how would you answer these?

Yesterday’s daily prompt was as follows: On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses? What is your favorite word? onomatopoeia What is your least favorite word? twerking What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? anything that inspires me to write. Could be […]

Rate this:

Less Super Stylish, More Carefully Selected, and Comfortably Attired….

Daily Prompt from 4th October:

How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

Goodness, this is such a big question for me! In terms of personal style, other people, especially friends, often tell me they like what I’ve chosen to wear that day, or ask me where I buy my clothes. I’ve come to prefer buying most of my clothes from George at Asda because if I choose what I buy carefully, I can get really lovely things for a reasonably friendly price. There is a smallish local store near where I live, which saves a lot of energy I don’t have, and I can try things on at home. Clothes shopping can take me hours, by the time a carer and I get into Leeds, find things suitable for me, try things on, get transport home… Everything takes longer from a wheelchair, at least in my case, and all the effort I expend often ramps up my pain levels considerably (pun intended!) I’ve developed my own personal style over the last couple of years, which makes it easier to choose what to buy, but much harder to find things, as I have developed a list of criteria when buying clothes. If I do not stick to these, it just causes problems. It’s easy to see why when you see how long my list of criteria is!!

Tops: be it a t-shirt, cardigan, or sweater, they must be longer, otherwise they ride up my back when I sit in my wheelchair, which is unsightly for others, and uncomfortable for me. It also causes pain and discomfort in hands, fingers and arms if I have to attempt to sort something like that all day long. If a top is longer, it hopefully covers the waistband of whichever trousers I am wearing, which makes living with the bag more discreet, but also means I cannot tell as easily how full the ileostomy bag is. T-shirts must be baggier to fit well, given I am quite overweight at the moment, and because they look so much better than tighter things when I am sat. Tops with too much stretch can be a problems for this reason but sometimes if I buy them a size or two these can fit lovely and still look much more ladylike than something with no shape

Trousers: my criteria for trouser-buying and the reasons behind them could fill a separate post easily. Preferably, no buttons as I find them so difficult, and painful to use. I’ve had many an accident because I could not manage to work with the trousers in time to make the loo. Trousers with buttons mean there is a lot more pressure on the bag because of where it sits on my tummy, meaning it is so much more likely to burst. For this reason, I really need to find trousers with as much stretch as possible as this puts less pressure on the bag, and is much more comfortable for sitting for long periods of time in my wheelchair.

This means generally only one style of trouser is suitable for me – jogging bottoms. An anathema to style columns in women’s magazines’’’’, as they are oh so fashionable, ubiquitous, and associated with overweight people in general I certainly fall into this particular category. I try to find jogging bottoms with a smooth waistband, as these are less likely to make an impression in the tape surrounding the bag, which is actually very uncomfortable. I have to spend so much time in my wheelchair that weight has gathered around my middle, meaning it is very difficult to find trousers which fit at all. When I can find them, I love when jogging bottoms look smarter like ordinary black trousers for example, like I would wear on a Sunday or out for a meal with friends, or on a date.

If I can find trousers which meet my long list, they are usually just that very thing – too long! They do need to be slightly longer as they would look odd otherwise when I am sat in my chair, However too long and I fall over the trouser legs when going to the bathroom, not just inconvenient, but dangerous given my distinct lack of balance, or co-ordination! Leggings can also be a good option in terms of fit, not riding down, (a big problem because of my weight, and wheelchair using) and are even better if a looser fit and thicker material, which can make them a brilliant option for wearing to weddings or other special occasions with a smart top.

Jackets have to fit a lot of the same criteria as tops, funnily enough, though too long and I end up sat on them which pulls on the material making then very uncomfortable. I have to be careful they are not too tight around the shoulders either, as it can make my shoulders uncomfortable for driving and look unsightly if too tight. Depending on the style, it is very difficult to find jackets that fit because of my weight. Anything with long sleeved. Sleeves which are shorter or can be turned up are much less likely to get in my way when I am driving my wheelchair, much safer and easier to see what I am doing.

Dresses: I cannot ever remember owning a dress in my teens, other than a bridesmaid’s dress, as I disliked them immensely while I was still on my feet… I hated that other people could see my misshapen knees, and was SO self-conscious that other people could see the unconventional way I walked, however, since my last major operation five years ago, dresses have become something of a style savior for me. They need to be longer-line, and stretchy so as not to make my shape unsightly when sat down, and to fit over my stomach without overemphasizing my weight. They also tend to put much less pressure on my ileostomy bag – an absolute bonus. In recent months, thanks to a dear friend, I have discovered White Stuff, a great go to for my occasion wear, precisely because they sell a lot of their clothes in stretchier material, and their clothes tend to be a generous, feminine fit, and pretty to boot, even if on the pricey side, though the last time I bought from them I put birthday money and vouchers together to be able to buy it.

