The Mystery Blogger Award.

Mystery Blogger Award Logo. Mauve all-capitals text in the centre of a turquoise circle, with an ocean background.

I’d like to thank blogger Unwanted Life, who has kindly nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award. This award was designed by Okoto Enigma to give bloggers the recognition they deserve, & for the community to show their appreciation of each other’s work, motivating them to keep writing.

Like many blogger awards, to accept the award after being nominated there are a few rules you need to follow:

  1. Display the logo (check).
  2. List the rules (ongoing check).
  3. Thank whoever nominated you (check).
  4. Mention Okoto Enigma as the creator of the award (check).
  5. Answer the questions given by the person who nominated you (uh oh).
  6. Tell readers 3 things about yourself (definitely uh oh).
  7. Share a link to your best posts (how to choose!).
  8. Nominate some others for the award (recommended 10 – 20).
  9. Ask your nominees 5 questions with at least 1 question being funny (evil laugh).

Let’s get this very introverted party started!

Questions from Unwanted Life:

  1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

This may seem mundane, but one of the best pieces of advice ever given to me was to apply for the position of Data Management Assistant at a clinical trials unit. Having read the job description & requirements I felt that I was unqualified for the role, & I wouldn’t have even applied without the encouragement of my husband (then fiancé). It goes without saying that I got the job, & almost a year later I’m definitely one of the few people who is lucky enough not to hate their job. Also, the pay is good.

  1. What’s the most out-of-character thing you’ve ever done?

I once had a very heated row with a woman using the one disabled changing room available as she was taking an exceptionally long time. I had just climbed out of the swimming pool & was dripping wet, getting colder & colder, & conscious that time was marching on. As she eventually came out of the changing room I accused her of being a fake, when in reality she had an invisible condition. There was definitely no need to take as long as she did, especially with the other disabled cubicle out of order, but I shouldn’t have judged whether she should be using a disabled changing room in the first place. I definitely regret how I handled that situation, & wish that I’d realised how horrible I’d been in time to say sorry.

  1. What one historical event would you love to be there to witness?

I would almost certainly have wanted to be a part in the suffragist movement, possibly even the suffragette movement. Every single woman that participated in that movement is a hero in my opinion.

  1. What one thing would you love to become an expert in, if you could wake up tomorrow & suddenly be an expert in it?

Kung Fu, purely so I could sit up & go “whoa, I know Kung Fu”, like Neo in The Matrix.

  1. Would you rather be rich or famous, & why?

Definitely famous. I’m like a cat in that I’ll pretend not to like the attention, but in reality I’m basking in it.

This isn’t because I belong to the “money can’t buy happiness” school-of-thought either; at the end of the day, you’re never going to be happy if you can’t afford a roof over your head, food, & other basic necessities.

Some Facts About Me:

  1. I’m terrified of spiders, but I like spider-man.
  2. The 5 ladybirds on my latest tattoo have names; Asuka, Becky, Charlotte, Lita, & Mae, after 5 iconic women in WWE.
  3. The skull also has a name, Fred, courtesy of my colleague.

My Favourite Blog Posts:

All Creatures Great & Small: how animals react to disabled people.

More Than Ramps & Lifts: how accessibility is more than physical requirements.

Wheels Ahoy: a short story about a wheelchair-using pirate.

My Nominees:

The Disability Diaries.

Seeing M.E in Reality.

Wheelescapades.

KimiBlack.

A Backpack, A Chair, and A Beard.

Roxy Moto.

HeyIt’sLeaa.

Cane Adventures.

The Life Quadraplegic.

Being Aunt Debbie.

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. What’s the most bizarre piece of advice, wanted or otherwise, that you’ve ever been given?
  2. What’s the weirdest instance of Deja Vu you’ve ever experienced?
  3. How did you get into blogging?
  4. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked & how did you answer it?
  5. What’s for tea?

Once again, I’d like to thank Unwanted Life for their very kind nomination, & congratulations to all my nominees!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Image description: the logo for the Liebster Award is a aqua-blue circle with a pink ribbon across is saying "discover new blogs!".

To accept the award after being nominated the blogger is requested to accept the award on their blog, thank the blogger who nominated them with a link to their blog included, write ten random facts about themselves, answer ten questions from the blogger who gave the nomination, nominate a few other blogs, and give these nominations ten questions to answer.

Accepting the Award.

It would be an understatement to say that I was pleasantly surprised to receive a nomination for the Leibster award less than a year after establishing this blog. In all honesty I wasn’t familiar with the award prior to my nomination, but I was still over-joyed that my small corner of the internet was deemed noteworthy. Having just surpassed this blogs’ first birthday, I decided that this would be the perfect time to accept the award.

