Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What I'm working at


Hi everybody,

How's it going? It is a long time since I write anything. I been busy with going to the Disability Film festival and my two films were in there. 
Now I am on the Calgary Transit Access Eligibility Appeal Board, where I try to advocate for people with disabilities. 
Also, I started a new project. I want to be a speaker for TED. That's why I made a short video for them about my life using the app that I create with a great team from the U of C. If you want to get a look at it go to Youtube, using this link: https://youtu.be/34SJdxGs6Hk

Have a nice day,
Shawna

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Accessible Taxi Services in Calgary.

Hey Everyone! I got to be a part of a meeting regarding Accessible Taxi Services in Calgary. Several members of the community including myself shared our difficulties with using the current services and changes are going to be made!! I put my speech it below if anyone is interested in checking it out. https://globalnews.ca/news/4069327/calgary-city-committee-wants-fund-to-improve-accessible-taxi-service/

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Calgary Transit Access

Hi everybody,

         My name is Shawna Mattinson and I was born with Cerebral Palsy, which has put me in a wheelchair for most of my life. I lead a very active life between working out, writing, and being an advocate in my community. 

            I have been in Calgary all my adult life and I mostly rely on Calgary Transit Access.  I do acknowledge that they are an overworked shared ride system and most of the drivers are very personable.  Some of the issues I have with not being able to use accessible cabs is that if I want to go anywhere I have to know at least 2 days in advance.  The system is not set up for me to decide to go out for dinner the day of.  Often times I miss the end of a movie because Calgary Transit Access shows up and if you don’t go, you don’t get a ride home.  I once arrived for dinner an hour and a half late (my bus was running behind schedule) and ordered my food, just as they set my dinner down in front of me, there was access Calgary back to pick me up at my scheduled time.  One time when I was coming home from a vacation I was picked up at the airport and the driver took me quite a ways out of my way knowing that because of few Accessible Taxis I really had no choice.  My friend who lives about 5 minutes from me and didn’t need an accessible taxi arrived home with a $55.00 cab fare and mine was $92.00.  (In case you are wondering why we didn’t share the cab, I was traveling with another friend and we had a lot of luggage). 



            With the lack of accessible cabs, I often have to leave my Electric Wheelchair at home along with my independence.  I have many great friends that will take me out but I have to use a manual chair and I am at their mercy help me do even the simplest of tasks like getting myself to the washroom.  If there were more accessible cabs, my life would be a lot brighter and I would be able to more actively participate in activities in and around Calgary.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2018 Whoo hoo!!


I can't believe it's already February!! I am doing nothing at all!! I have to make a list of what I want to get done in the new year... I have been skiing every Sunday night! I sit in a sled-like bucket while someone ski's behind me, we're attached by two ropes. It's so much fun! I do jumps sometimes but I miscalculated it a bit last time and rolled over my head and landed on my side, lol.It feels like I am free for a couple of hours. I thought I would hate it because I hate cold weather, I have three more weeks of it and then it's over... But I'm hoping I get to go on a ski trip next month! It's a family day Canada Olympic Parc so I invited my friends, and sisters and their families to come see how I do it. I hope I can go back next year and try to ski on my own with poles. 

My Friday evenings are spent at the UofC where a team is working at building a speech assistance app for me. It's part of a program where designers and engineers collaborate with individuals with disabilities to improve their qualitiy of life. When I go out, people often have a hard time understanding me when I speak.... it sounds like I'm drunk, haha! I want to go back next year, I have been brainstorming new ideas for them. 

Wednesday's I'm working on a course offered through the library about how to make money off of writing. It's a good course and I like it! I was talking to a friend of mine on the weekend and she was telling a lady about me and what I'm up to. This young lady is doing a course at Bow Valley about disabilities so she gave her my name and all my information. I don't know for sure what this may lead to but I'm hoping to try some public speaking, a classroom would be a great place to start. 

