I had an amazing time with my Shed family performing CapeAbility for the last time on this years Shed Tour. It’s been a crazy adventure full of fun and laughter. We have performed the show at local venues, Brighton Open Air Theatre and finally at this years Edinburgh Fringe.
It feels really strange knowing now that we are not performing CapeAbility again. I really enjoyed playing my character Flint who’s superpower is all about encouraging others. I loved exploring the themes of friendship throughout the production and being able to use my own experiences throughout the production as well as being able to express my feelings.
I loved performing the songs in the production. I loved the messages we were trying to show throughout the production by using lyrics, facial expressions and sign language.
I really enjoyed making the audience feel more involved in the show compared to other shows I have done with different companies.
All in all it has been incredible and I can’t wait until our next Tour in 2021!
The night before results day I still remember like it was yesterday. My thoughts in my head racing around at a hundred miles an hour.
Did I put my name on the paper? Did I do the right level paper? Did I answer the right questions? Did I read the questions correctly? What if I don’t get the grades?
With all these thoughts and emotions running wild whilst I was lying in my bed. My heart began to race and I knew I was going into a panic attack. So I tried to do my visualisation techniques I had learnt in therapy.
Throughout my time at school I had never been one of the high achieving students in my year. I found writing hard not only because I found spelling tricky but also making sure my writing was going in a straight line. I did a lot of practicing with writing in my OT sessions. It took me longer to write things down than my peers. I found maths extremely difficult I saw it in a way that not many other people did, I found it so confusing.
Looking back now doing all that revision, opening the first pages of that exam paper, then thinking after the exam if I would pass or not and just hoping I would. This time in my life was so stressful I was with CAMHS and being diagnosed with anxiety and depression let alone the fact I was getting bullied at school the minute got in through the school gates.
That night lying awake in my bed just wanting to know my grades the following day. Counting down the time when I would go to school for the last time pick up an envelope and see these grades staring back at me. I believed that my results had the power to not only change my whole life but dictate it too!
However my family and close friends reminded me that I was more than just some letters on a piece of paper. All those things exams don’t test like the fact I want to help others or that my strengths were outside the school grounds like horse riding. My mum said to me we don’t just need doctors or lawyers everyone has a special skill they can offer to the world however big or small they may seem.
I know it’s terrifying and scary and you may feel like these grades will plan out your whole life. Doing all those practice tests then having to mark them to see if you would have passed an old exam paper. Your grades do not own you and do not have the power to stop you being who you are!
You’re going to be OK . Follow your heart and follow your dreams show the world who you really are because we are all worth more than some letters and numbers on a piece of paper and all have special skills to offer the world!
For many years during my time at primary and secondary school I was bullied by lots of different groups of people. The bullying however got a lot worse when I entered second school. At secondary school it didn’t even start on the first day but on my induction day. I was so upset and scared I didn’t want to go to that school in September, I remember coming home in floods of tears just crying on the sofa.
For a while in my first couple of years at secondary school I thought the people in the group I hangout out with were my friends. Turned out I was only in their group so they could pick on me. To begin with I didn’t see it as bullying I just wanted to fit in but then it got a lot worse. They would bully me for many reasons for example being disabled, not wearing fashionable clothes and having curly hair they would throw drinks at me and in my hair at break and at at lunch.
The bullying started to escalate with older and young years bullying me too hitting and punching me. Other people in my year would laugh at me during class I got told several times to kill myself.
The bullying I was experiencing made me feel very sducidal I just wanted the pain to stop. When I tried to tell teachers what was going on they would dismiss it telling me to except it or to feel sorry for the people bullying me.
Over time I started to retreat into myself not wanting to be with anyone or socialise I spent a lot of time in my room as I felt safe in my bedroom when I went out I thought everyone was looking, talking and laughing at me.
I found it extremely difficult to express how I was feeling and what was going on to my parents. And that’s when I found out that when I listened to my music the lyrics would just speak to me and I felt that I wasn’t alone in how I felt. I found that music could express how I was feeling to the outside world as I found it super difficult to try and express my thoughts and feelings to the outside world. I found that music also helped me to keep going as a lot of the time when I came back from school I would be crying sometimes I cried myself to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up.