I was nominated by the author of Wheelescapades, another wheelchair user living in England. Her own blog has already been nominated for the Leibster award, which is well-deserved, and her blog can be accessed here: https://wheelescapades.com/

10 Random Facts About Me.

  1. I was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where I lived until I was 18. I moved to university in Leeds after studying Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics at A-level.
  2. I have no siblings.
  3. Throughout my life I have had five pets. Bramble, our black and white cat, had been adopted by my parents before my birth and was a constant companion until her death in 2008. Athens and Berry were my two goldfish. Syrup was my first Syrian hamster, who I owned as a teenager. Lastly we have my current pet, Tribble, also a Syrian hamster.           Hesitant.jpg
  4. I was a member of a street dance crew from age 8 to 10 years.
  5. When I was 11 years old I learnt to play the drums and over the next few years I played in two bands. Unfortunately my illness has prevented me from drumming on a regular basis, although I can still technically play.
  6. I also had singing lessons and was a member of the school choir for many years.
  7. Unsurprisingly I have always loved music. My preferred genre is rock and metal, with particular favourites including Green Day, The Killers, and Foo Fighters, but I also have a secret soft spot for Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
  8. I have a passion for both the Star Wars and Marvel franchises. I go and see almost every new release in the cinema across the road and own all of the good ones on DVD. I have at least 5 Star Wars t-shirts, some BB-8 earrings, and some Deadpool earrings as proof of my devotion!
  9. I also love video games. I still have my old PlayStation 2 with a plethora of Burnout games to play, and also play on the PlayStation 4. Currently I’m playing through the campaigns of Doom and Need for Speed: Payback, and plan to try Horizon Zero Dawn when I’ve finished these. You might also spot me on Fortnite Battle Royale, although I’m usually hiding in a hedge!
  10. I now live with my fiancé (and Tribble) in Leeds, West Yorkshire.Mike and me.jpg                                       10 Questions From Wheelescapades.
    1. Q: What made you decide to start a blog? A: The disabled don’t need someone to tell them how bad being disabled can be; they know. What is needed is someone to communicate this to the able-bodied, but without being so pessimistic as to simply be passed off as whiny wimps. I came to realise that blogs doing just this were few and far between, and I decided to fill the gap. I wanted to communicate for those who were unable to, and educate those who didn’t have experiences to learn from. Diary of a Disabled Person was born.
    2. Q: What are your hobbies other than blogging? A: I adore animals and will do just about anything that allows me to get up close and personal with them. I also love music, films, and video games, and cannot deny the joys of a good book. I do a little arts and crafts too, with what I shall call mixed results.
    3. Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be? A: As a nutritionist this is killing me inside, but if I really had to choose it would be cake, particularly chocolate cake.
    4. Q: When making tea would you pour the milk or water in first? A: Water, absolutely no question about it.
    5. Q: Mention 3 things for your bucket list? A: See Green Day live in concert, see a WWE show live, turn this blog into a book.
    6. Q: What would be your dream job? A: Being a professional writer full-time.
    7. Q: Where in the world would you most like to visit and why? A: I’d love to visit Holland. I know several people who have spent time in Holland, and they all rave about how beautiful Amsterdam is, how good the food is, and how polite the Dutch are.
    8. Q: Describe yourself in 3 words? A: Ambitious, funny, and stubborn.
    9. Q: What personal trait has gotten you in the most trouble? A: I have a tendency to be extremely blunt. While people know they will get an honest answer from me should they ask me anything, if I have to give a negative answer I often forget to phrase it so that it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to destroy their entire self-esteem. I have hurt people’s feelings by accident on many occasions.
    10. Q: If you could give someone one piece of advice, what would it be? This relates to my school-age self, but could apply to anyone in a similar situation; stop trying to fit in with the cool kids and the bullies, and just do your own thing. When I started to show my true colours, was honest about the music and films I liked, and admitted that I was a nerd to the core, I got a lot more respect than when I was doing everything to be just like them.My Nominations.It’s recommended that you nominate between 5 and 10 other blogs for the Leibster award, but I have only 3 blogs that I know of with less than 200 followers who I feel deserve the award. One of them would actually be the blogger who nominated me, Wheelescapades!

      Without further ado, the other two are:

      The Disability Diaries (https://disabilitydiaries.com/) – This blogger provides insight into student life from a wheelchair user living in South Africa, and frequently tackles big issues surrounding disability head-on in a diplomatic but firm manner.

      Seeing M.E in Reality (https://seeingmeinreality.com/) – This blogger tackles the subject of life with the same condition that I suffer from, proving that we are not defined solely by our illness, but have many other aspects to our lives.

      10 Questions for my Nominees.

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

      It fills me with great pride that I can finally say that Diary of a Disabled Person is an award-winning blog!