The Flawesome Award.

A few days ago I was kindly nominated by The Invisible Vision Project for the Flawesome Award, an award created by Sophia Ismaa, to be awarded to bloggers by bloggers who have overcome their personal flaws, and used them for good in their writing. I was incredibly flattered by the nomination, not least because this now makes me a 6-time award-winning blogger after only 2 years of Diary of a Disabled Person.

In order to accept the reward, you are required to acknowledge the award’s creator, Sophia Ismaa, and also the blog who nominated you, in my case the Invisible Vision Project. You must then list three flaws and demonstrate how you turned them into strengths, before nominating another 10 bloggers for the award.

It took many hours of intense thinking to come up with three personal flaws, as they are so few and far between. Nevertheless, I persisted for the sake of my art, and managed to come up with the following:

I’m reluctant to compromise.

There is an old idiom that says “You can tell a Yorkshireman, but you can’t tell him much”. Now I’m no man but I’m very Yorkshire, and while I tend to dislike stereotypes, this is one which cannot be denied. As my parents and now my husband will tell you; I’m really fricking stubborn.

This little quirk has caused much trouble in the past, predominantly when trying to forge friendships with peers and colleagues, and also when it comes to knowing when to relent and be grateful for what I had already achieved.

However, there are also plenty of occasions when compromise isn’t an option. Accessibility is one such example. There is no halfway-house with accessibility; either something is accessible or it is not. This extends beyond simply having ramps, lifts, toilets, & hearing loops etc., but actually having them available for use, not blocked, not impeded, and not hidden behind a staircase that someone else must climb to get the assistance you need. Something as simple as blocking an access route or forgetting to put out the ramp is all that is needed to render something inaccessible. I’ve tried being nice with the people who do this, but my protests fall on deaf ears. It’s only when I put my wheels down and refuse to compromise that I am listened to, and I know that this is the same for many other disabled people.

I don’t take things as seriously as I should.

If something goes wrong my instinct is to laugh about it. This is fine when, say, a pigeon flies into the window and you spill your drink, but not so much when something goes really wrong. It frustrates those around me no end when I simply don’t recognise certain situations are wholly inappropriate for a joke. It can make topics such as moving house or changing jobs an absolute nightmare for anyone working with me, as instead of getting the paperwork done, I’m sat in the corner mocking the situation.

Fortunately, I have been able to put my ability to laugh at anything and everything to good use. I have only coped with my long-term health issues because I have been able to laugh at them, including when I needed emergency surgery to remove my gall bladder (although laughing really did hurt then). Similarly, I have used it to educate others about life with disability, and to normalise and humanise disability to make it easier for others to cope with. There’s nothing like making a corny pun about the wheelchair to set a stranger at ease, meaning they can focus on the conversation we’re having, instead of panicking about what they should say to me.

I don’t like to let my feelings show in public.

The general public’s reaction to seeing a wheelchair user out and about is to ignore me so hard that I know they’ve noticed me, and that they’re simply pretending I don’t exist to avoid an awkward interaction. Sometimes people will physically push past you while still pretending they hadn’t noticed me, despite the fact that deciding to push past is a decision made based upon the fact that they’ve seen me. On other occasions I get comments from strangers, most commonly about how fast “it” goes, and whether I’ve got a licence to drive it. From time to time, I simply get blank stares.

Perhaps though, if I showed my displeasure at such occurrences, the public would take note. Perhaps they’d realise that their words and actions are upsetting, and try to make changes to their behaviour around disabled people. Perhaps they would take notice of all that disabled people report on social media, and to the news.

This characteristic, though, serves to protect me. If I stopped to challenge everyone who made my life more difficult than it already is, I would never get anywhere or do anything. I would also be exposing myself to torrents of verbal abuse, and even on occasions threats of physical violence. Keeping a stony face, helped out by headphones that can block out the comments, has allowed me to go about my daily business and live my life.

***

Once again, I’d like to thank The Invisible Vision Project for their kind nomination, and without further ado, here are my nominations:

Seeing ME In Reality.

The Disability Diaries.

Wheelescapades.

The Life Quadraplegic.

A Backpack, A Chair, and A Beard.

My Fitness Journey with Fibro.

KimiBlack.

Thinking Out Loud.

Being Aunt Debbie.

Cane Adventures.

My congratulations to you all.

Nomination: The Flawesome Award.

I’m incredibly proud to announce that Diary of a Disabled Person has been nominated for a sixth award; the Flawesome Award!

I hope to accept the award on Sunday, provided I have time to write the acceptance post by then.