I liked listening to music as it helped me to try and make sense of all the thoughts in my head that would race around in my head at 100 miles an hour. I found it extremely difficult and confusing to try and think why people treated me the way I did for along time at school. Because I had been bullied for a long time before I started secondary school I thought of it as a new start so when I was getting bullied more and more at secondary school I started to think their was something wrong with me. And that I deserved to be treated the way I did because I started to believe I was a bad person and that everyone’s lives would be better if I wasn’t here.
Listening to music helped me a lot in not feeling alone and that maybe others felt similar to me as lots of people made me feel like I was a freak. I also found that music helped me to face the upcoming days going to school as sometimes a certain lyric made me feel empowered and that maybe I could get through the day a little bit better.
I remember at the time my favourite band JLS helped me massively, I felt I could relate to them as I found out that one of them had experienced bullying and another member of the group was a young career helping to look after his mum during his childhood. As my sister was a young career for me.
I still love listening to music now but throughout my difficult time at school music played a big part in trying to just get through one day at a time feeling that others interpreted the songs lyrics in a similar way to me! The bullying still affects me to this day as I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the bullying that happened to me.
This year I did an adult learning course in Art and Photography for adults with disabilities at college.
I enjoyed doing the art but I found that I really love photography especially nature and wildlife photography. Photography helps me a lot with my mental health as it helps me to ground myself in the here and now. Another brilliant thing I have found is by taking photos of the great outdoors is it has helped improve my mood and can sometimes help me when I am feeling anxious.
Throughout the year I was able to develop my skills in photography and photo editing. So I thought I would share with you some of my top photos I have done on the course.
Autumn has arrived
A fallen leaf
Keeping each other company
Coming into bud
Spring has come
On the lookout
After taking this photo I used editing software to turn the photo into black and white.
From doing this course I have found that I really enjoy doing photography and I hope to do some more photography projects soon!
Last weekend I had an amazing time with my Theatre Shed family and Brighton Shed. It was our first day of The Theatre Shed going on tour. With a our production CapeAbility, which is all about each and everyone of us finding our unique super powers and showing the world that we are all CAPEABLE!
Throughout this whole production we explore super powers, friendships , mental heath and struggles in the education system.
We performed at The Brighton Open Air Theatre the day was great and we were really lucky with the lovely warm sunny weather. We did two performances of CapeAbility during the day.
I really enjoyed doing the movement pieces and having to use my imagination to help create some of the scenes of the production. I enjoyed using drums to help create tension during some parts of the show.
I loved performing at an open air theatre as I have never performed at an open air theatre I was a bit nervous to begin with but by the end of the day I didn’t want it to end.
I found that performing at an open air theatre helped me to develop my acting skills because it made me feel more aware of what was going happening on stage and how to communicate with the audience at different angles as your audience is all around you.
I really loved the day and can’t wait till our next show!
It’s that time again for many students exam season . As we all know exams can be very stressful and challenging and this can have a negative impact on our mental health. Sometimes we feel we have a lot of pressure to do well from outsiders. You may feel that if you don’t reach your targets or your not the best in your class you will have a higher chance of failing your exams. This can be hard as we are always told in school your grades affect what jobs you will be able to do in the future and what kind of career you will be able to have.
I feel that during this very stressful period a lot of us forget about giving ourselves a break and actually remember to be kind not just to others but also to ourselves. We are told a lot about taking breaks during our revision time but I sometimes find this hard as I’m not sure when to use it.
So looking back on doing my exams from doing my GCSE’s to BTECS I thought I would share with you some self care ideas you could do in between revision and your exams.
During my revision time I can get very distracted and find it hard to remember information.
To help me with getting less distracted and help me to ground myself I like to think of a letter from the alphabet and then come up with as many objects I can see beginning with that letter in the room I am in.
Or I like to do the 5,4,3,2,1 activity. This is were you think of:
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 say one of your greatest achievements out loud
Sometimes you might just want to forget about the revision and just relax. I love to listen to my favourite music or maybe watch a video by one of my favourite YouTubers or a TV program.
If I have a longer break I enjoy taking my dog out for a walk in the fresh air and grounding myself in the here and now with nature.
You could maybe do some easy baking like a chocolate fridge cake. You could get creative and do some drawing or painting. You could make yourself a board with nice things others have said to you to help boost your confidence when revising for a tricky subject.
Another thing I like to do in between revision is go on websites such as Pinterest and look at lovely inspiring quotes and funny pictures of animals .
Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat regular meals. Listen to your body it is not a race everyone has different energy levels and study levels. If you are struggling with anything tell a family member, friend or someone you trust they can support you.
Please remember all that matters is that you try your best, we are not defined by our grades, you are worth so much more never forget that!
This week is Mental Health Awareness week, the theme this year is Body Image. The way bullies treated me through my school life really had a massive negative affected on my mental health and how I saw myself compared to my peer group . It still affects me to this day.
Growing up at school with a disability was very hard for me . I looked different from my peer group as I wore a leg splint on my right leg . I couldn’t wear girls shoes as my splint couldn’t fit into many shoes at all sob I had to wear boys school shoes. I remember their came a time when I had to wear trainers to school and I got picked on a lot because my peer group didn’t understand why I could wear trainers and they couldn’t. I’d get called a teachers pet in class all the time.
I remember I would get bullied because of the designs I had on my splint other kids would say they were childish.As well as calling and shouting out words down the corridor when they saw me from “cripple”or a “spastic” to telling me they would cut off my legs. The bullying from wearing a splint got so bad I decided I wouldn’t wear a skirt to school so that my splint wouldn’t show so much. But of course when it came to summer and the warm weather other girls would bully me for not wearing a skirt but instead still wearing trousers like I did in the colder months. I remember this one time when I took off my splint because sometimes it would rub so much and my foot would be red and sore and another student told me they would break my leg so I wouldn’t need to wear a splint. When I came home at the end of the day I would wish I didn’t have to wear one in the hope the bullies would stop. I just wanted to feel accepted and normal.
Unfortunately the bullying didn’t stop their I was also bullied for having curly hair . At school I remember it was really fashionable to have straight hair, however mine was curly. I remember I used to think I was friends with these’s other girls who were popular. They would pour hot and fizzy drinks in my hair and tell me it was shampoo and that I needed to straighten it. But when I did straighten it they would always say it wasn’t straight enough. Having curly hair really affected me for a very long time but now I am on a journey to loving my natural curly hair but that’s a whole different post in it’s self.
One other massive thing that affected my body confidence growing up was having facial hair. I got bullied loads because of it, not just my peer group or other students in different years but also by some members of staff. Bullies made my life miserable. I began to feel scared just at the thought of having to go to school and knowing people would laugh and point. Walking down the corridors or going to the canteen for lunch was so horrible and scary I was always on edge. Other students would shout at me from down the corridors and call me names like Frida Kahlo. I remember this group of girls who threatened to pour acid on me if I didn’t get rid of it. Other students started to try and make rumours about me; I would sometimes just hear people laughing at me as I walked past as I was trying not to make eye contact wishing the ground would swallow me up.
Harnaam Kaur photo from Instagram.
One of my helpers was really lovely and tried to help me. I remember the day she told me one day about a lady called Harnaam Kaur. Harnaam Kaur also known as the bearded dame is a body positivity warrior and activist. She has a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at the age of 16 she decided to embrace herself for who she is. She stopped removing her facial hair just because others didn’t like it.
Harnaam really helped me to not feel like a freak and that I wasn’t alone. Bullies made me want to end my life. With all the horrible things that happened to me at school. However Harnaam helped me to stay true to myself. I now get rid of my facial hair but because I want to not because I feel I have to in order to please others!
Though what happened to me was horrible I am now on a never ending journey with trying to be more body positive as well as building up my self -esteem, confidence and self worth.
If you are a regular reader of my blog or follow me on my social media platforms, you will know that I am passionate about talking about disability. I want to help raise awareness of living with a disability but also help others who have disabilities too to feel not alone. I also want to show others that we might be disabled but we are still have lots of things in common with able bodied people. After all what is normal?
Image from Canva.
I decided to start a blog as I already had an instagram account called defeating disability which I used to document my life though photos. I then decided that I wanted to write about my experiences and thoughts this then lead onto me creating defeating disability the blog! My first ever blog post was last year back in May 2018 and it was about The Riding for the Disabled Association.
Image from Google Images.
I did intend to talk about my disability online from the beginning as I first started defeating disability on Instagram. The first ideas for starting a blog was because I wanted to share my experiences with living life with a disability and show others just because someone maybe disabled that doesn’t mean they can not achieve want they want and that we all have hopes and dreams for our future disabled or not. As well as this around the time I started the blog I was looking into supported living so I wanted to document my experiences with going and living in supported living. Showing others that a future is possible and that a future comes in many different shapes, ways and sizes.
