>Prayers Needed

>I just found out an hour or so ago that a very dear friend had a malignant tumour removed last week. I knew he had had surgery but the mutual friend had told me it was just a “little op” and nothing to worry about.
He sounded OK on the phone but did admit to have had a few tears earlier when he received a card from a group we both belong too and he says he feels the same as before. At the end of this month he returns to hospital for follow up tests to check they got it all. He actually spent a lot of time asking how I was and when I mentioned the job interview I had last week apologised for forgetting about it. Prayers, positive energy and good thoughts etc are all very much appreciated.

And as for me? I’m doing good. Taking it slow but doing good. I might be getting a cold but actually I feel better today than yesterday. My sister came home for the weekend and it was great to see her – we had lots of fun.
NaNoWriMo word count: 14,374 – still behind but the situation isn’t dire (yet) and that almost isn’t the point.

>In Flanders Fields

>

At the 11th Minute of the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

... We Remember

Today is Rememberance Day. Please take the time whatever you are doing to remember those who fought and gave their lives so we might have the freedom we enjoy now and which so many of us take for granted.

It is traditional to mark their memory with a moment of silence at the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month… but any time you have, anywhen, not just tomorrow does just as well.

We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude. Remembering them is the least we can do.

Disclaimer: photos found via yahoo! image search, they are not mine.

>NaNoWriMo progress so far: 9511 words. I am behind but slowly clawing it back.

Nothing much else happening here but apart from some pain issues all is well 🙂 I like being able to say that!

>Lifting me up

>I’ve had a lot of support from people over the last few days because of something I was doing which I deliberately chose not to post here before I did it. I am feeling pretty touched and quite emotional about that support right now!
Yesterday I had a job interview for the first position I applied for. The interview itself went well but I didn’t get the job. I was actually expecting that because there were some obvious access issues (but ones that would be easily sorted) and they asked a bit of a weird CP related question to do with the access.

I just got the vibe that it wasn’t going to happen and although I was told over the phone that it was a case of more experience and more relevant experience determining who got the post deep down I believe my CP ruled me out. I asked for, and received, some feedback on my performance. She said I did well and sold myself but the rest of her feedback made no sense to me and so I was back to my cynical cp related belief.

I will never know for sure and it’s not a healthy thing to get caught up on so I’m trying to leave that behind and view it as a good thing – I went in knowing that it would be OK I would either get the job or have had the experience. And I’ve had the experience so now I’m trying to get back to that belief.

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow them. (Louisa May Alcott)

My relatively new friend Mary sent me that quote in response to my comment in an e-mail (the night before the interview) that in times of stress my confidence, strength and belief in myself tend to desert me.

And my friend Joan who I volunteer with at CAB sent me the nicest e-mail when I sent her one saying I didn’t get the job.

Yes, right now I do feel like crying. But that’s not because I didn’t get the job. I’m completely fine with that – a bit sad but OK and hey at least now the people involved in that job will be aware of the schemes in place to support disabled people in work (my disability employment adviser sent them some info).

No… I am all tearful because I am so touched by the people who surrounded me. Who are so amazingly kind and who find the words and the strength to hold me up and keep me going when I can’t do it myself.

(comments are off on this post as I do not want to be commiserated with about the job)

>Good People

>

“Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. An Oscar. But we’re all eligible for life’s small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don’t fret about cropping life’s grand awards. Enjoy its tiny delights. Know joy.”
–Author Unknown.

I had a tiny delight today and when I saw this quote I knew I should share both it and my experience of Knowing joy as the quote says.

I called a taxi home this morning after my appointment and they sent Pete who drives the wheelchair taxi and has picked me up several times (but I only found out his name today). I didn’t ask for the wheelchair taxi but I was pleased to see it and save transferring. And when he got me home he didn’t have any change. I had a tenner and it was £4.20. So he said he would let it go and said I could pay him next time. How nice is that? No fuss at all and a lot of people would have made a HUGE deal of that. My faith in people took a little battering early this morning but then that restored it and life is good.

Oh and because of the nature of my appt I made more of an effort when I got ready this morning and I feel all pretty today!

