My Big Mouth: Ireland changes the world, Take Note USA

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Today history was made in Ireland, the good people of that beautiful country voted YES to everyone being able to marry! While I was unhappy that it had come down to a vote (I mean come on no one had to vote on straight people being able to get married) the result is incredible.

I’ve been watching the news for the past two days, hoping and keeping everything crossed. People travelled home to cast this vote, because they are decent people, who believe in freedom and equality. Someone asked me ‘Why are you so excited?, It’s great but you don’t live in Ireland and you’re not gay?’. Correct, I neither live in Ireland, nor am I gay but I have a really close friend who is. I wrote a letter to them last year for National Coming Out Day (read it here), it makes me sick that if they lived in another country they might not be able to marry someone they love because of someone else’s bull**** opinions. I don’t care what religion you’re a part of, you can’t take away someone else’s happiness.

I’m bursting with happiness for Ireland but there is so much that we need to do! Listen up America, it’s your turn! America is getting a lot better with legalising gay marriage (pft legalising it, I hate writing that). That said, some people still think if they shout loud enough they and stop whatever they want, especially if they back themselves up with some religious book.People deserve the right to get married no matter what their sexual preference is. They are in love, they want to be committed to each other and it’s not going to impact anyone else’s life other than theirs.

I realise this has gotten slightly ranty and I apologise. I just feel so passionate that countries such as the UK and USA are leading countries so we should set an example and show love and compassion. I’ve hung out with a lot of LGBTQ people and guess what? They’re good, normal, honest people! So what if a girl likes another girl, a boy likes another boy or someone decides they like the best of both or uncomfortable in their own skin.

Change the world, spread some love and fight for equality! Congratulations Ireland!

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Society Awards 2015!!!

Last night I mentioned that I was getting ready for the university Society Awards. It was all a bit of a rush at first with missing trains, busses not turning up and my sat in my wheelchair waiting for someone (Amy) to come and push me. We’ve gotten A LOT better at navigating around Kingston since the last time and Amy has strength that she never knew she did. So Amy, Laura and I headed out to represent Kingston Horse Riding Society at the awards.

It was a big dinner and award ceremony and I was wheeled around (and to my embarrassment carried because there weren’t ramps to the waiting area). We ate, laughed and took photos. First up was volunteering awards, which I’m embarrassed to say that I really didn’t know anything about. I’d love to volunteer but next year I’m going to be doing so much it will be unreal!

We nervously waited for our categories. This year we were nominated for Most Improved Society, Best President and Laura for Outstanding Contribution. We were shortlisted for the first….and then we won!!!!! We screamed so loud, our little society had won most improved! I was gutted that I couldn’t go up and accept with the others but a special mention was made and my picture taken! It was an incredible feeling and something I’m so proud to take through when I am president next year.

The society’s award!!! 

Next up was president of the year, which unfortunately Laura didn’t win but was shortlisted! We sat through the rest of the evening grinning like idiots because we did it! We had an award!! We only had one more to go and I, being the clumsy idiot I was, was trying not to knock everything over on the table.

Can you tell how excited we are? :D 

For the final award of the night, Outstanding Contribution and we have a winner!!! Laura was one of 8 chosen! I cried when she won this award. I’m proud of all for my friends for different reasons, for Laura this is just a smidgen of how proud I am of her. Like me, she had a fall last year but is STILL recovering and had 9 months off of riding while she helped all of us and taught me everything I know about horses. She’d dealt with a load of other stuff as well and always has a smile on her face. Well deserved is an understatement and I am so happy to have her in my life and I can’t wait to watch our friendship grow over all our riding adventures!

Lovely Laura with her incredible award! 

I was so glad I went, after all the nerves and panic I felt about going in the chair. There were also times while I was there and feeling a little bit overwhelmed. So many people wanted to know about the wheelchair and what happened and what was going on in terms of recovery. I appreciated their kindness but it sent my anxiety into overdrive and nervousness.

Later on I’d calmed down and enjoyed myself. I was even wheeled on the dance floor and spun around, trying to wave my arms like a mad thing. Later, Laura did the same until my meds started to ware off and I got tired. I ended up getting wheeled home after midnight with lollipops and sweets. I was tucked up in bed (after being lifted in when my back decided it didn’t want to work) with a smile on my face and a tummy full of nerves for a fantastic society next year.

Dressing up

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I’m writing this in the 15 minutes or so that I have before Laura and Amy arrive to pick up me and my wheels for tonight’s society night out. It’s the Volunteering and Society awards, yaaaaay! The Riding society is up for best new society and best president (go Laura!).

