The other day, I saw something that really 'hit home' with me. I am a very 'glass half full' person on most things, if I do say so myself. Without sounding hugely unsympathetic, I can't stand people who take to social media on a daily basis to make out how 'hard' life is with a disability. Whilst I don't tend to do it myself, I can see why people might post about the 'bigger' things, e.g. medical issues, things that need to be screamed & shouted about (because let me tell you, in the world of having a disability, there is usually something to scream & shout about!) etc. But, people who take to the keyboard day after day to tell the world about how their day hasn't entirely gone to plan because of their disability are totally the opposite to me. Maybe it is because I'm quite a private person anyway, but I don't particularly want to share that today I got up, squirted the toothpaste everywhere, couldn't wear the top I wanted to as I couldn't get it on independently, knocked a drink over, couldn't go somewhere because the support wasn't in place & then I had a meltdown (obviously that is all made up, but you get the gist!).
I just see this as totally giving in to my disability. I have a few friends across social media who post things like that most days, and I just feel really sad for them - I try & find positive ways to use and to 'build' around my disability, without sounding big headed. It is sad that these young people feel that they have to get it out there onto social media as a coping mechanism.
I like to use social media to really try & show my personality, especially to those who may meet me in real life and might jump to conclusions on me based upon the fact that I have a disability. I feel it allows me to express myself in a way that I am not able to in real life, often because people don't have much patience. I saw this quote the other day:
In my life experiences so far, I couldn't agree more with this. I have met, and I am surrounded by, wonderful, wonderful people who just see me as 'Ellie' and my personality. However, I have lost count of the number of people who have just seen the disability, got scared I suppose, and have turned away. This was especially the case in secondary school, which I suppose led to the creation of CP Teens UK. I've said it before and I will say it until the end, looking back this did me a massive favour, but at the time it was not so great. It still surprises me that in this day and age, people who aren't connected to disability in some way, shape or form often automatically put physical disability and learning disability into the same boat. Again, I have lost count of the number of people who have met me for the first time, seen the physical disability (as outlined in the quote!) and then automatically assumed that I must somehow also have a learning disability - the idea that an actual person with a personality lies beneath all of this just totally goes out of the window!
Social media allows me to express myself on the same level as everyone else, to those people who do not necessarily give me a 'chance' in everyday life. A true example of this happened only the other day - a person who I have known for many years but has never really spoken to me, added me on Facebook. They clearly did a good old Facebook stalk, looked at my photos, looked at what I got up to etc. I then got a message from them in my inbox and their exact words were "I never realised..." i.e. they never realised I have a personality and a life basically! It is a good job I'm not offended easily isn't it?! Haha! I should have replied with "Ah, bet you're a bit bored with your little able-bodied life now, hey?!".
Anyway, I have a Ball to plan! Not long now until the second CP Teens UK Ball!