Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Find Your Voice

Hi everybody,

You know that I'm a really open person and I like to advocate for others and help them to improve their lives. I have an idea and I'm really curious what do you think about it. I keep thinking for a couple of weeks what is the best way to help somebody who has a disability and can't express its own ideas very easy. It's hard sometimes to keep repeating yourself, because the other person that you are talking to can't understand you right away. Furthermore, if you have to do this all day long, every day, for the rest of your life, doesn't matter if you are tired or sad, this is even worse. 

So I think that it will be nice if I will create an app about that. The app name is "Find Your Voice". I choose this name because an app like that will help people to open up a conversation without stragelling to express their thoughts. The app will have lots off folders with words, sentences and images. The words categories that I'm thinking to include are: colours, greetings, cloths, food, drinks, music, movies, places, family and friends, transportation, common sentences,  questions and answers,  books, going out, etc.

In the same time, I saw that are some apps already out there about the same subject. I didn't try them, so I don't know how good they are. 
It will be really nice if you, guys, will share your thoughts and help me to decide what to do. Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Taking Life by the Horns/ my Deepest Desire


I was out for coffee with my friend and she told me she wanted to get away ... but she's being a real chicken about it. She's told me a couple of places she wishes to go,  I just think "Oh my gosh, if I were you I'd be out of here in one hot minute". 

I wonder what I would do if I didn't have a disability... Would I grab life by the horns and never look back? I have family and friends here but I don't have "roots" as in no job, no man, no pet, no kids, I'm a pretty free bird. Sometimes I wish I could go to the airport and just pick a flight somewhere. Wherever I ended up, I would would email my parents to let them where I am... and so they know I'm still alive. haha. 

 Sometimes I want to go all over the world and advocate for individuals with disabilites and write about it on my blog for everyone else to see. I would want my blog to be accessible all around the world. That's my heart's desire. Ultimately, because of my own battles with disabilities I have a connection and understanding with other people with disabilities. I guess I can thank my Cerebral Palsy for my balsy advocate desires. 

The reality is that there are so many fears I have associated with taking a risk like that. For instance, what if I left and something tragic happened to my parents... or another family member. What could I do being so far away from them? Perhaps it's more advantageous to them if I'm gone because then no one has to be responsible for me and my well being... Well, that's not entirely true. Everything that I need help with over here I would still need help with anywhere else in the world. If it wasn't a friend or family member, it would have to be someone else assisting me where I am. Don't get me wrong, I love my family! They are the reason I'm here and I couldn't be who I am without them. But they also have their own lives and I understand that and I'm happy for them! 

This is what's in my heart and this is where I can be myself. If I can't be honest here I might as well stop trying... and stop writing.... On a happier note, I still live pretty grand adventure and I hope I can keep living my life out the way I want to. 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What is Understanding?

I read a blog today that gave me an idea... It made me think "What does it mean to Understand". By that I mean to understand an individual's experience of being in the world. We all have commonalities such as having disabilities or siblings or friends. But you can't understand what it's like to get in a fight with my sister even though you have your own. You can't understand what it's like to navigate the world in a wheelchair even though you have mobility problems. So why are people so quick to say "I understand exactly what you mean". Do you? Do you really? 

There is in fact a lot of stuff you simply cannot understand from my experience. If you have a family member or friend who has a disability, you might understand some of it from a third party point of view. You will never personally understand what it's like to wait for handibus all day, or constantly repeat yourself for others, or deal with all the stares. So why bother lying to both of us with the statement "I understand how you feel". Even if you have Cerebral Palsy and find yourself in a wheelchair, it's still not exactly the same experience I'm having. 

The statement "I understand how you feel" often comes from a well intended place, a person is often trying to be empathetic/ compassionate. But it's terribly unnecessary and will never be a true statement. In fact, it can sometimes feel belittling to the person on the receiving end. So let's try to erase that statement from our vocabulary. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Friendship or Dating?

At the age of 35 and living with Cerebral Palsy, I realized that dating is not a big deal to me. At least not in the same way it is for some others with disabilities. I wish that I had someone to hang out and chat with on the weekends. But rest assured, it's not the end of the world for me. Maybe I feel this way because nine years ago I got hurt by a handi bus driver. It made me be more cautious of the men I meet. Whether I meet someone online or in person, I feel I need to have my guard up and be careful.  

Don't get me wrong, I am not a man hater. I have a few good men in my life, they are family members and friends that I trust. As a woman, I have a responsibility to listen to my heart and also to guard it. Being in a wheelchair adds another layer of vulnerability to me. I would be a fool to not take that into consideration when men approach me. 

I know what you're thinking; "What if it was a man who also had a disability who approached me?" Well that has happened to me at least once before. A gentleman in a wheelchair who also lived in Calgary reached out to me. I had seen him at a few different places around town (including the hand-bus), but had never interacted with him. I knew he wasn't capable of physically hurting me in the same way. But I still felt quite nervous to hang out with him. Now we are friends. 

You know what would be really great? I think it would be great if Calgary had a dating service catered to individuals with disabilities. Perhaps it could include people who are looking for friendship or companionship as well. Maybe there could be extra safety measures taken to ensure everyone's health and safety needs are being met. Someone should take this idea and run with it!

Oh No You Didn't Just..!!

If you've spent some time around me, you'll know that I have a tendency to raise my voice. Especially if I'm excited about something, or having a good laugh. I'm not trying to be loud or disruptive, it's just part of who I am. One of my quirks I suppose. 

This usually doesn't get me into trouble when I'm out in public; however last week was a different story... I was with my worker at the mall. We were chatting and there was a lady sitting across from us, facing my worker's back. While we were talking I got a little loud and the lady sitting at the table across from us looked at me and placed her finger over her lip as if to say "shhh". I wanted to go over to her and say "What is your problem? Can I talk to my worker in a public place?' But instead I was silently offended and chose to let it roll off my back. I kept talking and I still got that look from her. I didn't want to make a big deal about this, so my worker and I moved to another place. 

Now I regret not speaking up for myself. It's hurtful! If I was an able-bodied person having a belly laugh, would I have gotten the same response? It is a mall after all, not a library or a theatre. Would it not be more appropriate for her to move somewhere else? At 10:30am it is a pretty empty place. If I have learned anything from this, it would be to let her ignorance fuel my fire. The next time someone makes me feel like I don't belong, I will gladly correct them. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Talking To People

Talking to people is hard for me. My speech is a pain because you can't understand me when I speak. Sometimes my family and friends can't understand me never mind strangers. I have to say things over and over again or try explaining things a new way to help others navigate what I'm saying. It's ok because I'm used to it, this always been my "normal"..... But sometimes I wish I could talk like other people do and have a conversation without struggling my way through it. 

As I was reflecting on my communication struggles I came up with an idea; I want to make an app for people who can't talk like me. It will have a lot of pre-made common sentences that you can press and let the app speak for you. I want to go downtown and open up conversations with strangers and see if they talk to me or walk away. 

I will do it all over the summer. Hooray for a new project to keep me busy!!