I'm so excited to welcome you all to the new website! I really hope you all like it, I know it's been a long time coming, and I want to thank you all for your patience and continued support!
You will see that there is now a live chatroom, as requested by many of you. Feel free to use it whenever ... I plan to announce set chats for a date and time on Facebook and Twitter so you can all get talking and get to know one another, so keep your eyes peeled!
I will continue to add bits and pieces onto the website as and when there is a need. Building this website from scratch was a bit like buying an empty house; you don't know exactly where your furniture is going to go, how you're going to use the living space etc., if you get what I mean?! So, only time will tell what I need to alter, change, or add! If you've got any suggestions, just email:
So, this weekend was my first ever competition over in Macclesfield! It was so, so hot, and I think I virtually fried in the middle of the track. It was a really exciting day and I couldn't actually believe I was competing! Who, me?! I've never really been watched in my event before (Club Throw), especially as when I'm training at the EIS, we're tucked away behind tiered seating and of course, green net curtains (they make it safe for you to throw indoors). I think the 'pressure' of being watched for the first time and the fact that it was my first competition got to me as I only threw just under 8 metres, which isn't my best, but it's experience in the bag and I'm sure it'll will become easier ... onwards and upwards as they say! Without sounding big headed, I was just proud to be there along with British Athletics ... I love days with the Parallel Success team!
You will see there is a new page to the website called 'DISABILITY SPORT'. There is information on there how you can become involved with disability athletics. If I was to offer any advice, if you're sat there thinking 'I am interested, but I'm not too sure...', just go for it! If someone had said to me whilst I was at school, 'when you leave school, you're going to live and breathe athletics', I would have literally gone 'HAHAHAHAHA, no'! It's changed my life, and you never know, it could change yours.
This sounds bizarre but, in life, I am obviously disabled. When I go to training, competitions, and when I'm with Parallel Success (British Athletics), it's like I am not disabled. Sport can be powerful.
This week, I have a guest blogger, Devin, who is one of my CP friends on Twitter all the way from America! Thanks Devin :)
'First, I should probably introduce myself. I’m not really sure if I qualify to blog for CP Teens UK since I’m from North Dakota and I’m 23. But, Ellie told me I could blog so here it goes. My name is Devin Axtman. I live in Denton, Texas and I’m a Master’s student in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of North Texas. Rehabilitation counselors are people that help people with disabilities reach their full potential through employment and other areas. I currently work at my university’s disability services office. I provide accommodations to students with disabilities to help them in the classroom.
“I just wanted to tell you that you’ve restored my faith in humanity.”
“Um, thanks. What did I do?”
“Well, you’re rolling up this big hill! Do you do that everyday?”
Admittedly, this was a pretty extreme situation but I’ve been told I’m inspiring numerous times for just doing everyday things with CP.
Has anybody else experienced a situation like this or had somebody tell you how inspiring you are? Have you ever wanted to be like Laurence Clark in this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx9fAEJeI0E
I know I have. I actually got the idea for this blog from a Twitter conversation with Ellie and the UK Independent Living Website They indicated that Ellie is an inspiration and Ellie replied “I’m really not though, I’m only living my life!” The Independent Living Website replied “It’s the way you do it!” This is one of the best answers I have ever heard.
So why do people say people with disabilities are inspiring? Maybe it’s because of what they normally see in the media? Think about the stories you normally see in the media on disability. They normally feature a person with a disability overcoming ridiculous odds. I feel these “Super Crip” stories further the stereotype that people with disabilities are happy warriors that can overcome anything their disability throws at them.
The local news did a horrifically awkward Super Crip story on me from high school http://www.wfaa.com/archive/70065412.html. Newsflash! I can’t play football (American or otherwise)! I wish they would’ve focused more on me and not my CP. But I suppose it sounded good.
Super Crip stories also lower expectations for people with disabilities like this awesome PSA points out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_huLUFeH_is
Family Guy also did a wonderful job making fun of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg_X-GW-8VY
Maybe people think people with disabilities are inspiring because it makes them feel better? I think many people have a fear of acquiring a disability and maybe focusing on how people with disabilities are inspirational to them can quiet that fear? But maybe you really are inspiring? I was talking to my dad about this and he said, “Sorry Devin but you are inspiring! You do things that you aren’t supposed to do! You didn’t get dealt a great hand but you still have done more than most people do!” Maybe dad’s right?
Following that conversation with my dad, when people have told me I’m inspiring I have simply thanked them. I also have used these occasions for advocacy by asking them why they think I’m inspiring. This has sometimes led to educational moments where I have taught them about CP.
Above all, I have viewed these occasions as an honor. After all, not everyone is told they’re an inspiration. Maybe we should just take them at their word for it that we are! My perspective changed after watching a video blog by John Quinn, a former Navy SEAL with CP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97JmPX3MA_U
I think too often people with CP are conditioned to not accept any praise and to always power through their CP (remember those Super Crip stories I was talking about?). We don’t have to be Super Crips. We can just be ourselves. That’s inspiring enough.
Give me a follow on Twitter @CpProblems and tweet me any funny or interesting CP related stories. Thanks for reading! I’ve never written a blog before so hopefully it was OK.