Five Years of Diary of a Disabled Person!

Pineapples sporting party hats and sunglasses among balloons.

As of yesterday, Diary of a Disabled Person is a staggering five years old. A remarkable amount has changed since starting this blog; during these few years I have graduated university, become engaged, got married, and had three different jobs. I’ve written for countless publications, won awards, and built up a moderate social media presence. I’ve even started a disability rights movements within my workplace. Three homes, two major surgeries, and a name change later, my life is almost unrecognisable, but throughout it all Diary of a Disabled Person has been updated approximately once a week. That’s over 250 blog posts!

To celebrate I thought I would look back on the past five years of content, and choose my personal favourite blog post from each year. So, without further ado;

2017: Dalek Days.

Dalek Days is one of my first real attempts to incorporate my sarcasm and dry humour into Diary of a Disabled Person, and remains one of my best examples of doing this. In this post I reflect on my frustration at inaccessibility, particularly in regards to stairs, from the perspective of someone who, unlike the Doctor Who villain of old, cannot levitate. I compare that plight wheelchair users face to that of the pre-flight dalek, and the joke seems to resonate with others. In fact, I still make the same joke to this day.

2018: Attack of the Brain Frog.

The phrase “brain frog” first came about on an online chat room for adolescents with M.E that I frequented when I first became ill. When describing the symptom “brain fog”, the poor short term memory and lack of confusion that is associated with some chronic illnesses, someone joked that they misread the phrase as “brain frog”, ironically as a result of their foggy brain. Henceforth, whenever I see brain fog being discussed, I cannot help but smile at the term.

Over the years, I have made many blunders that were at least partially down to my unclear thoughts, and in this blog post I recount some of those. It’s one of the first examples of me being truly comfortable with becoming disabled, and reflecting this positivity through humour, even at my own expense.

2019: Killing the Red Lion.

It is more than a shame that many popular social movements actively exclude disabled people, a prime example of this being the backlash against big chain pubs like Wetherspoons and Greene Kings in favour of independent pubs. On the surface, favouring small and independent business is a great way to get back at corporations and to support the local community, but sadly small and independent businesses have a dreadful habit of being completely inaccessible. When travelling to various cities across the UK, I often find myself resorting to Wetherspoons or Greene Kings if I want a drink, purely because I can get through the door. Killing the Red Lion explores my reasons for being fed up with the excuses as to why independent businesses cannot be accessible, and focuses on one of my controversial beliefs; that boycotts in general are privileged and ableist.

2020: How To Talk About Disabled People.

In 2020, having a little more time on my hands for some reason, I began to explore creating “listicles”. While this style of post takes longer to produce than a more conventional article, they are a popular format for a reason. They’re easier to read than a big block of text, and are more approachable for the casual reader.

This listicle compiles all the ways in which disabled people are spoken about that are harmful, and explains how to avoid these pitfalls when writing or speaking about us. It’s informative, approachable, and provides simple steps that people can take to improve how they choose to represent disabled people.

2021: An Ableism Contest.

In 2021, Tokyo hosted the Olympics originally scheduled for the previous year, which included the Paralympics. While convention suggests that I, as a disabled person, should adore every second of the Paralympics, I actually tend towards an unfavourable view of the contest. What should be a celebration of disabled people seems like little more than an excuse for our able-bodied counterparts to pretend to care about disability rights without having to make any changes to their views or behaviour. In this post, I describe my frustrations with the Paralympics, and suggest how they could be changed for the better. Much like Killing the Red Lion, this view is perhaps a little controversial, even among disabled people, and as such I was quite nervous ahead of it’s publication!

***

While I am under no illusions as to the status of Diary of a Disabled Person, I am undeniably proud of how far it has come. I imagine my annual view count probably constitutes the views big websites like Buzzfeed get every minute, but given that my blog is the result of my mostly individual efforts to produce content, outside of full-time work for the most part, I still believe those are numbers to be satisfied with. Hopefully I will continue to learn and grow as I write; who knows where Diary of a Disabled Person will go in the coming years?

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