Shoes are another minefield, and have been since I can remember, as they often are for any of my friends with a physical disability. Again, as with trousers my criteria for buying shoes could fill a separate post. What I needed when on my feet is very different now I am in a wheelchair full time. My legs and feet are very swollen because of side-effects of medication and being sat all the time. I find it tough, if not impossible to take my own shoes off, so really need to wait for help to do this, or leaning over my stomach to get to my feet can make the bag on my stomach burst (nice!) I most often wear slipper socks, or Piedero boots with a velcro fastening, as these can often be all that fits.

I found this upsetting for a while, as I have always loved my shoes, and own many more pairs than I can wear, just because I don’t always have things on which need a smart outfit. Many of these shoes no longer fit. I have been known to make completely impractical decisions on occasion when buying shoes, just because I love them. The shoes I recently wore to a dear friend’s wedding were a striking royal blue colour with a suede effect and a small thin heel. My balance can be atrocious even in flat shoes, so I can well remember my Mum’s reaction when she saw with shoes I was planning to wear. This is a common problem for women with a mobility problem – the shoes we need to wear can be completely unsuitable for special occasions, though special occasion shoes can be completely unsuitable. This has caused more than one dilemma over the years!

Confidence enhancing clothes are a combination of all the above, making me feel more comfortable, and less aware of bag, and make it less likely the bag will burst. Then, this makes me relax much more, making me much more confident. Not always fashionable, but hopefully usually stylish. Recently, I went to dear friend’s wedding, and the next day, to the church my parents now attend in Lincolnshire. I chose what to wear very carefully indeed. Thankfully this paid off as there were no issues, making a successful weekend for me!

Today is brought to you by the letter ‘W’!

English: Waves breaking at Acapulco.
English: Waves breaking at Acapulco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s daily prompt couldn’t be simpler. At least it sounds that way! The reality may be different. Let’s see shall we? (Why not have a go yourself?)

Pick a letter, any letter. Now, write a story, poem, or post in which every line starts with that letter.


Worry. Wearying, and wearisome.

Whispering in my ear, ‘what about this, what about that’

‘Why did they say this, why did they say that?’

When will I learn, to listen?

Waves roll, faster and faster as the storm within intensifies.

‘Where are you, Lord?’ I cry.

‘Where I always am, holding your hand’, I hear you say,

Whispering, Be still my child, be still and Know, I AM.

Who, or What am I?

Yesterday’s daily prompt was as follows:

Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person.

My first thoughts were, how great an idea it was, though slightly random. At the same time, I thought what on earth will I pick, and then I had my light-bulb moment.

An incandescent light bulb.

If my story is good enough, you will be able to guess from whose, or what perspective it is written.

Read More »

baking, writing, and banana loaf!!

The daily prompt from the 17/08/10:

Scribble down the first ten words that come to mind.

baking, hoovering, cleaning, ironing. shopping, money, benefits, banana loaf, writing.

Pick three of them as your blog title. Now write!!

My ‘ten words’ are my rather hotch-potch to-do list for Friday, just gone. Not being very together in recent days due to a medication increase, I have to be kind to myself and take things one day at a time, while sleeping lots and trying to handle whatever the day throws at me. It’s fitting that there was a ‘daily prompt’ to match my mood.

I love baking. It is a hobby that lifts my mood, however I am feeling, and there is something delicious to eat at the end of it. It also makes me feel ‘normal’, connects me to the side of the family who bakes, and uses leftovers! What’s not to love?!

On Friday, I made banana loaf, which I have made many times before. It is one of the foods on my ‘snack list’ from my dietician. I adapt it to have half wholemeal, half white flour in and use buttermilk to give it a unique taste. I do follow a recipe to make it though. Today I made soda bread and rock cakes with cranberries instead of raisins, and half a teaspoon of jam in the middle.

I was supposed to do lots of writing to do this weekend, as I think I explained in my previous post. Firstly this blog post, a competition entry for Tearfund’s magazine, a testimony piece, and a blog post for ‘Big Bible’.  Instead, I did lots of sleeping. I wish I could say I felt better for it, but this morning, it took me  a long time to wake up and every part of my body ached. Over the course of the day, it has eased a little, meaning I can get on with the writing, but I may just eat a couple of jammy buns to ease the rest of the aches and pains, and keep me on task!

