Well hello

Welcome to the blog of me, Paige Tabone; student, writer, nerd, self-critic, telly-addict and self-confessed Cerebral Palsy-er (or wobbly if you will). It is the latter that has brought me to blogging. Ramming my way through the bullshit stereotypes that surround disability, showing the undiluted truth of someone twenty-two years into living on the often bumpy and unpredictable road against what's seen as 'normal'.

I'm aware you might have just got lost trying to navigate yourself to a hilarious cat video; now you are looking bewildered as you see nether a ominous looking jump or an unwittingly naive cat. Yet whether you find yourself here by purpose, mistake or luck I welcome you and offer you to get yourself comfortable, grab a nice cup of tea or a strong, stiff drink and stay for a bit. You see this isn't a story about some poor, unfortunate girl with a disability; it's simply a story about a girl with a set of tits, a set of tires and a mission to set the disability misconceptions record straight...

Monday, 13 July 2015

Youth in Retrospect

I've realized that up until this point my blogs have been mainly a protest of the hardships of life in a wheelchair and for that my deepest apologies to you. Granted I am a moany cow a lot of the time, just ask those who know me, but let me take this opportunity to take a fresh stance and write about something more uplifting; the beauty of childishness. Life nowadays seems full of mundane responsibilities. Forgotten seem  the days as an uninhibited 3 year old could you run around your garden half naked jumping in mud puddles, ogle in the absolutely unashamed fascination of anything remotely rude (remember the hilarity of boobs and willies?) and laugh so hard snot bubbles appear... and then laugh some more at the slimy volcano erupting out of your nose. Now having the pressure of acting like a functioning adult, any of the above would see you having a visit from the men in white coats sooner than you could spell you own name.

It got me thinking about when I was last truly childish and carefree and it became apparent that being a student is a lot like reverting back to adolescence. Not necessarily running around half naked; though as a note if you do ever find yourself out in Portsmouth on a student night I'm sure that's one of the better things you would see, but the limitlessness and rebellion of youth that is something to relish at university. Student life brings forward the opportunity to experience all those little things you could never do as a child; go to bed when you want, eat what you want, wear what you want and act like a total fool without judgement or repercussions, so naturally you take the opportunity. I have most probably been more childish in my eighteen months of being at university than I have in my whole twenty-two years of life. You’re around people, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or disability where it once again become socially acceptable to laugh so uncontrollably that coffee come out of your nose or turn up to a fancy dress party as a giant banana and it just seems totally normal. This is the time in your life to make mistakes and do all the things you want before the inevitable loom of adult responsibilities befalls you. More importantly, nobody judges you and that's the thing I love about it the most. Despite my guise of self-confidence I can assure you I am anything but and this idea of people judgement is something that has followed me around for years, but at university there is such a vast spectrum of people that I don't feel like the odd one anymore.

There was a moment a few months ago that perfectly sums up the entwining nature of acceptance and juvenility that comes with university life; allow me to indulge you in a little story…

During a break from lectures a few newly found friends and myself decided to venture into town for our mandatory Starbucks (other coffee retailers are available...) when a pigeon walked in front of us with a bagel sitting loosely around his neck liked a plump doughy scarf. This isn’t itself a pivotal point to this story, nevertheless it was brilliantly funny and was only made better by the fact it was bobbing it head it in perfect time to Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ which was booming out from some nearby speakers. It was when someone unexpectedly came up behind me the story had purpose. Now at this point I should say that one undesired side-effect to Cerebral Palsy is involuntary startle reflex to any sudden noises or movements. So, this sudden appearance of a total stranger behind me resulted in my latte being projected all over me and the already unfortunate pigeon.

Out of everything my disability affects this is the worst for me and the route of most of my discomfort and embarrassment involving my disability. I could feel myself blushing scarlet waiting for the subsequent mocking laughter.

All I heard was silence. No mocking, no laughing not even a stifled giggle. I looked up and now-one cared, my friends just brushed if off and started reeling in all the embarrassing things they had done. It was the first time I had felt accepted and so incredibly normal. Not Paige, the girl in the wheelchair or Paige, the girl who jumps a ridiculous things, just Paige. It was a moment of clarity. We were all now experiencing a rare period in our lives where we could be accepted for who we really are.

So if I'm saying anything from this rambling catastrophe of a blog post it’s that this week I don't give a fuck.  Like my rhythmic gamey chum I'm going to dance uninhibitedly and bring a bit of my childhood back into my adulthood. From now I urge you all embrace it. Don't be ashamed to laugh uncontrollably, make stupid mistakes say wrong and inappropriate things. What's more if you feel like pretending to be a fairy princess for the day then damn well do it; and boys that applies to you to...

With that I leave you with two things. One, the empowerment to seize your inner child and two a clip that brings back my own childhood... Click Here and go on, I know you want to play along...