I’m A Barbie Girl: Representation of Disabilities Shown Through Children’s Toys

disability

When I was in Primary School and it was my birthday one of the biggest memories was getting Barbie Dolls as presents at my party. I used to have a box of them under my bed and every year my collection would grow.

I remember at one point all the girls would bring in their Barbie dolls so they could play with them at break and lunch. The playground was just full of lots of different games involving all us girls playing with their dolls together. During playtime lots of us girls would say we wanted to look like or be like our Barbie Dolls.

When I read an article about Barbie creating a range of dolls with disabilities I thought this was fantastic news. One of the biggest reasons I liked this was because I think that if children are playing with these popular toys then to show all the toys having differences would help children learn and understand from a young age that we are all different, unique and special in our own ways. I think it would also help young children to build up self-esteem and confidence.

By having Barbie Dolls with disabilities I think will help disabled children explore, process and understand what a disability is , what their disability means to them and how others may perceive them. I also think that having these dolls would not only help that child but their family too. As parents maybe able to use the dolls to help explain to other family members such as siblings why their sister or brother doesn’t look like the others in their class.

I was diagnosed with my disability when I was in year 2 , I remember going to all these different hospital appointments were I would have to have all these tests and scans. I didn’t really understand what was going on but then I got told I had a disability.

At the time I was diagnosed and didn’t really understand I think having dolls with disabilities would have really helped me to understand more about what I had. I think this Barbie Doll range would be brilliant in children’s hospital waiting rooms and on the children’s wards.

I think that these dolls could help children who are getting bullied because they are disabled as with a doll they may feel less alone .

You can find out more about the new Barbie Doll range,

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/47212877?fbclid=IwAR0uCNBZ-GStQph4XvP9iG8GUqNxz3D7zWTKc3Rc2guxBwqG9zIj7M8lNlw

The Self-Love Journey

mental health

 

Today is self-love day; for me self-love is a very difficult emotional journey as I have low self-esteem and low confidence due to past experiences.  I often think people around me are talking negatively about me, I might be in a queue waiting  to pay for something or I might just be walking to my class at college. I sometimes feel that I am too short or that I should be thinner.  Self-love is so hard for me a because I can be positive about others but when I look at myself in the mirror I just see and think negatively  for example the voices in my head say “Bryony you’re not tall enough” or “Bryony your outfit would look so much better if  you were a small size.

At school I was bullied by some kids because I have curly hair so for a long while I hated having curly hair and the voices in my head would be like ” Bryony why do you have such frizzy hair it’s not all long and smooth it’s just a heap of frizz”.

Even though I have a long way to still go with my own self-love journey I thought I would share with you some of the things I try to show myself self-love and be more body positive.

 

  1. I love to  just  watch a TV program I like or go on YouTube and watch my favourite YouTubers.

 2. I enjoy taking my dog for a walk and bringing my camera along too so I can practice my photography.

3. I enjoy trying out new makeup looks or trying out my new makeup products.

4. I enjoy watching one of my favourite films such as Mamma Mia or The Greatest Showman

5. If  I have had a long day I enjoy having a lovely bubble bath sometimes adding in a Lush bath bomb.

6.  I enjoy sometimes just doing some home baking and baking.

7. I really enjoy just sitting  down and read a book or doing word searches.

 

With my past care coordinator we recently came up with the idea that I should try each day to say something positive about myself too myself. For example” Bryony I like the way you have done your hair today or” that colour top really suits you”. We also spoke about writing these statements down so when I am in a low place I can look at them.

 

One of my favourite quotes!

Let’s Talk Mental Health

mental health

WARNING: You may find this triggering or upsetting to read!

On the 7th February 2019;Time to Change had TimetoTalk Day. This was a movement all about raising awareness of the importance of talking to others about mental health.

So it got me thinking and inspired me to write this blog post; in this post I will be writing about how opening up about the difficulties I was facing lead to me getting help.

I still remember the day I first told my mum about what was going on and how I was feeling. I was having dinner at the kitchen table like normal and then I just started crying went into the living room and that’s when it all came out. It was finally out in the open everything from how low I was feeling and that all I could see was darkness and I felt trapped I just wanted to end it all. I opened up about the visions I was seeing and the voices I was hearing and my nightmares.

I was so scared to tell anyone as I thought they would find me a complete freak. At the time this all started happening I was also getting bullied by lots of different people at school and it had been going on for years. I didn’t want to tell anyone as I knew if the bullies found out they would bully me even more.