Until then, many thanks to The Invisible Vision Project for their kind nomination.

Image description: Award Number 6: The Flawesome Award! With many thanks to the Invisible Vision Project for their kind nomination written in blue text in a white box, with a blue shimmering border.

The Blogger Recognition Award.

The Blogger Recognition Award is used to celebrate high-quality, well-written blogs and was deservingly won by Being Aunt Debbie a few weeks ago. She has since nominated me for the reward for which I am very grateful. Her blog can be found here: https://beingauntdebbie.com/.

In order to accept the reward the nominee must produce a post thanking the person who nominated them, describe how their blog started, give two pieces of advice to new bloggers, and make a few nominations of their own. This slightly different approach to accepting an award provides a refreshing and insightful glance into the world of blogging itself, and what it is actually like to be a blogger.

blogger_award

How This All Began:

I had been toying with the idea of starting a blog for some time, aware that I could do so for free and in a relatively short time. Jarred spent a great deal of time encouraging me to do this, boosting my self-esteem and offering support, particularly of the caffeinated kind. Thus, one afternoon after the January exam season, I decided to set up Diary of a Disabled Person, a name that had sprung into my mind in the shower the night before.

I wanted my blog to be distinguishable from other blogs that discussed similar topics, in particular taking a humourous approach to interest readers who hadn’t had experience of disability themselves, or hadn’t encountered it frequently in those around them. After all, wheelchair users don’t need to tell other wheelchair users what it’s like to be in a wheelchair. I wanted to educate, discuss the areas where ableism still exists in the world, and to make people laugh at the many mishaps and scrapes I found myself in on a daily basis.

As I began to publish content I noticed that I was receiving a lot of positive attention from other wheelchair users, which meant that these people felt I was representing them well. This gave me a massive boost to self-esteem, giving me the confidence to pitch articles to Cracked.com.

Perhaps the biggest positive of writing this blog, though, is not the support and self-esteem boosts I have encountered, but is the fact that writing about the negative events in my life that lead to disability and depression helped me to emotionally process these situations. While still very much depressed, I have found that writing enables me to think logically about my emotional response to various circumstances, and I have been able to focus on the things that truly matter.

Diary of a Disabled Person has grown and developed significantly over the past 18 months and shows no sign of stopping. I am here for the ride as much as my readers are.

My Advice to New Bloggers:

Don’t be afraid of negative feedback: I try not to be offended if someone offers me genuine, constructive criticism on my blog. These sentiments can be used as guidance to improve your blog, make it more readable and inclusive, and increase your readership. At the end of the day it isn’t you who reads your blog but your readers.  I also try not to take offence to anyone who trolls my writing, making negative comments for the sake of it. Often enough they will make a mistake proving that they haven’t so much as glanced at your actual work, and therefore there is nothing constructive to be drawn from their comments. There are people out there who live to troll; let them – it’s usually all they have in life.

Blogging is a commitment: an essential aspect of blogging is the ability to maintain the blog over a long period of time. This might take some money to cover the costs of a web domain and some basic advertising, but most of all it takes time. Producing content, advertising, and updating a website all take time, and even though you might have time when you set up the blog, be aware that changing demands may limit the time you have for blogging in the future. Ultimately blogging whilst keeping up other aspects of personal and professional livelihoods is viable, but is more difficult than most people assume.

My Nominees:

Seeing M.E In Reality: https://seeingmeinreality.com/

The Disability Diaries: https://disabilitydiaries.com/

Thinking out Loud: https://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/

KimiBlack: https://kimiblack.wordpress.com/

Wheelescapades: https://wheelescapades.com/

My Fitness Journey with Fibro: https://myfitnessjourneywithfibro.wordpress.com/

As you may well be aware this now takes me up to a total of 5 awards received by Diary of a Disabled Person in the last year! Let’s hope I can continue to expand my readership and fan-base, taking my writing to ever new heights.

The Sunshine Blogger Award.

The Sunshine Blogger Award recognises positivity and creativity in a blogger’s work, and much like the Leibster Award and Lovely Blog Award, is awarded to one writer by another. In this instance I was nominated by the blog My Fitness Journey with Fibro, which can be found here:

https://myfitnessjourneywithfibro.wordpress.com/

In order to accept the nomination you must first quickly explain what the Sunshine Blogger Award is and display the logo, answer 11 questions as asked by the person doing the nominating, nominate some more blogs deserving of the award, and ask these nominees a further 11 questions.

sunshine-blogger

Questions from My Fitness Journey with Fibro:

What is your ultimate dream in life? From a very young age the idea of being an author has appealed to me; I would love to become the author of a published book, and in particular I would love to have physical books published as well as eBook copies being made. Something about the idea of seeing my name of the spine of a book fills me with excitement, not least because I believe it to be an achievable dream.

