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....

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Our Friend on Wheels

“Our Friend with Wheels” is a book about making friends. Watch this amazing kids story that shows you the beauty of friendship. I really hope that my book will help all the kids with disabilities to see that making friends it’s possible.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

CP Day

Dear fellow "CP’s",

Be proud of yourself.
Don’t let other people keep you down.
Find your voice, and USE it.

Dear “regular folks”,

What I wish you would understand about me is that
 yes, I have Cerebral Palsy and I’m not ashamed of it.
 Your pitiful looks and sad eyes have no effect on me.

Dear world, 

I am not disabled and if you don’t like it, get out of my life…

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What People Think When They Look at Me

Today my friend and I were on the c-train going downtown. Sitting across from was a young lady, well dressed and likely on her way to a meeting.  She said "Hi' to me with that gooey eyed look in her eyes like when you greet a child. I respectfully said "Hi" back and then continued chatting with my friend... I didn't engage with her further because she kind of rubbed me the wrong way. My friend and I were chatting and laughing (I'm hilarious after all) and she tried to join in laughing with us... Then she said to my friend "She has a great sense of humour"! I don't think she knew I was telling her a really funny story, she just assumed I was "making noises" and laughing. I shot her an unimpressed look when she said that and my friend and I just carried on our conversation.  

Here's the thing, I don't believe she had any bad intentions... she may have thought I was a child, or at least quite young, if she didn't hear/understand my words she may have thought I don't have much cognitive ability. She was trying to be friendly and inclusive, but in a bit of a forced way. She didn't pick up on my dead pan look to her and back off a little. My friend kept asking me questions to demonstrate to her that I am a fully cognitive and aware (adult) person. 

This can be a really delicate situation because you don't want to shame somebody or make them feel bad because they don't understand who you are.  Would it have been better to say to her face that I am a fully functioning adult person? Or just continue demonstrating that with my friend? 

I don't care what people think about me, but don't assume that my disability defines me in this world.