>Reflecting on Spirituality and What I Believe In

>The next Disability Blog Carnival is being hosted on the 9th of November over at Growing Up With a Disability. David suggested that whilst all stories/entries on disability are welcome the topic of spirituality would be an interesting one to discuss.

I know several bloggers who have a disability and how are a lot more religious than I am. Notably, Shi and Christamae. Unfortunately one of the downsides of the caringbridge system which Christamae uses is that you can’t link to individual entries but her entries are well worth a read. I will point you to one specific entry of Shiloh’s though – this one. But to me the topic of spirituality isn’t just about religion be it organised or otherwise.

I have issues with organised religion as such – churches that aren’t accessible and people who persist in telling me my disability is wrong. I have been told that I am in a chair because I sinned in a previous existance/life. And I’ve been stopped in the street by those irritating people who like to preach there. They asked if I believed in God and when I said Yes they told me that if I truly believed I wouldn’t be like this. Another friend with CP was with me then and she was very upset by the comments they made. I was not. I have the strength to view that as it is – fear of the unknown.

Fear simply is False Evidence Appearing Real – in this case the idea that to be a true person, a whole person, a functioning member of society one cannot be disabled. I told them to F&*^ Off and left… my friend… she cried. Their spiritual beliefs led them to the understanding that to be anything but an able-bodied person was to be less valid as a person and was also a sign of a lack of religious belief.

My beliefs… My beliefs are different.

I believe that there is a higher power and that Prayer works. I believe in Karma (what you give is what you get returned) and that death is not the end. Most importantly I believe that everything happens for a reason but that sometimes we can’t see that reason – the phrase can’t see the wood for the trees springs to mind here.

My CP was caused by the fact that I was born prematurely and as my lungs were not fully developed I suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. The bottom line is this: there was no way I would have ever made it through that unscathed. Either I would have died or as happened, I lived with brain damage which for me equaled CP.

I love my life and I am thankful for it. So I guess you could say I am grateful that I have CP. I’ve never thought about it that way… I wouldn’t want to be without it, I’ve always said that. And truly because all I’ve ever known is being disabled I don’t think I would know what to do with myself or possibly even how to cope. I am Emma and Emma has CP. I am not my CP but it is completely and utterly intertwined with me and couldn’t be seperated.

I have had many many experiences that are unlikely to have happened if I wasn’t disabled… some down right shitty but some absolutely amazing and ones I wouldn’t wish away for anything.

I’ve had two very spiritual beliefs related to my CP for a long time and recently I’ve come to hold a third although I would say that relates more to the fact that I have battled severe depression.

I believe that the Higher Power chose me to have CP because I have a soul strong enough to cope with it and my parents and family have the fight in them to pick me up when things get tough and push me to keep going. Scream at me and refuse to let me stop even when it hurts them badly to do that.

When I was a child I used to walk substantially more than I do now. One day I was walking around Tesco (Supermarket) with mum and I fell over. I had just learnt how to pick myself up from the floor and I was soooo proud of that skill. It still needed work though and also when you can’t do things for yourself doing the things you can matters so much more and means more than you can imagine if you’ve not been in that position yourself. I don’t remember this incident but it is a story I have heard so many times that the pain it caused is now obvious to me because otherwise why would it have stuck in Mum’s memory like that?
So, as I said, I fell over. Mum looked at me and went “pick yourself up then” and after a struggle I did. There was a lady from the Salvation Army nearby and she immediately began to pray Out Loud for the “poor disabled girl.” By doing what she did she was doing what was best for me and it truly is things like that which I know had to have hurt my parents but which made me who I am today.

I also believe that it is my calling in life to work for disability awareness and disability rights and to make things better for people such as myself. That’s something that caused me a lot of problems but after a lot of work with a wonderful counsellor I am now able to recognise and accept that this doesn’t mean that I can’t find the fight hard and that I have to worry about doing stuff to better others all the time. It is partially why I blog.

My third belief is one I have come to recently as I have begun to recover from and come out of my depression – I know that whatever happens will be for the best and I believe that I will OK even if at times it doesn’t seem like it.