How do you stay as positive as possible? Staying positive can be a nightmare, particularly during flare-ups of either the M.E or the depression. However, I have a few things that I rely upon to help maintain a positive attitude. First and foremost I find that writing helps me to think clearly about a situation and to process my emotions, but I frequently also use music as a coping mechanism for dealing with low moods. I also have personal favourite video games that I return to time and time again, as these provide an immersive and reliable distraction. Sometimes, even with all these in place, I still feel depressed. It’s important to recognise that being negative is a healthy response in many situations and shouldn’t ignored or overlooked for the sake of pure optimism.

If you could have one superpower what would it be? I would like to be invisible, mainly because I’m a nosy person who would want to know what people are saying about me behind my back!

What brings you the most joy daily? My fiancé, Jarred. I wake up in a morning and he brings me breakfast in bed before heading out to work, he comes from work and helps me sort out the evening meal. We talk about how our days have been, things we’ve seen on social media, and watch some TV together. We make each other laugh, even when we’re absolutely shattered. I don’t know how I would cope without his support.

What would you like to achieve with your blog? I am currently working on converting my blog into a book, and if possible I would love to have the book printed as well as published online. It’s a great way of reaching out to people and educating them about disability, teaching people not to pre-judge.

What have been your greatest moments of this year? Jarred’s graduation from university was the event of the summer, but I think getting married on 27th December this year will probably take the top spot!

What would your top 3 travel destinations be if you could go anywhere and why? I would like to visit Holland; everyone who has spent significant amounts of time in Holland always sing it’s praises, particularly around how polite everyone is. Plus, because bicycles are so commonplace in Amsterdam, I imagine the accessibility is decent. I would also like to visit Japan, particularly Tokyo, as their culture is so vastly different from our own that a visit would make for an interesting learning experience. I would also like to explore rural Italy for the sole purpose of consuming good food.

What is one song that you really connect deeply with? There are so many out there that I resonate with, but I think Green Day’s Still Breathing from their 2016 studio album Revolution Radio has to be the one I relate to most.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would it be called? Diary of a Disabled Person: The Lengthy Edition.

What would the picture on the front of your autobiography be? My personal favourite of all the photos ever taken of me; drinking hot mead at the German Christmas market that takes place in Leeds every year.

Christmas Market

Do you know how truly wonderful you are? This question has me stuck. If I say no I sound ungrateful, but if I say yes I sound arrogant. Being a blogger has massively helped increase my self-esteem, as I couldn’t ignore all the likes, comments, messages, and positive feedback I get from regular and new fans alike. I think I can confidently say that I know I have skills and qualities that make me unique, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully comprehend being described as “truly wonderful”.

My Nominees:

Seeing M.E In Reality: https://seeingmeinreality.com/

The Disability Diaries: https://disabilitydiaries.com/

Thinking out Loud: https://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/

KimiBlack: https://kimiblack.wordpress.com/

Wheelescapades: https://wheelescapades.com/

Being Aunt Debbie: https://beingauntdebbie.com/

Questions for My Nominees:

  • What drove you to start your blog?
  • What drives you to keep writing and maintain your blog?
  • What insignificant thing annoys you the most?
  • What is your favourite sport (to watch or play)?
  • What is your favourite meal?
  • Where did you live as a child?
  • What was/is your favourite school subject?
  • What is your favourite Disney film?
  • Who is your favourite Disney character?
  • What has been the highlight of the past month for you?
  • What are you most looking forward to in the next month?

Astounding as this may seem, this marks the fourth award I have picked up since the start of the year, and I am delighted to say that I will be accepting a fifth award in a couple of weeks!

4 Awards; Oh Wait, Never Mind – Make That 5!!!

It appears to be some kind of blogger award season, because in the past week I received to nominations for different awards, but two separate bloggers.

The first nomination came from My Fitness Journey with Fibro (https://myfitnessjourneywithfibro.wordpress.com/), and is the Sunshine Blogger Award. This recognises positivity and creativity in a blog, and I will accept it this weekend.

Image description: the Sunshine Blogger Awared logo. A white circle with the award's name placed over a field of sunflowers.

The second nomination came from Being Aunt Debbie (https://beingauntdebbie.com/), and is the Blogger Recognition Award. This award highlights high-quality, well-written blogs from across the internet, and I will accept this one in a couple of weeks. I want to keep my content varied; I wouldn’t want you getting bored of acceptance speeches!