To be honest it was a sigh of relief when I finally was able to tell someone about everything. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Through opening up about what was going on I slowly began to realise the darkness I was facing I didn’t have to go through it alone or keep it a secret from everyone and pretend everything was ok when it wasn’t. I also realised that the people who truly care and love me didn’t see me as a freak they wanted to support me in getting help.

Even though it was terrifying for me to tell my mum as I didn’t want to upset her as well as this I found it scary to get it out in the open. I’m glad I did because even though I still suffer with my mental health on a daily basis with depression, PTSD, my voices and more I feel like more people can help support me daily. I have worked on lots of different things with lots of different types of professionals making myself what I like to call my “tool box “as I have learnt lots of different types of strategies for coping for different things and communicating with my voices. In the past I have made a Self-Care Box or little reminder cards I can use or have positive statements on a piece of small card so I can look at it if I have low self-esteem or low confidence to name a couple. I now feel less alone!

You can find out more about the movement here: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/time-talk-day/support-time-talk-day-online

How Performing Arts Helps My Mental Health

mental health

I have been a Performing Arts Student at my local Stagecoach School for the past 3 years. I have found that Performing Arts has a really positive impact on my mental health. As you may know I have mental health problems; sometimes this can be very hard to tell or explain to someone anything about my difficulties.

However Performing Arts has helped me to express my feelings and emotions in many different ways both physically and verbally. Through doing workshops in dance and movement I have been able to express how I am without having to speak all the time. I also find that dance can help me to identify how I am feeling and by doing this I can start to make more sense of my emotions and I start to feel less anxious and scared.

I enjoy singing lessons as I find that sometimes when learning a song the words really “speak” to me and I feel more connected with the song. This not only helps me to perform it better and with more emotion but I start to feel less alone. Sometimes when I singing a song I try to focus on the song’s lyrics and try to relate the song back to an experience I have had. This can help my PTSD as I do sometimes use this as a way of helping me trying to process a traumatic event from my past. I have tried this in past sessions with my psychologist.

In my acting classes I enjoy being” other people” but I have found if possible trying to use my experiences in acting has really helped me to process negative experiences. I find when I use my experiences in acting it helps me to tell the story more and the audience starts to feel more involved with the show.

I find doing Performing Arts a creative, good and safe way to express myself and to challenge my past experiences such as being bullied in a positive way!

Performing Arts is helping me with my on going journey to growing in confidence and not have such low levels of self-esteem.

Performing Arts has such a positive impact on my mental health , in the future I would love to do acting professionally!

Did you know about Stagecoach Performing Arts School and Young Minds Charity’s Partnership, to find out about this amazing partnership please check out: https://www.stagecoach.co.uk/about-us/our-charity-partner

My Journey With PTSD

mental health

Please be aware this is just about my experience and that I am not a medical professional!

Back in 2015 I was diagnosed with PTSD; I remember being asked what I knew about the condition and to be honest I knew soldiers could be diagnosed with PTSD and that you have flashbacks to past events but that was about it. I never thought I could be diagnosed with it because of the horrible things I went through with being bullied at school.

Through the years of living with PTSD I have learnt quite a lot about my condition on a daily basis and also hearing the myths about PTSD. I thought I would share with you things I learnt about it through living with the condition in everyday life.

1. Anyone can be diagnosed with PTSD not just soldiers.

2. Triggers can happen even through the smallest of things. For example I sometimes get triggers if I see a young person messing about with their mates. For me this can take me back to my experiences of getting bullied quickly. Sometimes the flashbacks just come and I don’t know why.

3. PTSD does not have to come immediately after you have gone through something traumatic. I was diagnosed with PTSD from being bullied when I was in school but now I am not getting bullied by others but it still affects me to this day. I find it hard to trust people in college as I don’t know if they are being genuine.

4. I remember when I once told a teacher that I had PTSD and that’s why I was in a bit of a panic they said to me ” get over it and could I really blame them for picking on me. “At the time I felt so stupid and weak. But now I realise that having mental health problems doesn’t make you weak at all in fact I would say on the good days I have it has helped me to realise having mental health problems is not weak at all and it doesn’t define you !

5 Ways Stagecoach Performing Arts School Has Helped Me In Everyday Life

life

I started going to Stagecoach Performing Arts School about 3 years ago. I remember going to just watch some lessons they did with my mum before I had my taster days to see if I liked the environment I also got to meet the teachers. I went to see their Christmas Production so I could see the types of things I would do for a show. This really helped me to lower my anxiety; I would highly recommend doing this if you have anxiety. I enjoyed my taster days so much everyone was so friendly and kind.