Oh and finally… I believe that if life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. then you should find someone whose life has given them Vodka and have a party! And if you should then find a third person whose life has given them Archers… well thats a damn fine party your gonna have and as they say good times were had by all!

>Why yes, I’m not particularly happy… how could you guess?!

>

I had a really good day today with lots of good stuff, some of which was very unexpected as I’d expected it to be bad. there were a few irritations but nothing major and I had fun. Plus managed to solve something that was becoming a pretty major and urgent problem.

But seriously after having to deal with people who have no disability awareness, make stupid comments, ignore my wishes and generally patronise me every day for the last THREE DAYS I am so going to tell the next person who even looks at my like they have an issue to do with my CP to Shut the F*&^ Up, P*&^ off and leave me alone. and then smack them. Repeatedly.

Oh and when I was in Birmingham the access in a shop was so tight that I knocked a gift set off the shelf. The gift set included a mug. Which smashed.

I just went “oh shit” and starting walking out. Caroline (Rob’s PA) was with me and she went “it’s ok sweetie it was an accident” and then realised I’d smashed it and laughed going to the guys whose shop it was “Yeah, she’s not with me.” I just turned round and went “yeah you’ve never met me before in your life have you Caroline?!” and laughed. The guys in the shop did not look happy but they didn’t ask me to pay for it and I was not going to offer! Let that be an accessibility lesson to them.

>NaNo, Card Games and Proud stuff

>NaNoWriMo progress so far: 2090 words which means so far I am ahead!

I have a copy of No Plot? No Problem! which is the official guide to NaNo and it has a table which shows the number of words you need to have finished by the end of each day. To be on track at the end of day one you need to have a total word count of 1667. I am around 400 words ahead of that and I’m not really planning to write any more today but still might. So far it seems to be quite dark and I can tell it’s going to need quite a lot of editing but I’m enjoying getting back into the pure writing progress and am very pleased with how it’s shaping up so far.

Soph called me earlier tonight just to check how you play Strip Jack Naked. That’s a card game we play at home sometimes and contrary to it’s name there is no stripping or nudity or anything to do with clothes involved at all! I think our cousins used to call it Beg Thy Neighbour. Anyway that was a pretty weird phone call to me! Especially as that’s pretty much the only card game I don’t need reminding of the rules every time we play (well, that and Donkey!)

I’m a few days behind with proud stuff so here we go…

Sunday I was proud of the fact that I was in my K when we went shopping and I wheeled myself the whole time – about three hours. It’s a long time since I’ve had a decent go out in my manual and it was easy.


Monday I was proud of myself for advocating for myself and finding someone to help each time I couldn’t reach what I wanted in sainsburys.

Yesterday I got some great news and immediately acted on it to ensure that I get the best possible outcome.

Today I went to work and stayed to do training after. Did quite a lot of indepth work on the phones w/ clients and didn’t laugh at the training guy despite wanting too. Given that I was in pain and couldn’t be bothered to be there because of that, the fact I got there at all let alone stayed for extra is something I am proud of.

Some days it’s really hard to think of something to be proud of but I still think it’s a good exercise and I’ll keep it up for a while at least.

>Stop! NaNo Time!

>Ladies and Gentlemen, please be warned that life as we know it is about to come to a screaming halt in an hour and a half when the clock ticks over to midnight and the calender turns over to November. So please hold on to your hats and keep a close eye on any items you don’t want to lose.

Because November as well as being one of the darkest and nastiest months in the year is also the home of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month).

This is what the website has to say about it:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and — when the thing is done — the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2005, we had over 59,000 participants. Nearly 10,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

This will be the third time I’ve done NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short) and I love it. In 2004 I wrote and won with an extremely crappy piece of Harry Potter fanfiction. Last year I was sadly one of the 49,000 who tried but failed. I gave up after about 10 days and roughly 7K words. This year I am planning to write a piece of original fiction – chick lit I think – and I am going to win. I’m pretty damn excited about it too.

There’s an hour and a half of sensible life remaining. Then you’d better strap in tight because come midnight – let the madness begin!