One of my many skills…

Only writing three times a week now means I have my pick of the ‘daily prompts’. This one is from the 18th, and it goes like this:

What have you been putting off doing? Why?

English: an animated clock
English: an animated clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are all sorts of things I put off doing, and all sorts of reasons for it. On my ‘good’ days I get a few things done, and I have resolved to also do a couple of things on those days which I may have put off. On bad days however, my “shoulda, woulda, coulda” list just gets longer. Things that I think I can put off I do. The trouble is, not being an organised person there is no logical reason things end up on that list, even things that should only take a short time to do. Even on the good days, I never know when I will need a nap. At the moment this is a ‘good’ day, or at least a good morning. I will be exhausted by the afternoon. If I only prioritised things that really needed doing I might be more organised, but I would never get anything done that was just for me. Other days, like yesterday, I fully intended having a writing day, as horse-riding was cancelled. However, I craved company, and sat watching day-time television for several long hours.

This morning, I finally attempted a short story, which I had put off doing, as I genuinely didn’t think my efforts would be any good. The last one I wrote was more than ten years ago in my first year at university. I have other writing projects to attempt. The magazine Tear Times is running a writing competition, and their editor Peter Shaw tweeted me to let me know, and ask if I had seen it, and if I would think about entering. I was very daunted to even begin, and I at this point I have only written a very rough first draft, having forced myself to write something very late one night, having taken several days to think about the brief. I am worrying my entry will not be up to the standard of the others! This is something that plagues me and one of the reasons I put off starting a blog for so long. However, some lovely people have said some lovely things about my writing, so I am beginning to have a little more confidence with it.

I also have a 500-word testimony to write for Christian disability charity Through the Roof which I have put off as the deadline is after the one for ‘Tear Times’. I have a head start on it as I previously wrote a testimony of the same length for Christian Radio Station UCB, which was read out by Mike Rimmer as part of a section called ‘My Story’.

The big project I have really been putting off doing, however is this: For several years, various friends have suggested I write a book. The very idea terrified me. Who would want to read it? Now I have written a blog on and off for a year, and a had a not very subtle push from specific friends, I am beginning to think about it. However, old habits die-hard. I am still tempted to shrink into the background again. Even short blog posts are such an effort most days. However, others who have recently submitted first drafts, or who are currently writing them, have inspired me too. I have yet to decide what style of book it will be. This I do know; that I will write about what I know… and my faith in Jesus will also play a part. Without measures of healing throughout my life, I would not be here. I am on roughly my 7th or 8th chance at life.

While at university, particularly the first time round, my ability to procrastinate was well-known. I was the Queen of Procrastination. To my shame, I admit I submitted some essays late which horrifies me now.A friend once bought me a ‘little book of procrastination!  Were I to start over, I would want to do things completely differently. I would always start each year, or even each semester with that intention, and every semester I would fail spectacularly. Ill health had a part to play in this, as this was round the time hospital admissions began. I was also starting to struggle with my mobility and be in more pain, and it was three years before I sought help from a learning assistant for things like typing, accessing the library and so on. I didn’t think my disability was ‘bad enough’. I did not want to admit to myself how much I was struggling. However, I began to have panic attacks. Eventually I gave in and accepted some help, however, it did not really help with my lack of organisation. Even during my Masters degree I had all the same struggles, despite best intentions to the contrary. Ill health also had a part to play as I got poisoning which put me in isolation in hospital, and exhausted me for months.

However, none of this ever sat easily with me. I read a bible study about procrastination very recently which said Christians have no excuse for putting things off. Even though I know this, it still has a hold over me. Whenever I do manage to complete a ‘To-Do list, or even the majority of one, I do feel a sense of achievement. Failures from the past still haunt me. I think “I managed so and so, but I didn’t manage this, that or the other…”. I have started to use the ‘schedule’ feature on WordPress, so I can write posts one day, but they are not available to you until a couple of days after that.

I hope one day, to  conquer this bad habit of mine, with Jesus help. Until then, however, i will still have my “shoulda woulda, coulda” list. As for when you can expect the book, your guess is as good as mine. You do have my word I will start on the book soon, though just remembered a monthly writing commitment…! Will I ever beat procrastination?!

Mirror, Mirror (2)

Mirror, or vintage iPad (thanks obni)
Mirror (Photo credit: christing-O-)

A comment left underneath the post I wrote about Standing Out Sitting Down said how insightful the post was, which has given me some confidence to attempt this prompt from the 14th August:

Think of your blog as a mirror: what does it reveal? Consider your blog name, theme choice, design, bio, posts… what does every element tell you about yourself?

