Normal? No Thanks!

I wrote the following yesterday (Monday). I just got sick and didn’t post it, so here it is now…

Oh goodness. Yesterday’s daily prompt question is a rather pertinent one in a world where ‘abnormal’ is penalised, and ‘normal’ is praised. To be different in some way means you are not normal.

As a disabled person unable to work and reliant on medication, mobility aids, wheelchairs, and physical help from others on a day-to-day basis I am all too aware, I and my life, are far from normal. It is not ‘normal’ for someone as young as me to be unable to work. Medically, my body has never been normal. From the day I was born until the day I die, my body falls far short of ‘healthy’, and short of physical ability in day-to-day life. I am grateful I am healthier than I could be… though not as healthy as society thinks I should be. In these senses, I am not normal.

Who decides what is ‘normal’ though? This Government are penalising anyone who is sick, disabled, old, those looking for work or unable to work, poor, needy, or homeless. by labelling everyone in these categories as scroungers, and therefore somehow not trying hard enough to find work, or work that pays well enough to support a reasonable standard of living. It is ‘normal’ to be able to provide for your family, or pay your own way, in my case. It is normal to achieve certain grades in Education to go into education or training. Anyone who fails to do this is called a ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment, or Training).  Anyone with requirements different to other children or teenagers has ‘special’ or ‘additional’ needs, and generally, their parents have to fight for every bit of help their child gets. If you would like to read more on this, I can recommend Jane Raca’s book, Standing up for James in which she writes of the struggle to find and finance adequate education provision for her son, and the failures of social services, especially if your family is going through similar struggles. (You can read my review of her book here). I did hear the other day that Katie Price’s request to begin a ‘free’ school with other parents of children with special needs had been rejected. Begun because there is not enough provision for children with complex needs, a claim also made by Jane Raca, though I cannot quote her directly unless I find my kindle before I publish this post!!

Personality wise, I have always been just the right side of daft. Life is more fun if you can laugh at yourself, and if you can handle tough situations with a degree of humour, it all helps, in my opinion. In this sense, ‘normal’ is boring. I would love to be more sensible and more organised though. In some ways I still feel as though I live and think as I did when I was a student, and in other ways I have grown up. I think that is a lot to do with not being able to work. In that sense, I am not ‘normal’, and here, I would wish to be. Spiritually, I tend to agree with the late, great, Mike Yaconelli. ‘Messy’ is best, and Jesus is right with us in the midst of it. I read a great post the other day to do with authenticity in church, and faith. I think I may have already linked to it in another post, but it is worth another mention. I definitely think Mike would have been the same in whatever sphere of life he was in at the time. People who can do that and get away with it are oftentimes, (though not always) my favourite kind of people because there is no ‘normal’, around them, and you never know what will happen next. Life is an adventure. I happen to agree. So did Jesus, who didn’t do ‘normal’ either. He hung out with the very people society shunned, when there was nothing to gain from doing so. Me? I prefer to aim to be like Jesus; life is more fun that way! “I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full” (John 10: 10)

Private? Not so much…

Padlock-q mark
Padlock-q mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s prompt is a difficult one for me. I would like to be private online and have a small digital footprint, but at the same time, my natural way is to be open and chatty, so I wonder, how do I manage this online, and with what consequences? Especially when the big companies (Facebook) sell my data to advertisers… not so private anymore, huh?! I read a post on the Big Bible website today which really made me think, and touched on one of my deep-seated, greatest fears:

 Anything we say online can be stored, captured and almost guaranteed to haunt us later.

If anything makes me wish to be incredibly discreet, there it is in black and white. Being a natural worrier makes this fear worse.I do like the practical suggestion in this post that we should type, or read twice what we have written before we share it online.

Talking of being careful what I share, I don’t want to change my relationship status on Facebook. as I don’t believe the mantra that ‘it’s not official till it’s on Facebook!! However, being a blogger who shares memoir type anecdotes and the like, I probably have shared a great deal online just through this very blog. I am ashamed to say, I don’t really know just how much about me and my life is ‘out there’.

There is a great deal stored about me on computer in general, given the state of my health. A few years ago, a computer in a hospital which may have contained some of my information was stolen. No matter how much security is in place, these things will happen.

And what about ‘identity fraud’? Surely the internet has made this far easier. I guess the more you share the more can be stolen increasing the greater the risk of this? You see, the list of potential worries is endless. It won’t stop me writing my blog. I do try to not ‘overshare’ in this blog about others involved in my life, such as my parents as it wouldn’t be fair. I try to protect their privacy though I am not necessarily good at protecting my own. I would welcome your thoughts on this!

Another Tablet?! No thanks…

Yesterday’s daily prompt is a simple question:

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Answer: NO!!

Here’s why…

  1. For starters, I take so many pills anyway that I wouldn’t want to take any more unless strictly necessary.
  2. I PROPER LOVE my food. I love choosing it, unless excessively tired, I love eating it, and I often love preparing it, again depending on how tired I am.
  3. I would miss the taste of so many things; melting chocolate, freshly baked bread, toast dripping with melting butter, roast chicken, garlic bread, most forms of desert I can think of. I could go on…!
  4. I would miss the occasion of a meal out, or a meal someone else has cooked for me as everything tastes better when you didn’t have to cook it yourself!
  5. Some years ago, I had to have a huge operation, before which the surgeon and his team were considering inserting a feeding tube as they didn’t know if i would be able to cope with food. Having had to consider it, and avoiding it, I never want to take food for granted again.
  6. I can see that, for busy people, an option of a meal replacement tablet might be highly desirable as it would optimise the rest of their time. Perhaps something like that is possible in my life-time. However, for me, it would take a way a significant part of my life. I do a lot of my socialising with coffee and a biscuit or a slice of cake in front of me, with two forks, so myself and a friend can have half each. Somehow it doesn’t feel quite so fattening that way!

