When I started this blog as a student, I barely expected anyone to read it. I thought a few of my friends & peers might find it interesting, and I found that writing about my experiences helped me to process them. It wasn’t until some months after starting to write that I even set up social media to support my blog, & it took over a year before I bought a proper web domain, having never expected Diary of a Disabled Person to get beyond its first birthday.
As the weeks turned into months, & the months into years, my words appeared to be having a bigger impact. More people were visiting my blog, & more of them were returning each week for my latest piece. My follower count was climbing, not just on WordPress but on social media too, in particular Twitter. While I am under no delusions of grandeur or infamy (except for the fact that I am undeniably fabulous), it is hard to deny that my influence is growing.
Anyone who knew me at school will know that I was mostly quiet & reclusive, putting up walls before allowing people to get close, & preferring to spend time with my cat than other people. These traits have mellowed but still exist to this day. My loud & brash mannerisms displayed on the internet give the impression that I am an extrovert, but in reality, if I get an unexpected phone call, you can find me hiding behind the sofa. Yet I unwittingly find myself at the head of a slowly growing movement towards improved accessibility & equality for the disabled, with people looking to me for advice & asking me for my opinion on stories in the news.
Almost on a weekly basis I get emails asking me to participate in equality groups & societies based in Leeds, inviting me to give interviews for articles, & even to appear on documentaries representing the disabled community. Increasingly I’ve had to politely turn down many of these opportunities, as working full time while running a blog leaves little time for rest as it is, & I do have a chronic illness after all!
As an aside, if you message me trying to get me to sell something for you, you’re going to get ignored. If you persist, you’ll get blocked. I don’t do shady business because, contrary to my appearance, I have standards.
Anyway, to go from a complete nobody to slightly less of a nobody in the space of two years has been a lot of things; exciting, enthralling, & downright bloody scary. Recently, an American teacher emailed me to ask if he could use my short stories to educate 9th grade children about disability. After googling what on earth 9th grade means, I said yes, but the idea that I could be having an influence on impressionable youths across the globe does make me worry for the future generation.
I’m proud to achieve what I already have, & I’m excited to see where this goes next. I hope that my influence continues to grow as I would like to help disabled people of future generations have a slightly easier time of it than I did, if only so I can use “back in my day” to annoy them.
While it’s important to me that I don’t become “inspiration porn”, deep down everyone secretly wants to have left a mark on the world, & I feel like this is mine.