Some things are better left unsaid?

I’ve lost count in the last couple of years, since I started using a crutch, that people have asked outright, just blurting it out ‘what’s wrong with you?’

So I’d like to address those people:

Hi (good place to start)

My name is Rebecca 

I’m 23

I’m a student studying history and sociology at a decent university 

I have a cat called George

I have 1 sibling- a sister

I am single 

I am also dyspraxic, but you can’t see that

As you can see I have a walking aid- 1 bog standard, NHS crutch

Aren’t you observant?

No-

  1. I haven’t broken anything
  2. I haven’t been fighting
  3. This isn’t a football injury
  4. I don’t know ‘what the other one looks like’

Today, I was asked the same thing in a very different way- and it made all the difference.

I sat down next to a Middle Aged Asian man on the bus.

He helped me sit down (bus had set off as I reached my seat, and it was me, with a backpack on, my crutch, and a suitcase with a very wonky wheel)

I thanked him (I’m polite)

He paused and I waited for the same sentence I was so tired of hearing…

Just the day before, I was discussing potential responses with a friend ranging from:

“I’ve been fighting dragons”

To “My boyfriend forgot the safe word” (90% of suggestions were sexual tbh)

And then he said 

“What happened?”

Now, it might not sound like much, but he asked in a very gentle way, that didn’t immediately label that there was something wrong with me, announcing to the whole bus that they’d asked me by how loud their voice was like the usual crowd

I explained I had dodgy joints

And again I was taken aback by the response

“Oh” he paused “My best wishes to you”

Normally, in situation A with the ‘what’s wrong?’ Crowd I get ‘oh is there not any treatment?’

And when I explain more about my condition than an NHS choices page, the next thing on the crowd’s agenda is some spiel about how I’m inspirational, and it’s good that I keep going (dunno what I’m supposed to do otherwise, I’m travelling home)

But this man on the bus gave me his best wishes, smiled on me thanking him, and did not continue to interrogate me into yet another depressing reminder that I will be this way forever, and that I should somehow automatically qualify as being ‘inspirational’ ?

I’m a single 20-something with a cat too 🐱

And that man on the bus gave me his best wishes, regardless of – most importantly- my condition, it’s affects, time span or manifestations

My best wishes to you too, man on the bus ❤️

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Job hunting: computer says no

So I haven’t posted in a while because I was lacking phone memory for the WordPress app.
I’ve applied for a new job tonight, and I’ve been almost instantly rejected.
I spent 2 and a half hours filling out the CV section- all well and good.
✔️ Educated.
✔️ Plenty of experience in that area
✔️ Decent human being.
And then I got to the screening test section.
It asked me some weirdly worded questions, with 3 multiple choice options, for what I’d do in each scenario.
So I filled it out, and that’s when my instant rejection came.

I had the experience, I had the qualifications, and I am a nice person.

But that wasn’t enough.
My CV wasn’t even going to be looked at, because a computer said no.
Consideration in exams is a given when a person has a diagnosed, documented, learning difficulty.
I have dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
So, this means I get extra time, and examiners are asked to consider my dyspraxia when marking my responses.
But there was no learning difficulty/disability friendly version if the test.
I can appreciate, of course, what technology can do for a person with learning difficulties and additional needs.
But the idea that my application was not going to be considered at all, because of a generic computer test (which I’m pretty sure the company would have trained me about anyway) is ridiculous!
Hey ho- back to the drawing board 😅

Chronic pain: what I’ve learnt

So yeah, on top of dyspraxia, a nervous-anxiety-riddled-disposition, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness roughly 2 and a half years ago now.

I had a flare up of pain in my knee and my back when I reached about 16 (I was just coming to the end of highschool) and it went within a few days. Odd. Then it happened a few more times. So I saw my GP, and was packed off to Physio. He told me I was hypermobile, I said, ok whatever.
Then, as I started college for the second time, taking A levels in history, sociology, religion and philosophy, and ICT,  aged 19 (long story for another post, maybe- there was a lengthy battle with my mental health inbetween) I started with awful pain in my lower back and knees. A lot worse than the time before.
A year later, in the time I was supposed to be preparing for university, I was crawling up the stairs at home to reach my room.
So I went to my GP.
Again.

And again.

And again.
Then I sat my exams, with difficulty to sit in the 2 hour exam without shuffling round on my seat in a great deal of pain.
I went back to my doctor.

I was informed it was growing pains. At this point I was 21 years old, a pretty lanky, slim built young woman who filled out and had plenty of growth spurts by then.

I went to collect my exam results in the August, I’d got into my first choice university. A Russel group, all singing, all dancing one. A ‘posh’ uni as my friends put it who were going to polytechnics. So I was moving out the following month to start my degree in History and Sociology.

I went back to my doctors once more, because before I went anywhere, I needed to know what was going on with my body.

By chance, it was a locum doctor on shift that day, who agreed with me that the pain needed more investigation, and I was sent to a rhumetologist.

At the rhumetolgist appointment, I was diagnosed with joint hypermobility syndrome.

