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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A New Start

Crikey...  where to start?
After so long since writing, it feels hard to know quite where to begin, which I have to confess has delayed posting even further, as rather than just writing whatever comes to the forefront of my jumbled little mind, I have felt pressure to write something of significant worth whilst also questioning, 'who is it that I am writing for with this blog nowadays?'
When I started this blog it was at a time of great confusion in my life, I was feeling lost for a purpose after having to spend months in bed following my spinal surgery and having just been given my diagnosis of Arachnoiditis to explain my crippling neurological pain.
It was a cathartic process of expressing pent up feelings about missing my more mobile former life as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic and as a professional dancer and teacher. I never thought anyone would read my ramblings, so I did find the blog evolving as I began to receive unprecedented attention from press sources after readers who could relate to my situation sought me out and began to spread the word.
It was here that I think I began to become confused about why I was writing, or more accurately who I was writing for.
I felt a strong responsibility to speak to those people who were where I had been earlier in my rehabilitation; who were stuck in that difficult transition between mourning their old lives they had once taken for granted and trying to find a new way of looking forward to the future.
It was at this point that the charity Get a Life! Foundation
was born and those interested in our quest to provide tailored emotional support for those affected by life changing illnesses or injuries would write to my via this blog wanting to learn more about my story.
I can see now that I had begun trying to wear too many hats, by answering those questions and trying to share tools, books and sources I had found inspiring on my journey to those who had found the blog as they were in a similar position.
There then came along those interested in my venture into parenthood with a disability after I gave birth to my daughter in the summer of 2013 and all of a sudden the reader numbers were just huge and subsequently the pressure to please all of these people with each post meant I was spending more time
procrastinating and evaluating whether all bases had been
covered, that I found myself losing what blogging should be about.
After an enforced period of regrettable absence I am choosing to make a conscious effort to be more free in my writing after this absence prompted many readers to get in touch and tell me just how much they have missed hearing about what is going on in my crazy little world of daft dog, mischievous munchkin, long suffering, (albeit, bonkers himself husband!) and of course hilarious and often embarrassing capers in 'The Beast', my much loved/abused off-road wheelchair, which has enabled me to do so many things I would never have been able to do without it.

It is this concept that I have struggled with the most- mine is not an extraordinary life so why on earth do people want to hear about it?
Regardless of my bewilderment of this, you are writing to me asking for more, so I am trying
 my best to deliver.
I guess that the blogs and books that I read myself are also about the simple things in people's lives that I too can relate to.
It is with all of this that I start what I hope to be a new phase in the blog- one where I write with

more abandonment and hopefully more regularity.
A large part of me also wants to rename the blog which was named 'Discover Disability' at a time when I was having to accept that disability would be in my life. It was an attempt to try to accept and embrace my new world: now however whenever I log in to write, I'm also jolted by the 'disability' word, as now I don't think of my life as a disabled one, just simply my life which consists of the the normal, mundane and often embarrassing anecdotes of mishaps with dogs and babies and yes I suppose the added frustration/entertainment of unruly a wheelchairs causing havoc!

It just happens to be that I use sticks and a wheelchair in my life and that I can't go running in puddles with my toddler and dog, so I whizz past them and splash them in my chair instead.
The chair is no longer the enormous emotional obstacle that it once was. As I've mentioned many times before, I fought and delayed living my life again to the full for so long, as I once thought of using the chair as a step backwards and a weakness; half a decade on and the true value of my faithful friend 'The Beast' is certainly now appreciated.
Accepting and using the chair has quite literally enabled me to be a mum, it has enabled me to go on adventures with my husband and friends without being bedridden for months afterwards and it has enabled me to achieve more in my day to day life.
I'd go as far as to say it has given me a life that wasn't possible before it.
My back does not enable  me to use a self-propelled wheelchair and life pre- "The Beast' was mostly spent in bed as anything I do
physically I seem to pay for with great pain.
Using the chair has meant breaking the 'boom and bust' pattern that my pain clinic psychologist educated me about. That psychological help, combined with the chair have quite literally given me a life again, a life that is different, but with the added joy of my daughter, (who also would not haven been possible without the chair), it is a life that I simply adore and treasure every day.

At five years old my chair has now seen better days. After our last long haul flight it lost its walking stick holder  and now uses a bungee cord to keep them in place and more recently it lost an arm after I reached for something in a supermarket and it bent and never went back! It is one headlight down and is more often than not caked in mud and food and whatever else my darling daughter chooses to smear all over it that day, as I take it on off road adventures with my dog and my daughter, much to my husband's dismay!
Happy birthday dear 'Beast', my trusty steed.
I plan to mark such a celebration by upholding my promise to write more and share more of our escapades on here and the Facebook and Twitter pages related to this blog.
Many thanks to all of you for not only reading the blog, but for all of you who have shared it with friends and most importantly writing to me with support and tales of your own.
As always I wish you a wonderful day.
Treasure it, this life is so special.
God bless and see you very soon I promise,
Kaz. X