Looking back on my journey with being a Stagecoach student I thought I would share with you some ways Stagecoach has helped me on a daily basis.

1. Stagecoach has helped me to not to be as scared about trying something new when you don’t know anyone there. When I joined Stagecoach I didn’t know anyone else but by doing something where I didn’t know others it helped me to be more confident about trying new things.

2. Stagecoach has helped me to socialise with people of all ages as well as helping me to talk to new people. When I first started going to Stagecoach I was very shy but now I have lots of friends and I am now more confident when talking to others.

3. By doing productions in front of quite a big audience I have built up my confidence when talking in front of my class when I had to do a presentation for my course work. At Stagecoach we work on projection and speaking clearly so people can hear us better this has also helped me when doing presentations in front of an audience.

4. By joining Stagecoach I have built up on my team working skills as we do a lot of group work. We are given a task to do then in groups we come up with ideas and who’s playing which roles etc.

5. When we are rehearsing for a production we are doing; we may need to do research for the show. For example I may do some research on the character I am playing or I may research about the time the production is set for example the production maybe set in Victorian London. By doing this I have found it easier to read around a topic I maybe doing for some college coursework .

My Experience Volunteering In A Charity Shop

life

I’ve been volunteering at a charity shop for a while now and I thought I would share with you my experience. I first started to volunteer at the charity shop as I wanted to find a work experience placement with college. I wanted to learn new skills and gain more experience in the working environment. I am known as a Retail Volunteer as I volunteer in one of the charities shops.

I volunteer at the shop once a week for a couple of hours. At the shop I do lots of different tasks both with customers and in the stock room. To begin with I might help sort through lots of the donations we have been given; I go through each bag making sure we only price items which are in good condition. The donations we get range from clothes to books, accessories and lots more.

I will then go through all of the clothing items we can sell and put each one on a clothing hanger and put the correct sizing cube on each hanger too. I make sure that each item is priced before putting each item out on the shop floor.

Another job I do is stock rotation this is where we bring stock from the shop floor back into the stock room to create more space for more recent items to be put out.

I sometimes may research the donations the shop gets so that we can tell customers more about the product for example old books or cameras.

To begin with I helped to make the shops window displays. I now create some of the window displays by myself. We base each window display design on a theme for example orange and gold or we might do a window display based around a current event like the World Cup or a season like the Christmas season.

When making the window displays I first try and find a main item or piece of clothing that stands out to me I then work with other items to create the feel and look I want the display to have.

Here I am finding clothes for my window display design I am also dressing the mannequin in the clothing I have chosen.

One of the very first window displays I created was based on the colours orange, cream and gold. This was because I had found a lovely orange dress I wanted to put into the window I then found cream and gold items that worked really well with the orange.

When creating window displays I not only have to find clothing for the mannequins but also accessories to go with the items of clothing. For example jewellery,shoes and belts.

I also make bric a brac window displays. This could be making a window display for a upcoming  sport event like Wimbledon. To create a window display based on this theme I may use tennis balls and tennis rackets with tennis shoes. I may also add some books about the sport into the display.

Here is a window display design I am starting to make based around Wimbledon 2018.

I made a window display based around The World Cup 2018.

Here are some photos of my window display based around The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I steamed a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses as well as finding bric a brac items for the display too.

Lastly I have just recently started serving customers at the till independently!

I would definitely recommend volunteering at a charity shop if you are interested in working in retail or you want to work in the fashion industry. I also think you would enjoy volunteering in a charity shop enjoy if you like being creative and love fashion.

Riding For The Disabled Association: Helping To Train Billy

disability

Billy is a young pony that loves to look around and be the first one to know what’s going on. He is a very sweet curious boy. I love riding him; I fell in love with riding him the first ever lesson we had together. There’s nothing quite like the bond between a pony and its rider.

Recently I was riding Billy in one of my lessons when we went out on a hack in the woods. Riding him now made me think about how far he has come from being the new little boy at the stables. I remember when I first started to ride him last year helping with his training. I helped him learn the ropes of working as an RDA pony.

In the beginning I worked with Billy a lot to try and improve his focus so that he didn’t look out of the riding school as much. He is now so much better but he wouldn’t be him if he wasn’t just a little bit nosey. Billy and I have done lots of work together practising 10 metre circles, doing loops and going in and out of cones. I then started to put halts in to make sure he was listening to me but also to keep him interested and engaged in lessons.

