"Let the games begin!".
I am so proud to be a disabled person in the UK as of this evening! London and Bath University have excelled themselves for creating physically disabled friendly ,utopia ,athletic villages.London transport departments have tried their best with city transport provision for the wheelchair bound fellows amongst us getting to and from the stadium.If you want to go anywhere else in the UK good luck because the rest of our transport sucks!
For the last two years ,in the UK, a disabled person,whether with mental illness or physical difficulties, have felt like a Jew in Nazi Germany. The rise of poorly researched anti disabled journalism has made many genuinely disabled people feel victimised,classed as Scroungers, not crippled enough to warrant help, too crippled to be shown in public, all cheating the tax payer whether they work or not, if you are disabled then you should be a vegetable in a wheelchair, dribbling and unable to speak, stuck in a special institution. If you smile, put on make up, look pretty,can articulate , persevere through life with as few crutches or aids as possible then you do not match the stereotyped view of a genuine disabled person and therefore some simple public fellows feel you are faking it. The Sun, and the god awful BBC Saints and Scroungers programme to name but a few examples of horrendous journalism,have given rise to this new culture of hatred towards anyone who is "different". However the tide is turning,mainly due to the Paralympics, whilst an international audience watch the UK, the UK has had to pull itself together, journalists anxious to not miss a trick for profits are suddenly holding disabled people up as heroes, or as the BBC like to patronisingly call us "the disabled saints"!
My pride overflows for all of our UK athletes, able bodied or not, the work they put into being the best is just outstanding and puts joe blogs who moans about his work, in the NHS, bank etc to total shame! These guys get up at 4am and train till 7am ,go about their day, then get back to training from 6pm and do not stop till 9pm! Add a physical disability to that, pain requiring huge morphine doses just to train that day, a struggle to time manage it all especially as some daily living tasks, that take a well person five minuets to do ,takes a physically disabled person twice that amount if not four times. Our Para athletes are indeed an inspiration to all, not just to other disabled people. However are they heros?
No, there is no disabled person who is a hero, anyone who wakes up tomorrow having had a stroke, shooting pains in every limb, collapses to the floor as they can not feel their legs, these are things that happen suddenly to healthy people, over night, no warning, many illnesses and disabilities just arrive at your door! My husband knows of a once very healthy friend, massively sporty, adventurous, who didn't realise he carried a silent bacteria around his spinal fluid, one day this man bent over to pick something up and bang, collapsed, is now paralysed thanks to this bug just hitting in his spinal cord! These newly effected people have a choice to make, accept they will never be pain free or able to walk unaided or normally ever again, quit life,never see or do anything or effect anyone's life for the better ever again. The alternative is to choose to live as full a life as possible, find a different way of doing something,adapt to your painful body, persevere through some of the pain and try your hardest.
Every one on this planet already does their best but as a disabled person you need to be dedicated to trying, you can not afford to have days of quitting or basically you end up in a very deep spiral of depression and end up giving up.
Day in,day out, the athletes that live with creaky,damaged,bendy or numb bodies live with determination to get on every day and not just in the public arena of the 2012 games. Ahhhh I feel the pride in me now.
There are always able bodied and disabled people who moan, feel entitled to more and more, feel that they have no need to try for themselves and yet expect every one else to give their all to them.Well all I can say is I hope the games will help them realise there is another way.
The Para games will be redefining the public opinion of a disabled person so lets join our athletes and support this! Disabled parents, we are like the Para athletes in so many ways, heck just by having a baby redefines family opinion let alone public opinion of me, me who has been on chemo, me who had had operations every year of my life since I was eight years old, me who walks funnily and slowly, gets stared at by adults and kids. I know there are thousands of others out there like me, I am not novel nor am I a person to put on a pedestal, I made my choice, I pursue it, I get on with it and I am a Paramummy!
|DisABLEd Positive Parent Icon by Mark Jephcott|
Paramummies weight lift- lugging a baby around with useless arms or using our whole bodies to lift our child requires dedication, practice, early morning training and late night training. Buggy lifting, washing lifting.
Para mummies constantly move no matter what the injury- we all probably cover miles in our house through out a day whether in a wheelchair or on foot, or crawling just to keep check on the little one!
|Did I mention my assistant dog who is a mega weight lifter as she helps me on and off the floor! Go go Para dog aka "Canine Partners" dog|
Para mummies race against time- changing a nappy takes us three times as long as an able bodied person due to limb restriction, having to use our mouths to undo and do up nappies etc so the pressure is on when the child is an impatient toddler and believe you me toddlers are tough trainers! You feel like you have won gold if you manage to change a nappy in under ten mins, child looks almost shocked at your great time!
Para mummies keep motivated- no time to get down, mope about pain, mope about what others can do and we can't, we just have to persevere with our weird but effective ways of parenting.
Para mummies are gymnasts! That's right, you try standing on one muscle wasted leg,bad leg out behind you, leaning on one arm that is deformed, whilst changing a nappy with one hand, that is Yoga baby!
Para mummies are strong- we are human, we have days where we feel we could have been better parents, that we could have handled food being thrown around a room with more dignity, we would love to go to able bodied parent and child groups and sit on a floor with everyone, then we feel sorry for our little ones for not having the healthiest mummy who can not take a toddler out regularly. We feel emotional, disappointed in ourselves but IT LASTS FOR HALF AN HOUR NOT A WHOLE DAY! We find what we are good at, reading to our child,painting with our child and we think actually we give great quality time,may not be action packed, may not be quickly done but we are doing our best and keep doing it!
So here is to the lovely public, the differently able athletes on stage tonight and over the next few weeks and to all other disabled people who are great Psychologists, lawyers, geneticists, artists,engineers,parents,teachers etc all who do their best, strive to be the best at what they do and genuinely are a positive thing in the great UK.
|A brilliant piece drawn my my husband who has severe arthritis in his hands but he keeps on drawing, now that is passion for his art for you! By Mark Jephcott|