Image description: the Blogger Recognition Award logo. The text is in the centre of a simple wreath, all black & white.

I offer a big thank you to both of the above; keep an eye out for the upcoming posts!

Deja vu; Return of the Leibster Award.

Once again in just a matter of months, I am extremely flattered have been nominated for the Leibster award! This time I was nominated by Alex, author of The Life Quadriplegic (https://quadlifeblog.com/), and to him I say a very earnest thank you.

The Leibster award was created in 2011 in Germany and is given to bloggers by other bloggers online. This award focuses on small blogs, recognising their potential to grow and acknowledging those with the kindest, welcoming, most-valued musings.

To accept the award after being nominated the blogger is requested to accept the award on their blog, and thank the blogger who nominated them with a link to their blog included. On this occasion I have been asked to answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated me, nominate some more people, and give those nominees 11 questions to answer.

11 Answers to Alex’s Questions.

Q: If you could visit any time in the past (or future) when would it be and why? A: I would love to visit Ancient Egypt, sometime after the building of the pyramids when civilisation was well established, but before Cleopatra’s reign. From what I know of that period, women were often seen as the equals of men, and were able to own land and money. Plus, cats.

Q: What is the one thing you most hope to achieve by blogging? A: I want to challenge societal perceptions of disability by reaching as wide an audience as possible, and educating them about the lives of the disabled, and how to treat disabled people.

Q: Who is your hero – the person you most respect and look up to? And why? A: It’s a cliché answer for a disabled person but I’d have to say Stephen Hawking. Not only did he challenge people’s perceptions of disability and helped to normalise disabled people but he also managed to make any invaluable contributions to scientific research.

Q: Where do you hope to be in your life 5 years from now? A: I never like to plan ahead too much as personal experience has shown me all too well that mind-blowing, life-changing events can turn your entire world upside-down in a matter of hours. However I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if I had established myself as a writer with experience behind me and a potential career ahead.

Q:  If you could give any advice to your 10-year-old self what would it be? A: Stop trying to please the cool kids. The more you try to fit in, the more they’ll ridicule you.

Q: What is your favourite quote, and why? A: “I will never be voiceless” – from the chorus of Dangerous by Shinedown. It reminds me that being vocal about something that isn’t right is the only way to make others see that it is wrong, and helps them change it.

Q: What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? A: I’m a big fan of video games. Recently I’ve played Doom (2016), Horizon Zero Dawn, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Q: Name one thing you would change about the world, and why? A: I would want everyone to have equal access to education and healthcare, regardless of location, age, gender identity, sexuality, race, religion, wealth, disability, or any other means of discrimination. That still leaves people to make the choice as to how they want to live, but gives everyone the chance to get educated and live a healthy lifestyle if that’s what they wanted.

Q: Where is your favourite place that you have travelled to? What do you like about it? A: I’ve been all over the Lake District in the north of England, and I’ve loved every part of it. It’s a diverse collection of mountains, lakes, beaches, and towns, and there is always something new to discover every time I visit.

Q: If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for? A: Giving animals hugs. I think I would have a serious chance of winning a medal for hugging the most animals within a 10 minute time limit.

Q: When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with? A: Most people know I’m a nutritionist so I get asked for diet advice a lot, which I don’t mind at all. I enjoy helping people understand what they’re doing right already, and what they could do to improve their diet too.

My Nominations.

Since I haven’t discovered many new blogs that I fit the criteria for the Leibster award since accepting my previous nomination, I only have two to add.

KimiBlack: https://kimiblack.wordpress.com/ 

Thinking out Loud: http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/

11 Questions for my Nominees.

  1. Cats or dogs?
  2. Where did you grow up?
  3. What is your favourite time of year?
  4. What is your favourite genre of music?
  5. What is your favourite film that was adapted from a book?
  6. What was your favourite childhood toy?
  7. Tea or coffee?
  8. What is your worst habit?
  9. What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
  10. Who are your role models?
  11. What is your biggest ambition?

Thank you all for your continued support, which has enabled me to grow Diary of a Disabled Person into a triple-award-winning blog!

The Leibster Award Strikes Back!

I am extremely excited to announce that I have once again been nominated to receive the Leibster Award, taking me up to a total of three awards received in a matter of months.

I am planning to accept the award a week from Sunday (1st July).

A big thanks to Alex Squire at The Life Quadraplegic for nominating me. https://quadlifeblog.com/