No was with many of these types of occasions there is a theme to adhere to, this year was a mix between carnival and Gatsby. It meant I had to find something to where which didn’t make me feel hideously underdressed but still fancy enough while being comfortable in my wheelchair. I’ve had an outfit change already due to to outfit I wanted to wear not looking as good sitting down as standing up.

I don’t know what it is about dressing up to go out but it leaves me in a cold sweat. I’m not entirely comfortable in short dresses/ skirts for a night out and as fo heels? I love wearing them but I’m not great at walking in them. There was a time when I was younger that dressing up was my favourite thing ever, I loved discos and parties and would try ANYTHING in terms of fashion. Now I seem to have developed a uniform at uni of jeans and a nice jumper or t-shirt to uni, with my parka on top and either converses or Doc Martin’s on my feet. In the summer jeans get changed to shorts and tops to vest tops, with some floaty dresses thrown in one or twice a week.

I don’t know what it is there is just this horrible panicking fear when I dress up and wanting to measure up to other girls around me. Now I know 90% of girls do this, they look around the room and try and see if they look ‘good enough’. I try not to do this but I’m human like all of you. Once I’m there and relaxed I mostly calm down but the thought of dressing up and going to a big room full of people I don’t know, especially when I’m in a wheelchair, makes me go incredibly shy, which I NEVER AM!

It’s the huge internal monologue of Ok, who do I know here, do I know anyone here? No? Ok right talk to people, come on talk. Right ok now you’re talking to someone don’t say anything stupid. Did I hear someone laughing, shit is my dress up at the back? How do I subtly find out without making it look like I’ve got a major wedgie? Oh god what are they talking about now? Just smile and nod, smile and nod. 

Usually I get away with it and people are nice and I catch up with what’s going on. So there you have it, I’m off out, nervous and anxious as hell for no apparent reason, which is odd because if I was doing a mental health speech I’d be fine, but this and feeling out of my depth, not so much. That’s me off so hopefully I’ll have a good night and something interesting to tweet about later!

‘All you need is POSITIVITY’

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Yes, yes I did just quote a Spice Girls song and no I do not have any shame (come on I was a Spice Girls obsessed little girl, of course I can quote the songs).

Hello lovely readers, I hope you’re all doing ok. So today hasn’t been a great day, It’s been pretty rubbish although I’ve had some good news (more on that later) but mostly bad, which left me pretty low. I reached a point today after a little cry where I saw up and thought, right I’ve had time to be low and now I’ve got to get on with what I need to do. For now, that means resting but keeping my mind active, doing my physio and then slowly moving up with the goal of still having a great summer. What’s being miserable going to achieve?

Now I know what some of you are thinking, It’s great for her, but I can’t do that. Let me tell you a little secret, for years when people told me to ‘stop being negative’ I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell and fight and make them understand that I just couldn’t be, why didn’t they understand? I just couldn’t be positive, I couldn’t get out of this black cloud and sometimes you can’t. You have to be at a point where you’re well enough and bit by bit you will get there, it just takes time.

Anyway, back to today. I’m not saying I won’t have lows, I have depression lows are a part of my life, so are anxiety attacks. I just want to try and control them, grab positives when I can. It is hard and I am struggling but I’ve been worse than this before and somehow I got through. I know I’m stubborn and headstrong, so I’m going to try and use that to be positive when I can. I’ve got so many people helping and caring for me, the least I can do is try. Although I had an avalanche of bad news, it wasn’t all bad, I’ve got an interview for some really incredible work opportunities, I got to see Joe today and I finally have physio booked!

Being positive with a mental health condition isn’t always easy but it is possible, just not all the time! Take some time to do something you want to do, go back to something you enjoy (for me it’s been sketching), make a plan of things you’d like to do or ,if you’re like me, lists can make you feel so much more in control of the situation (which I struggle with, not being in control make a very stressed Chloe). So even if right now, there is no light you can see in your life. If things are so stressful you just want to hide under the covers, you’ll get there and there WILL be better things to come. Also why not try reading the ‘helping yourself list‘ I wrote about last year?

I hope you’ve enjoyed todays blog, as ever leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

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Book Review: Breaking The Silence by Jo Milne

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For most of us, listening to the kettle boil, the voices of our families or the sound of a bird is something that we take for granted. These are just sounds of everyday life, right? Not for Jo Milne and thousands of others like her who are registered deaf. Jo was born deaf and after it being picked up in her early childhood in the 1970s, Jo was simply known as ‘the deaf girl to those around her who knew and loved her. With the support of a loving family Jo managed to live a relatively normal life and was happy.

