Where did January even go?!
It literally seems one minute ago that I was saying 'have a nice Christmas everyone', and now January has been and gone! On Tuesday, I went shopping for some boots that will accommodate my new insoles - I know I said last week that they weren't right, and they're not right, but my mum made the good point of if I go back to the hospital straight away having not appearing to give them a go, they're not going to take me seriously. Frustrating, but my mum has a valid point. In the mean time, my feet suffer and become worse and worse, but yolo and all of that! For once, I managed to get quite a nice pair of boots and they don't make me look like big foot! I normally have to go up at least two shoe sizes to fit both my insoles and my feet in, but I only had to go up one shoe size this time! Strictly speaking, you should wear Pedro boots, I've blogged about this before, but after many 'spirited debates' (haha!) I chose not to wear Pedro boots about 6 years ago and decided to deal and face up to the consequences if and when they happened. Some may say 'stupid', 'immature' or 'daft', but without sounding as if someone should reach for a violin, I was a girl, in a school skirt, in a mainstream school surrounded by 1,500 able-bodied kids - I stuck out as it was and I didn't need a pair of boots to help confirm that! But, as I said in my blog about Pedro boots before, don't go to your parents now saying, 'oo I'm not wearing my boots now because Ellie didn't!' It was just my personal opinion at the time, now I look back and I think 'well to be honest, people should have just accepted me as a person, who cares what was and wasn't on my feet!'
Today, I don't know why it came into my mind, but I thought back to a documentary series filmed over the course of 10-11 years for Channel 4. Some of you may watched the genius documentary series, which was called 'Born To Be Different' - it followed the lives of 6 disabled children from birth and their families. I may be a tad biased with obviously growing up with a disability, but I always describe it as 'pure genius'.
This series had me nodding along, shouting 'YES, I KNOW, I AGREE!', crying, laughing and although none of the 6 children had Cerebral Palsy, I really felt a connection with them. I can't praise both Channel 4 or the families enough for creating such a fantastic programme. Firstly, the families, for living with camera crews in every single part of their lives for 10 years, especially after just finding out about the child's disability, and for being so open. And then Channel 4 for coming up with the idea in the first place! My only complaint is the fact that they've stopped the production. As well as providing support for other families who have children with disabilities, I think it also did an amazing job educating the 'normal' (sorry, it's that awful word again!) families of Great Britain that actually, yes, this is what it's really like. This is the problem, people don't see what goes on in our own homes and our private lives so people don't know what it's like growing up with a disability, or raising a child with a disability. Don't get me wrong, I would never ever change it for the world, but for example, one mother is cheering on their son on the side of the rugby pitch for winning a trophy, meanwhile one mother is cheering on their son who at the age of 8 has just took his first step with a walking aid after 3 operations. Now, that is just an example and I'm not trying to belittle the rugby situation at all as of course, that is a great achievement, but Born To Be Different really highlighted situations and things like this without having to say a single word. One thing that has always struck me is how mature the children were in Born To Be Different. Without sounding like I'm blowing my own trumpet, people have always commented on how 'mature' I am?! Whilst I beg to differ as trust me, I can be the queen of immature when I want to be, I could really see it in the children (Hamish, Zoe and Emily) who had physical disabilities. I suppose you are asking children to understand, take in and deal with something that most adults would struggle with. This is also why I sometimes struggle with children gawping at children in wheelchairs etc.; I was around the age of 2 when I was 'told' (in a toddler kind of way!) that I had CP, if I could understand this and comprehend it at the age of 2, then why do we get children as old as 12 stood with their mouths open?! As Zoe says on the trailer above, 'what you looking at, I'm just a normal person!'. It is also interesting to hear from the parents's perspective on Born To Be Different as obviously, unless one day far, far into the future I have a disabled child myself, I am not going to see things from any other point of view other than the child's even though I'm very close to my parents. One thing that makes me laugh, which is highlighted on the programme, is while other parents are almost competing in the school playground about what car they've got, where they've been for lunch, who said what on Facebook and the new patio in their garden etc., the parents like the ones on Born To Be Different literally just want to be happy. My Mum has said over the years, to lots of different things, 'I really couldn't care any less, I have a disabled child for goodness sake, there's more to life than stupid, petty things!'
If you didn't see Born To Be Different when it was on the TV, you can watch all the series and episodes on 4OD here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/born-to-be-different/episode-guide It got me thinking, if on some crazy, alternate universe I ever got approached by Channel 4 or whoever to film something similar, would I? And the answer would most probably be yes, even though it's a brave and bold decision, I think the whole awareness thing needs to be spread so much more. For example, how many people actually even know what Cerebral Palsy even is?! Most people, as soon as it is clear that I have a disability, you can see them glazing over thinking 'she's not all there then'! And then you've got the opposite end of the spectrum with people who do realise I've got my buttons switched on but because of this, think straight away that I can live independently; er, I can't even hold a glass of water! Believe it or not, it would probably be easier for a wheelchair bound person to live independently, because they can have stuff like their worktops lowered and cook as they have full hand control. They can go to the shop as they can physically handle their money. They have full speech control etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining for one minute and playing the 'who is more disabled than who' game! But, do you sort of know what I mean?! This weekend, I made a new profile picture/face/logo whatever you want to call it, for the CP Teens Facebook and Twitter. I am about to update it now, it's a collage of some of you lot who use the website! It's proved popular on Facebook so I'll make a new collage every once in a while so that you all make an appearance! Don't forget to keep emailing your pictures to: firstname.lastname@example.org Or tweet @CPTeensUK, or send them to the Facebook page!