Image from Google Images.
Yes, In the beginning I wasn’t sure if writing about my disability was a good idea because I wasn’t sure how it would be perceived. But now looking back I am so glad I did because I have been able to help other disabled young people . From writing and talking about my disability I now get quite a few messages from people saying that they now are beginning to see that not all disabilities are visible and that if someone comes out of a disabled cubical that doesn’t mean they are ” faking ” being disability.
Image from Google Images.
I get quite a few comments now from people telling me when they read my blog posts they now have a bit or more of a understanding about what it is like to live with an invisible disability daily.
I don’t just talk about disability other topics included Mental Health, Performing Arts, Life ,Recipes and lots more. I have some very exciting new content ideas I hope to use soon!
Image from Google Images.
This is definitely an area I need to work on! I like to lots of photos and pictures in my posts to help break down my writing I also like to use photos that help to illustrate what I’m writing about.
I enjoy blogging about my disability because I am able to share my experiences and this can really help others with disabilities to feel not alone.I also have had messages from people who have disabled relatives or friends saying some of my posts have really helped them to understand more about things disabled people can face and live with on a daily basic . I love writing about my experiences with Riding for the Disabled and how this incredible charity has helped me for many years and continues to help me. I have had messages from lots of people saying that by reading my posts about RDA they now want to do horse riding lessons which I think is just amazing! I enjoy also raising awareness for invisible disabilities.
This one is a hard question for me as I feel that they all my blog posts have a powerful message to share. But if I had to choose I’d probably go for:
1. How horse riding helped me through getting bullied ( TRIGGERWARNING) – This blog post is about how horse riding helped me to keep going when I was getting bullied at school and just wanted to not be here anymore.
2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover- This blog post is all about living with an invisible disability.
3. A letter to the education system- This blog post is all about the struggles I have had trying to access higher education with a disability.
Images from Google Images and Instagram.
I think that their are starting to become more disabled Bloggers and Youtubers entering the community but I think we still have along way to go. I think more brands and companies could work more with disabled Bloggers and Youtubers for example by dong more collabs. I think that disability still needs to be represented in the media more as we are part of society.
Image from Canva
Sometimes I may find it hard but I try and find inspiration from other bloggers or I do sometimes like using websites such as Pinterest to look for ideas. I will always try and write about just normal things I do as I enjoy sharing what I’ve been up too I can sometimes relate it to a disability storytime .
Image from Google Images.
I think that blogging about disability can help to change people’s perceptions however I think blogging about disability can also help others to understand the challenges disabled people can face.More importantly I think blogging about disability and not making it a big thing can show others that the disabled community has more in common with them as they may think!
I tag anyone who is a disabled Blogger/YouTuber who wants to be involved with this tag created by blogger Elin Williams who is behind the disability and lifestyle blog “My Blurred World”.
The hurtful words I got called from bullies everyday are still stuck to me like superglue. The name calling, the abuse, the sound of the bullies laughing going around my head at 100 miles an hour. Unable to make sense of what is going on. What’s actually happening? Instead of what I think is happening?
The names and words they used to called me they probably wouldn’t remember. But for me I remember them like they were only said to me yesterday. Always with me even when I think for just a split second I’ve got rid of them.
When I look in the mirror I see my reflection but I sometimes wish I didn’t see it. Then straight away before I even know it I’m looking at myself and just wishing things were different. I wish I could change parts of my body and the way I look.The bullies words screaming at me whilst tears roll down my cheeks.
For a while I found it hard to look at my reflection. I would always see the negatives and never the positives. It became really hard for me to look at photo of myself let alone having my photo taken.
The voices I have also started to contribute to the horrible things others said to me. It was like I was trapped in my own body. I couldn’t escape I just slowly let myself and others put me down daily. Wishing I was a different shape, wishing that I fitted in and looked more like my peer group so they might accept me.
Going through this has really affected my self-esteem and confidence. What others don’t realise is that the words we call each other can affect us more than we think they will and they can still affect that person for many more years.
I still have those days when I wish I was slimmer. But my body confidence and self confidence is a long ongoing journey but with time I know I will learn to love myself for who I am!