All goes well for Jo who doesn’t let her disability stop her, instead spending her life to help others with disabilities. That is, until she is diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, meaning that as well as being deaf, she is also going blind. Her fear of being plunged into darkness and silence is always present (as it would be for any of us!). After battling for years with these feelings a lifeline was offered to her, the ability to hear via a cochlear implant to the brain. A video that went viral on Youtube, prompting interest around the world.

This is a story of determination, courage and love. I read this within 24 hours and was glued to it the whole time. I loved Jo’s spirit and that of her family who merely adapted their lives so that she was always a part of their life. Although it is clear Jo struggles, and some of the tales from school will make your heart fill with anger and sadness, she keeps bouncing back, never letting life drag her down.

I’ve always been fascinated by the deaf community, sign language and lip reading are both beautiful forms of communication. Jo has handled all of this and then has to learn again, this time to cope without her sight, which understandably she struggles with but she is so honest. I think the reason I loved Jo’s memoir so much is that she’s honest, nothing is sugar coated but she’s not bitter either. She constantly fights through and believes in herself with the wisdom her late grandfather gave to her. I think that struck a chord personally too, the connection she has with her grandfather reminded me very much of the connection with mine.

While you would expect this story to make you a little low, I can tell you with certainty it doesn’t. What Jo does is make you realise that each day is different, that even in truly dark times where you feel like your body is betraying you there is a way around it. She has a kind heart and the steely determination of the Geordie roots she is so proud of (and so she should be!).

I’m giving this book 5 stars *****, because if anything it’s one of the most inspirational memoirs I’ve ever read. I remember watching Joanne on TV when the video first came out and I could have listened to her all day, reading her book has made it possible to understand her world. I feel like EVERYONE should read this, if anything just to understand what life is like for someone with disabilities. This is a truly amazing book and I hope you all have the pleasure to read it.

Also, here is the viral video of Jo being able to hear for the first time, prepare to have tears in your eyes! :)

 

Review by Chloe Metzger

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Wheelchairs, Goodbyes and Dinner along the river

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Left to Right Alissa,Eleanor, Amy, Maisha, Dani, Me 

Yesterday marked the arrival of my wheelchair, which I’d been recommended to rent out, but it was more cost effective to buy it *sigh*. I hadn’t been looking forward to it but I wasn’t that anxious until they rang the doorbell to deliver it. It came in it’s big box while Ali unwrapped it for me. We both just kind of stared at it for a while. I could tell that something in him matched my uneasiness about it. I sat in it and got back out again trying not to cry before asking him to put it away, I can’t even push myself in it!  I didn’t want it, I hated it and I didn’t want to go anywhere.

Luckily I got to escape to my doctors appointment, determined to walk to the bus stop. I got given more pain medication, had been dealing with the lousy insurance company and had to call Orthopaedics about a mistake they had made in my appointments. To put it simply I was pretty low. It didn’t help that on the bus ride home there were no seats. Standing on a bus brings unbelievable pain and luckily a woman spotted my face and let me sit down and a man offered to help me get up again after, which being me I said no to. I met Laura quickly to pick up my new prescription and she cheered me up, but I was still uneasy about going out in the evening.

A thousand thoughts went through my head, what if people stare? What if I just become the wheelchair girl when I go out? What if people laugh? I didn’t have too long to think about it before Amy picked me up. From then on it was more trying to navigate the roads…they really aren’t that wheelchair friendly. Pavements to get across the road weren’t straight and we couldn’t pull my chair, horrendous pathways I feel for people who are wheelchair bound, it’s really not fair!

From then on we met the girls and I started to relax, nobody here treated me different that’s for sure! They all relaxed too after being a bit nervous themselves and we were ready to have a great last meal with Alissa before she headed back to the US *sniff* and before Dani and El caught their flight to Prague.We had a great time, good food and I laughed so much my face hurt. We were all laughing and screaming while Amy and Eleanor divided steering me and trying to avoid the river ;)10521733_10153886855593206_6154522888338423380_n

Dinner along the Thames

Despite smiling so much I went home and cried, I cried because I was going to miss Alissa who has become such a big part of our lives, I cried because I wished more than anything that I was going to Prague with the girls and I partly cried with relief because none of them saw me any differently. I woke up with a funny picture of ‘stick chloe’ on the plane with El and Dani to make me smile. I carried on with the day going for my brace measurement appointment, having a coffee with Laura before picking up some drawing stuff on the way home as something to do.

