you how many elements of my disability are hidden. When I went to Berlin with college, my friends said that they didn’t realise how much I depended on someone because when I’m at college and university I don’t need to depend on someone as much because plans have already been put into place; when I get home and I need someone to cut up my dinner and bring me a drink upstairs so I can wind down and watch TV whilst drinking a tea. It’s fine that these parts are hidden we all have private aspects of our life’s disability or not but my hidden aspects hide a lot about my disability and I just feel like if more people knew this my needs would be a lot more clear and I wouldn’t have to explain why I’m not going out that night even though I may only have a sniffle. I’m not saying that people wouldn’t help either; at times situations occur where I don’t feel like explaining and telling everyone about the private aspects of my life.
Thank you reading,