I am waiting to hear back from the disability film fest... It's coming up in March so I'm assuming I didn't make it. But that's alright! I still want to go check it out and watch the other films. 

Last year I was a part of IDPD (International Day of Persons with Disabilities). I had a table set up with my writing and business cards and it was a blast! I would love to do more events like this in 2018. I want to widen my horizons and do more with my life. 

I have a lot of goals and I keep myself busy, I HAVE a disability but that's not WHO I am.


 I am Shawna Mattinson.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everybody!

I hope the New Year is good to you all! I'm sitting in the food court downtown, watching everyone get something to eat... I'm thinking about what is in store for me. I am starting off by writing a letter to the TD Square Core about the lack of accessible washrooms...

 They only have one in this mall and it's in the food court... on the fourth floor. I think it's stupid that they only have one washroom that's "accessible", and it's on the FOURTH FLOOR! I personally think they should have one on the bottom floor.. I mean what if access is late and I need to use the washroom? I don't have time to get in the elevator and go upstairs to go to the washroom.... Even when I go to the washroom I will often find someone using the only one accessible to me... usually it's someone quite "able-bodied" who comes out. I just think to myself "seriously? In this entire washroom you need to use THAT stall?" 

I realized this year that I want to take a stand for myself and others who are affected by the same situation(s)... I will no longer take these minor violations against my basic human rights lying down.... I think I have more letters to write!!  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I have a disability, but that's not going to define who I am...

There are a lot of things I can't do, I could make a whole list but I won't get into it. Beyond the things I can't do, I feel like there are a lot of things I feel I don't understand.. Like I lack the mental capacity to understand them. I don't know if it's the real truth, or if it's just my belief? I often feel like I am lacking or less than others. Sometimes for strange reasons like not being in relationship or having my own family. I don't even desire these things at the moment, but it's difficult not to compare myself to others.

 I land on a spectrum of Cerebral Palsy, there are things I'm capable of doing like getting out of my chair and walking. However, there are others with Cerebral Palsy who can obtain degrees and full time jobs and I feel like those things are out of reach for me. This isn't a rant hoping for encouragement or sympathy, I'm just being honest about how I feel. 

The last couple of years have been pretty tough. I felt in limbo and like I wasn't accomplishing a lot. I was knocking on a lot of doors that wouldn't open. I was writing some but I didn't feel passionate about it. My mini stroke left me feeling more disabled and vulnerable, I wondered "would I ever get my independence back"? I relied on people to help me more than I wanted too. Friends, even this period of my life was a gift to me. It opened my eyes, it made me want to live life to the fullest! I wanted to take more chances!! Tomorrow isn't promised so get out and LIVE!!! I need to tell my story. I want it to serve others on their journey. 

No matter what goes on in my life. I am so grateful for who I am and who I'm becoming...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Listen To Life

I went to a play on Thursday night by myself. It was really more of a live experience than a play. You weren't so much watching actors play characters, you were witnessing people share their stories. It got me thinking about life and how every experience is teaching us something.

I've been reflecting on times that I knew something was wrong or "off" but I didn't pay attention. One of those times was when I got taken advantage of on a handibus. I mean I had to get home and it was my only option to get there. But I remember a moment before I even got on that the man looked at me with an unsettling eye. That was my clue, that was my whisper that something bad was about to happen. I am not about to victim blame myself, it was not my fault. But I do want this story to illustrate how subtle these little messages can be. 

Sometimes you're in a relationship and there are small indicators that the other persons heart doesn't quite belong to you. Or maybe you brush off their possessiveness and jealousy as care and protection. Sometimes you feel something in your gut but you choose to shove it down or deny that it exists. It's there for a reason. 

Particularly if you're an individual with a disability, you are required to put a lot of trust in the people around you. Your family, friends, and caregivers. Sometimes we need to be reminded to listen to ourselves. The honest truth, deep in your soul. The one that makes the hairs of your neck standup and gives you bad butterflies in your stomach. 

Always listen to yourself first....