The title, ‘sat n all that’ was actually thought of by someone else. One of the carers, actually who I don’t see now but they used to have loads of shifts with me. The blog started as a project to take my mind off things round the time I was struggling to adjust to changes in my circumstances, and to give me another purpose to my day. I find it a little easier to think of titles now, but found it impossible in the beginning. The title started off as ‘I may be sat, but I’m all that’, but I felt it wasn’t snappy enough, and wanted to write about more than just being sat in a chair, or only about disability issues. After all, my life is more than these things. My life is not nearly as varied as I would like; ‘special someone’ is no longer on the scene, I am unable to work, and I’ve even had to cut down on the blogging, to keep up with it. However, I have amazing friends, a great church family, and have more interests now, so do still have variety of people of things important to me to write about.

The design started as something else, though I can’t think what it was now. When choosing a theme, I wasn’t really bothered about the aesthetics. I wanted something clear and easy to read, so as wide a range of people could get access to it as possible. As ‘barrier-free’ as it could be without designing a site myself from scratch, as a few friends use screen reading software, and I wanted anyone who read it to be able to get access to it on whatever device they use to  surf the web. That says a lot about me, really. I’m an open, friendly person, and I find a lot of purpose in reaching out to others, in whatever small way. Plus, a lot of disability access is  an afterthought, and not from the outset, and I wanted to think about it from the beginning.

The theme is trickier. I like the idea of being a ‘niche’ blogger, and I guess I am in some ways as I write about disability, or faith, or more often, disability AND faith, together. Both are integral to my life, and intertwined in many ways. My faith in Jesus is central to helping me cope with my challenges, and my challenges deepen my faith. I didn’t want to write narrowly on just one theme, as I lacked the confidence to think I could come up with posts easily enough on just one theme… plus, as I say, I couldn’t really separate the two, so I am much happier with a ‘hybrid’ blog. I think, now the blog is a year old, and though there have been stretches of about a month at a time where I have written little, I am more comfortable with the themes I write about these days.

If you look at the ‘tag cloud’ to the right of a post, the topics I write about most are in bigger letter than subjects I write about less often. At this time, the topic in the largest lettering of all is ‘disability’. I am not entirely comfortable with that, as there are so many bloggers out there with a disability, people who have campaigned for years, advocated for others, been active in politics, and really know their stuff. I feel so intimidated by that because I worry so much that their writing on disability issues is so much more informed than mine, and what right have I to write about it so often when any of them can do a better job?

This is partly a complete lack of confidence, and a desire that if I bother to write at all I want to write informed, quality content; otherwise, what is the point? I guess it is partly about perspective too. It sounds idiotic to point this out, but obviously no two people who live with a disability will have the same views even, on their disability, so it stands to reason both will be able to offer different perspectives. I find it absolutely unbelievable that my most popular posts have been disability related.

The first post to which substantially more people read, and the first shared more widely, was one I wrote at the end of last year, about David Cameron’s speech at 2012’s Party Conference. Specifically, focussing on two little words he used: ‘Compassionate Conservatism. Now, a complete oxymoron…!! This particular post was also (he claims!) read by my MP, – WOW! My most popular post ever, I wrote very recently, about not being able to work, and trying to address the popular thought that if some severely disabled people can work, then why can’t every disabled person do likewise. To my amazement, this post was shared around upwards of 100 times, and has been viewed 400-500 times, at least! I’d never have thought my most popular post would be about these things, rather than something completely personal or something faith-related that I feel I know more about. I suppose I just am ‘myself’ when i write, as much as anyone can be, of course.

Another post read a lot is ‘The days that changed my increasingly complex life.‘ It was the first time I wrote about something really personal, and what I thought and felt about it too. The reaction to it really surprised me, as some people got a lot out of it. Those kind of posts seem to be the ones that really strike a chord with people; again, something that surprised me. It was reasonably natural, though tough, and painful, to write about, as I am very much a ‘heart-on-my-sleeve’ person. In some ways, the people who read this blog have shaped what I write about.

I used to answer more of the ‘daily prompts’ provided by WordPress, as i lacked the confidence, and often the inspiration, to come up with my own topics. This has got easier as time has gone on. Also, given the squeeze on welfare claimants that is about to get so much worse, the stereotypes peddled by the Government, and some sections of the media, and the ‘hot potato’ that is the Welfare State, the topics offer themselves at the moment, and it is also topics that are a big part of my life, whether I want them or not. No benefits, no money, therefore no independent life. As my Mum says, they didn’t bring me up to sit on the sofa for the rest of my life… so I really value the semblance of a life that I do have, and it gives me much more to write about than if I sat on the sofa the majority of the time!!