When I go horse riding I do have a lead helper however sometimes I do go off the lead rope. Billy and I have done a couple of loops of the riding school off the lead rope together. I have worked with Billy to make sure he stays on the track and goes into the corners. As well as being able to change of rein in the school with other horses and ponies in the school too without him getting distracted or confused or putting his ears back to to the other ponies and horses.

I’m so proud of Billy and how far he has come. He is now able to be ridden by lots more people. He still sometimes forgets to lift up his feet. I love seeing him learn new things. I love that more people get to ride him now; this fills me with joy knowing that others will love and enjoy riding him too. He is definitely a brilliant and sweet addition to the RDA family!

I can’t wait to ride him again soon and too see what he achieves in years to come!

YOOCAN: A Supportive Online Community For The Disabled

disability

I remember when I first found out about this online community through Instagram. On Instagram they share stories of many different disabled people from around the world. When I looked at the website a big smile grew across my face. This was because I found a place where disability was embraced and not laughed at.

YOOCAN is an online community where people with disabilities from all over the world can share empowering stories about living life with a disability. Here people write about many topics for example they might do a product recommendation . Or write about what it is like to travel with a disability. Another topic I love to read from is all about other people’s hobbies.

I can’t say how many stories I have read about covering so many different topics. When reading others stories and experiences I feel that I am not alone. I also feel that others get it and understand. It’s a great way to get tips and tricks on things I may find hard to do such as cooking. I have got some good fashion styling tips as well. For example when I wore a splint at school I was bullied for this and wearing one made me feel very self-conscious. I didn’t like showing it so wore trousers quite a lot even in summer. Kids bullied me because I couldn’t wear girls and women’s shoes I had to wear boys shoes as my splint made my shoe size bigger etc. By reading other people’s stories I realised that I wasn’t alone in feeling self- conscious and being bullied for wearing a splint. Reading others experiences made me feel that I was not a freak. I felt like a freak a lot of the time at school as that was one of things other kids called me.

One of the big reasons I love YOOCAN is how people write about their stories and their experiences they have had in a positive way but also keeping it real.

Being part of this community definitely helps me with my confidence and self-esteem as I can also write about my experiences; I find I can really relate to others with thoughts about being a disabled young adult on topics such as having to need more support than others my age. Or when my friends wear high heels but I have to wear flats. Just the simple small day to day things that you wouldn’t really think about or notice.

Lastly I think YOOCAN slogan “do anything” is so positive and sends a very powerful message to everyone. Just because someone has a disability that doesn’t mean they don’t have ambitions and dreams. It doesn’t matter who you are your dreams can come true!

Website: https://yoocanfind.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoocandoanything/?hl=en

 

yoocan contributor badge

My 19 Goals for 2019

life

 

Happy New Year to you all, I can’t believe its 2019 already!

As it is the beginning of the year I thought I would share with you 19 goals I have for 2019. Here they are:

1. Surround myself more with the people who make me feel more positive and happy.

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

 

2. Know that it is ok to say no

img_6680

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

3. Try new recipes

(Photo Source: Free Canva Photos)

 

4. Get better at budgeting

( Photo Source : Free Canva Photo)

 

5. Read or listen to more books, magazines, radio programs and podcasts

( Photo Source Free Canva Photo )

 

6. Post regularly on my defeatingdisability Twitter Page

( Photo Source : Google Images )

 

7. Join a gym and go swimming more

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

8. Do my own photography projects

 

9. Experiment and try out new makeup looks

 

10. Create myself a blogging schedule so that I am more organised and can upload more content for you all to read.

( Photo Source: Free Canva Photo)

 

11. Get back into doing different types of journaling for example art journaling

 

img_6678

( Photo Source: Free Canva Photo)

12. Do more volunteering

4bce4f6c-3256-452d-8d24-b95f6603e85d-1

13. Create myself little reminders of things I could do for my own self love and self-care.

( Photo Source: Instagram- @blessingmanifesting , go check out her page to find other self care ideas. )

 

14. Don’t be afraid to try new things and give things a go.

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

 

15.Build up my body confidence

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

 

16. Embrace my curly hair more

 

17. Learn more about how to care for a range of different animals

 

18. Try not to focus on the past but look towards the future more

( Photo Source : Pinterest )

 

19. Write down my achievements however big or small, so I can look at them when I feel down.

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

I would love to know what your 2019 goals are, you can comment below . Or send me a message on any other defeatingdisability social media pages .

I wish you all a very happy new year full of love, happiness, laughter and adventure!