In lay men’s terms, it’s a chronic condition where the joints have a wider range of movement than they should (that’s the ‘hyper mobility part- it’s being double jointed) and having that wide range means that soft tissues and ligaments become damaged and painful, which then becomes widespread (as painful as fuck, might I add)
Fast forward 2 years later, and my life basically consists of uni and hospital appointments, because I don’t have the energy for much else.

I’m determined to finish my studies, but my God, there are days where I just want to give up.

I sometimes get really upset that I now can’t remember what it feels like to wake up and not feel pain everyday.

But in other ways, the condition has made me a lot stronger.

I’m a very determined, very strong willed,  and I’ve developed empathy on a level I didn’t realise existed.

I’m also a lot more forthcoming- if I don’t like you, you know about it.

I’ve lost a ‘friend’ in these two years.

But I’ve also become closer to others,  who really will me to carry on and not give up!

A true test of character really does come, when life really throws you a curveball in the form of a chronic illness- and it’s a real test of friendship too.

Another one of those posts about femmemism

I am a feminist.

There I said it.

No, not the men-hating, bra-burning, radical version.
I’m the my-Vagina-doesn’t-come-with-predestined-life-instructions version.

So, here is a very short introduction to what feminism is.

 (Side note: If the word vagina makes you uncomfortable, I am not sorry) 
It shouldn’t be that as soon as I was born, and the midwife or whoever shouted ‘it’s a girl’, that my life from that point was constructed for me. Me or anyone with female reproductive organs (that’s last bit is a description for the ones who cringe at the V word).

It’s ridiculous that in 2016- when we’re supposed to be fully operational in terms of equality- that women are still treated inferior to men.
Now for me in a Western European country, that might be that I don’t get paid the same as a man, for doing the same job.
For someone in a different country, it might be that they are denied any form of education

For some, it means being married off because you’re a girl, so that’s what you’re there for

For those reasons, I’m a difference femmemist (yes, there are different splinter groups, like any ideology)

Difference feminism is basically where there’s an understanding that different women experience different forms of oppression, and they need to be tackled.

A married, White, middle class woman isn’t going to have most of the same struggles of a single, working class, Black woman.

So people might say “Yeah so we (Western Europe) don’t need femmenism anymore.

Uh, yeah we do- 

  1. because there are still women in Western Europe who grow up with the idea that all they are here for is to find a nice man and settle down with 2.5 kids
  2. There are still girls in the world as young as 8 marrying people 20 years their senior, because there parents dont see a need to educate them, like they do with their sons.
  3. We still have this idea in all societies where girls are the caring, motherly person- and if someone doesn’t fit this, like a woman saying they don’t want children, people are horrified or disgusted (it’s their body, and their life why do you care so much?!) 

So my point is, feminism is still needed, because these crazy notions that men are made and destined for one thing, and women are made and destined for the other, is daft.

So you can be a man and be a feminist too- anyone can be a femminst- a normal femminst- you don’t have a bra to burn

If you think it’s crazy/silly/outrageous that the above happens, then you’re a femmenist.

I won’t be burning my bras over it anytime soon, anyway? Just trying to challenge it instead.

Dunno about you?
Becca 🙂

Terrorism, racism and other shit things…

On November 2016, in light of the terrorist attacks in France, I wrote this post on my Facebook:

I feel like it’s important in light of recent events for me to say this. People can fall out with me over it. 

It probably won’t change their minds, but I would like them to hear me out and know where I stand, to avoid awkward discussions later.

Muslims/terrorists/ISIS are not the same thing.


Some of you might say “How can it not be Islam doing it, when it’s called Islamic state!”


I’m fully aware of what it’s called, but those people hide behind their religion, just like the KKK.

Hitler and Stalin were both raised Christian.
I know a number of Muslims, and none of them are terrorists or secret members of ISIS, thank you very much.


Some I went to college with, some I worked with on a placement, and two even educated me in 3/4 of my A levels! (Two of which were A’s)


I get that’s it’s hard to look beyond the fact that many of the most heavily reported terrorist attacks are committed by supposed “Muslims”

But you have your own mind to go and educate yourselves about the situation, before you pass judgement on it.


In a way, I admire a Muslim’s dedication to their faith (the ones I have met myself, who are GOOD people) since I am supposed to be Christian but the only time I attend church is when someone in my family gets christened or it’s their communion…


You might say “Yeah but look at the Quran! Look at what it says Becca! They’re all evil!”


All religions have ridiculous, awful verses in them. As a Christian I’m supposed to go about my day, stoning divorced women to death, and converting or killing heathens, to name just 2 examples…


But I don’t because that’s ridiculous.


Some of you might bring up shariah law.


Fine, please tell me the last time you followed the 10 commandants word for word. God gives Christians lots of crazy commands too, like stoning women who have sex before marriage- it’s 2015, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it.


Have any of you, who are so against these people, ever had a normal conversation with one?
I’m guessing not!


I took a religion and philosophy A level taught by- yup- a Muslim, where I studied the Quran, the Bible and the Torah to see how much they fit with or went against modern life.


None of them came close!


So, do you see me indoctrinated by that person who taught me and had me studying the Quran, ready to go and carry out a suicide bombing?
Nope. You don’t, because very few Muslims are actually like that, just like not all Christians are the westboro baptist church, or how not all white Anglo Saxon Protestants are the KKK.


