Today’s Bloganuary prompt is “How are you changing the world”
This isn’t an easy prompt for me.
Throughout my life I’ve been the first wheelchair user to do a’levels at the college I went to at 16. The “only disabled person” we’ve had do whatever. Or the second. It’s not been an easy place to be as being the first or even the second hasn’t been an easy journey. It’s been full of mistakes and difficulties and fighting. I wrote a post about that on instagram a few years ago; it’s still true now.
I’m not comfortable with claiming that “making things better for the wheelchair users who come next…” as me changing the world as they never felt like real, last changes and in many ways it’s been pretty fucking damaging to me.
I am more comfortable with the idea that some of my work may have improved the world for some people; made their lives better.
I will begrudgingly claim the fact that one of the organisations I occasionally volunteer for added an extra disabled toilet as my playing a role in making the world better for their disabled volunteers. But that wasn’t so much something I set out to do. I just kept turning up for several years and asking staff to escort me to the loo as you needed a building ID to get in the area it was (There were regular toilets in the area we volunteered so everyone else just went). Which eventually made staff start to talk about needing a solution.
I’ve had a carer tell me on her last shift with me that my encouragement as she cared for me had made her much better at her job. I’d like to think that’s true and maybe it’s helped other people she’s cared for. But I felt like a bitch when she told me. Because I encouraged her because I needed her to be more confident in what she was doing for me, to make the care she gave me what I needed. And not because I was a nice person.
I hope that the disability benefit appeals I’ve helped Citizens Advice clients with has changed the lives of those who were successful. Or at least that the extra money has made me things easier for me.
And in a smaller way, I hope seeing me and hearing me say “I get it, I hear you.” has helped all the various other people in my life (friends, family, other volunteers, clients.) at times.