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Last night when the girls had made me laugh so much the chair didn’t matter :) 

The closer I got to home the more pain I was in. I got so mad, I was trying to be positive and everything but WHY was I so frustrated and sad all the time? On top of that I was completely exhausted, fed up I took a lie down to rest again. It is hard, I didn’t think I’d mind as much as I do but I’m usually up and about all the time. I caught myself dreaming about going swimming again, or for an absent minded walk around Kingston and for the next 6 or so weeks I’m stuck not being able to do either. 11295569_10153888888068206_1153168637262698221_n

Being Supergirl for my brace measurements appointment

I’m both positive and sad at the same time. I know it won’t be forever but I think missing out on Prague has hit the hardest. I know I can go again, but I look at the girls pictures and love and miss them both so much. So all in all a confusing day and I’m just about ready to sleep after being cooked a lovely Steak by Ali tonight (to make up for the palm size excuse for one that had the girls wetting themselves last night!).

Tomorrow will be better, I’ll make sure of it. Night guys!

Sundays

Sunday evenings always seem to make me sit and reflect a lot. Last year I wrote a really long and kind of trying to understand my own mind (if you missed it here is the link). Sometimes I use this blog to manage how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking about, because I just need to get it out there.

When I was a little girl Sundays were exciting, I got to go to work with Mum and Nanna, unless my Aunt could look after me for the day, which she did a lot. I got to go help out on the stall and serve customers or sit in the car with the bag of colouring, notepads and books that I had bought to keep me entertained. The older I got I could go and explore what other people were selling. Or failing that me, Mum, Nanna and Sums would be up and in the car for 7.30 and would go and look at the car boot sales, where I would find things to sell on and make a profit. That is until it got to a point where I’d fallen in love with sleep, I’d stay at home with the dog and we’d share breakfast.

When I was a teenager I hated Sundays, I’d cry, have a terrible low, fight with my sister and look at the numbers on my wall to see how many days that I absolutely had to be in school I had left (holidays, INSET days, weekends, anything that meant I didn’t have to be there wasn’t counted because I was free). It was terrible I’d usually have to listen to my iPod while falling asleep, cry some more and that was that. I’d almost always try on Mondays. I’d try to go to school like a good girl and hope that this day, this week would be different and I wouldn’t be so crushingly sad any more. Needless to say it rarely changed.

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Taken when I was about 16, a cuddle day with the dog was normal

Through the week Mum and I would make bargains with depressed me to make her go to school. It mostly consisted of when I’d get to see Ali and sometimes it worked. It got better though, after I’d hit bad lows I’d have to work from home, meaning I got better. Then I’d go back to school and it would all happen again, I’d get chipped away piece by piece until I was physically ill again. Now I know it was the depression but I just thought I had a super low immune system. Sundays were always the days where I would try so desperately hard again.

Now I kind of like them, I usually have a day where I just do things for myself, lie ins with Ali after he’s been working late or it’s post gig day. I get my reading finished for the week ahead and look forward to seeing my friends and whatever I’ve planned that week. It’s a far cry from the anxiety ridden days of school.

I know this post is super reflective, but I’ve been thinking about the old me a lot this afternoon while reading ‘The Time In Between’ by Nancy Tucker about her battle with eating disorders. I will be reviewing it because it’s incredible. I read a lot of books like this about overcoming and wonder if, one day, I should write everything down, even if it’s just for me. I wonder if anyone would even be interested in reading that? If by telling my story of when I was younger up until now I would be helping anybody? Am I ready to share everything? It’s a crazy thought and I’m really not sure whether it’s just a silly thing or whether it would be cathartic to get everything out.I don’t know but, there we go my exploring my life Sunday brain is in force. I don’t mind it as much now though, because I don’t dread the week ahead like I used to :)

Tomorrow will be interesting, my wheelchair is arriving, another doctors appointment (I hope she’s ready for my super anxious mind) and I have to say goodbye to Alissa before she goes back to the US *sniff, sniff*. Hopefully speak to you guys tomorrow.Oh! Before I forget. You guys have been awesome this past week, likes commenting, I love it, thank you! If you have any ideas on the ‘should I write out my life’ thing then let me know belooooooow. As always I love chatting with you all.