Over to you:

If you could take a meal-replacement tablet, would you do it? If so, why, or why not?

 

Zoning out…

A recent ‘daily prompt’ asks about getting ‘lost’ in activities. My favourite hobbies are baking, reading or card-making, and I can easily get lost in any of these. For me, it is about occupying my time in a productive way, but also allows me to forget about the ‘daily-ness’ of my life for a while. For the most part each day is the same, unless I have any appointments at the doctor or the hospital, or physiotherapy. Even these are ‘routine’ to me though as I have done them so often. I am a young ‘old-pro’. I crave variety and spontaneity. Having hobbies is one simple way of trying to vary my day as much as possible. Of course, having care/assistance to go out and about is another way of varying my routine, but sometimes, it”s not quite the same, as it can remind me of the very situation I can need to escape from. For me, this is the whole point of being so ‘in the zone’, completely focussed on what I am making or reading. It is ‘headspace’ away from everything, and time for myself, when I can be so used to having others around. Of course, I can be in the zone when i am writing too. In my opinion, this is when I have written some of my best posts, or articles, depending on what I am writing for.  What is your favourite way to escape from routine for a while? Knitting seems to be very popular these days! I’ve tried, but I am left-handed, and lack the necessary co-ordination. Just have to leave it to those who excel in it. I forget what covering objects in woollen creatures is called, so I am off to google it!!

coffee, stink bombs and aftershave…

Today’s prompt reminds me of situations I have sometimes been in. (Girls, I am sure some of you can identify with this!!) You are so completely focused on the other person that some of your senses are heightened and others dulled… how the person smells, how it feels when they hug you or you hug them… If the other person suddenly speaks it’s a jolt back to reality and I may not realise what they said or even that they spoke!!

English: Uploaded by Moon Costumes, http://www...
English: Uploaded by Moon Costumes, http://www.mooncostumes.com/zoom/8092, Photograph of a widely distributed gag stink bomb, package and example of breakable enclosure. The picture is of a brandless generic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always found smell particularly evocative. Aftershave, deodorant  perfume, baking, coffee, the smell of a meal being prepared, or conversely  the smell of stink bomb in a lift recently transported me back to my school days in an instant!

All of that said, I don’t think I smelled anything in particular this morning when I first woke up. First sound I heard was the shrill monotone of the intercom indicating my carer was outside needing  let into my flat. This was what I first touched as well, this morning, First sight would have been either the picture on the far wall of my room, or the photograph on the same wall as the intercom. First taste was the yogurt my carer brought me when I stirred my tablets into to make them much easier to take.

I don’t know that I would want to have one of these senses dulled temporarily or permanently. The very idea of  taking a potion stirs up memories of Disney films, though annoying, I am unsure which I am thinking of in particular  I have met enough people who have to permanently live with much less than full sight, or none in some cases, not to want my sight to be dulled. Being a wheelchair user, especially if I am sitting in my ‘little’ chair, I often cannot hear what others are saying, and they cannot usually hear me, despite how much of an attempt I make at projecting my voice, or the other person has to stoop in order to hear me. Alternatively  my hearing is often heightened if there is a sudden loud noise such as two plates banging together or a balloon pops it can make me jump clean into the air. This is often highly embarrassing  Touch too, can either make me jump or spasm, or I may do this without even being touched!

Perhaps if i could not taste properly though, there would not be the same temptation to comfort eat!! Imagine if this could be manufactured and marketed; I might make my fortune! It is an interesting question. Over to you: if you were offered a potion which would dull one of your senses to heighten others, which would you chose?

Ever-lasting Joy

Today’s ‘Daily’ Prompt’ is as follows:

We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?

The short answer to this question is that I have no idea, at all. I hardly ever cry in joy, just because I don’t think of myself as a ‘crier’. I didn’t cry at my friend’s wedding recently. or even my brother’s wedding last year. My heart was soaring with happiness that they had both found lifelong partners they adore, but it does not move me to tears.

It will sound daft, but I’ve had some tweets recently that have caused me to feel thankful, even grateful,as these things were evidence the Lord is using my writing to bring Glory to Himself, which beings me deep down joy. To my mind, this kind of quiet joyfulness is somehow steadier and sweeter. Not a passing moment of joy but a deep down lasting happiness, that pervades everything. The kind of happiness that a relationship with Jesus brings. Knowing I don’t have to face everything alone. Times when I do silly things like have freak accidents with wheelchairs, I can be thankful, even joyful that it was not worse. It also enables me to see the funny side of very tough situations, like the front wheel of my electric wheelchair ending up in the shoe rack (don’t ask!! I don’t know either). This kind of quiet joyfulness is cultivated one day at a time as I learn to trust God that He can see the bigger picture, and can do more than I could ask or imagine. One day, I will know the greatest joy, ‘perfect peace, earthly pain finally will cease’ say the words from Tim Hughes version of “Happy Day”. I can be joyful because I can trust that God that this is true, one day I will be in Heaven with Jesus and I will know lasting joy. Until then, I will continue to try to find laughter in the mundane and happiness in the lasting things, and joy as I wheel beside Jesus on the path he has set before me.

last week, musically speaking

This morning contained a fair bit of music, between the radio breakfast show I listened to, the band practice I heard before church, and the various worship songs I attempted  to sing along with. My afternoon only contained a little bit of music,  by comparison. This evening, here’s my personal response to today’s daily prompt. All of these videos, except the 5th one, applied to each day last week in different doses. On Friday there was relief, the day on which the final video applies. I felt, through the week, as though I were searching, and that day, peace finally came, or rather, I allowed myself to be at peace. Rather than giving my burdens up and snatching them back again, that is!
 

Here’s to a new week! 🙂