Hell*, it wasn’t that long ago when we had “No dogs, no blacks, no Irish” on the doors of buildings up and and down the country
00.3% is the figure out at the moment I believe, for how many Muslims are extremist. Everyone points out that out of the Muslim population, that’s a large figure but all of them would never combine forces because they all belong to different fractions of Islam. 


There’s Christian extremists in America, who stand at around 15% of the population, but no one bothers about that?


If it were true that all Muslims are evil terrorists, and the Muslim population wanted to take over the world, like some sort of evil world domination group, they would have done it by now!


Finally, not all people who originate from the East are Muslim- there are areas like with any other globalised country where religious pluralism is the norm, just like the UK- they are not all terrorists, in the same sense not all Germans are Nazis. 


Can you imagine if we all still said Germans were Nazis?
Exactly!


Some of you might say “But this is Christian Britain! We need our country back!”
While you sit there knowing you probably had sex before marriage, take contraception, and wear clothes made of more than 1 material….and then you’re supposed to love your neighbour….


And yet you tarnish all people from one religion as demonic people, a cancer ect.
Oh I’m sorry, how “Christian” of you.


Also Christianity is still the most dominant religion in the UK, even if it does have crazy rules (I do not want to be subservient to a husband who is free to do what he wants to me because we’re married. Nope!)
“We need to close our boarders!”


Many terrorists now are home-grown, so that’s not solving the issue, it’d keep us a little safer, in a way, for a few days max. We rely so much on other countries for trade it’s not a viable solution.


If anyone wishes to argue about it, I will happily post links to texts you can read on the subject. Or, you know, play a drinking game of all the passages that say the horrible things Christians should do to others in the Bible (keep an ambulance on standby, you might need one)


Your religion is not what guides you to do something wrong- it’s there as a mechanism for when times get tough, you have God/Allah (they’re the same person) to turn to.

 It’s how man takes the words and twists them, to justify their actions that causes terrorism. To become one, a person must already feel marginalised by society. 

How many school shootings in America do we know were committed by a white male who had mental health issues and dysfunctional family setup?


So, it’s not just religion that causes terrorism.


All religions have had people manipulate it as a means to commit terrorism.


Muslims are not “those fucking demon scum” Because they have names, families, and normal, everyday lives to get on with like the rest of us


When I look around social media, the Muslim community is just as devastated about this as you are. Because now they’re going to be subject to even more hate and prejudice, just because of the actions of a few delusional scumbags.

—————————


If you still feel Muslims are the root of all evil, do not engage with them at all, and simply leave them be!


But next time you want a taxi, or a doctor to save your life, or for someone to educate your child, or someone to serve you in a supermarket, you’re going to struggle! 🙂


*oops, blasphemy


#prayfortheworld”
I feel this is even more relevant now. I’d been working on a blog post on feminism, but it’s more important to address terrorism.
I come from a town drenched in racial tension. We’ve had riots, EDL demos, a past wave of support for the BNP and now UKIP. We live completely seperate lives: Muslims and Christians, whites and Asians.
Yeah I understand it’s idealistic to expect everyone to go skipping into the sunset, exchanging interfaith dialogue.
But what about education?

How about pure academic study of religious texts?
It’s nothing to spend a few lessons showing students passages from the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah.
And agreeing on how at least half their contents doesn’t fit with modern life!
Use your rational thought, no matter how religious, or what religion  you are.


Becca 🙂

Life inside and out 

It’s weird how different I act outside the house, than I do inside the house. Inside the house I’m a pain-riddled person, who shuffles around the house, can just about manage to dress herself. The one who has to hold onto handrails in the shower. 

The one who, inside, gives herself the hardest time about that time this week when she knocked another drink, or ended up yelling at someone because she felt completely over-simulated by her surroundings, and is stressed up to her eyeballs because she forgot about that piece of reading that was due for her seminar tomorrow.

On the outside I try and hold everything together. Keeping my anxiety from making me publicallu having a breakdown because I’m well within time but still fear being late to university. On the outside, no one sees my  chronic pain or my dyspraxia- so I look like a really ignorant young woman (when is the phrase young woman no longer okay by the way?) when in reality, I’m pushing through pain to move myself enough to get on the train and the tram, so I can get an education- and there’s so much going on in the busy train station, I have to keep checking the board to make sure I get on the right service, and focus on making correct  the movements to walk.
But- thinking positively- I’m proud of how I handle myself, and juggle life inspite of all this.

I’m still managing to keep up with, and get good grades, at university- there have been days when I’ve felt I just can’t carry on, but I just do somehow

There are days when my dyspraxia frustrates the absolute hell out of me, especially with what should be simple things- but it’s this that makes me ‘weird’ and most of the time, I embrace that!
Becca  🙂

So, here I am…

This blog is to (hopefully often) share my experiences, and possibly rant about living with dyspraxia, joint hypermobilty syndrome, and anxiety. 

Living with it, that is, as a 20-something undergraduate student who is generally melancholy and pessimistic about life.
But I have had to find a more positive attitude (mostly)


Happy reading.