Welcome to the blog

Right where do I begin…. I’ve had blogs in the past but have never kept up with them. But this time I’m going to try: A to keep up with the blogging and B to not get bored of it and leave.

As I said at the start where do I begin!? Well for starters the name of the blog. ‘The one arm wonder’ For those who know me will guess why I’ve gone for that name. but for those who don’t. I have one arm and so I’m a disabled adult, however that hasn’t stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do, which you will find out in future blogs. I want people to understand that most disabled people can lead ‘normal’ lives I know I am.

Anyway that’s enough for now.

One arm wonder signing off

Ps. I’m also a big theatre fan so you may see blogs about my theatre adventures.. this was Dick Whittington the panto at the London Palladium

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#blurtselfcareathon Day 7 – Learn

Everyday is a day where we learn something new, from watching a tv programme, to reading a book we are all learning everyday. Whether we know it or not. Babies are learning new things as soon as they are a few weeks old.

When I was a baby and was born with my arm missing everyone was worried at how I would cope in life. After a few weeks being at home my mum was holding a rattle over my pushchair and rather then me take it off her with my hand. I automatically took it off her with my foot, and started rattling it with my foot. that was the day my parents knew I would be able to cope in life. Growing up I learnt more and more at how to pick things up with my feet, draw and write with my feet and play video games with my feet.

I love to learn I have to be honest I didn’t find it fun learning listening to a teacher during school. But that’s because I prefer learning by doing something or reading up the subject myself at my own pace. For instance at my volunteering job I have I got asked to send a document out to various emails using a programme that we have to use, at first I didn’t have a clue how to send this document that was emailed out to me, but rather then asking someone to show me I sat with the programmes handbook and worked it out for myself at my own pace and by me doing it that way I know now what I have to do whenever I get asked.

Ok I probably won’t be like Albert Einstein or any of the greatest scientists who have ever lived, but who knows what the future holds. I say as long as you have subject you want to learn more about then go for it. There are more people these learning and inventing new projects and ideas that we may know about and most probably use in the future. I hope someone invents items that can help more disabled people also that someone learns to invent different cures that will help people who are suffering with different illnesses.

As I’ve gotten older I love learning about the Tudor’s, I think I have read most books and watched tv documentary’s related to that period. Sometimes I find that half the books I read tend to repeat the same things that I already know but it doesn’t stop me from re-learning about that period of history. Now I actually know more about the period then my parents do and we do tend to have little debates and conversations about the Tudor period mostly where they ask me questions. (Sometimes hoping I’d get them wrong but I hardly don’t. Although a few times I’ve had to be corrected) and I’d answer them.

Like I said at the start we learn something new everyday and we won’t ever stop.

#Blurtselfcareathon Day 5 and 6

So yesterday was a bit of a busy busy day, I didn’t get chance to sit down and write a new blog post for yesterday so here is yesterdays and today’s blogs.

Enjoy!

Day 5 – Outside 

Normally i’m hardly ever outside when i’m at home, it has to be really warm for me to step outdoors. I think because my body’s smaller then other people’s i feel the cold more then they do.

However I do go out to various places outside and I thought rather then talking about the places i’ve been to I thought i’d show you,

see below of photos that i’ve taken on my adventures in the great outdoors.

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St Ives in Cornwall
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Tenerife, my favourite holiday destination
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Sunset in tenerife
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Buckingham Palace, London
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Big Ben, London
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Victory war ship, Portsmouth Dock
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Stratford upon avon

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Tower bridge, London
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Shakespheare birthplace
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Shakespheare birthplace
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Falmouth, Cornwall
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Boat trip, Portsmouth Docks
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Shakespeare’s Globe, London

Day 6 – Support 

I’m going to dedicate this little post to my family as they are the ones who have supported helped with my personal needs me throughout my life.

Through my ups and downs they are the ones who have been there for me and have allowed me to become the person I am today. If it wasn’t for them then I don’t think I’d be the same person I am.

When people are staring at me they stare back and glare at whoever is looking at me to make sure that person doesn’t look at me anymore. (I manage that now on my own by smiling and it works)

Ok we have our arguments and disagreements but isn’t that like all families. We always put the disagreements behind us and start fresh.

So yeah short post but it’s meaningful to me.

#Blurtselfcareathon Day 4 – Snuggle

As i’m typing this I am actually snuggled up in bed with my laptop on my lap, I know I should be doing something productive but my mind has other ideas and it just wants to stay in bed whilst listening to Heart FM, plus the weather today isn’t helping as its very overcast. and thats just boring. Thank god for the music on the radio.

Anyway about snuggling.

During the winter cold months when the nights grow dark early there is nothing better then I like doing and that is to snuggle down under my bed covers to keep warm and watch tv.

Ever since I had my bedroom re-decorated my room during winter I would say is probably the coldest bedroom during winter even though I have the heating on full blast, it can never seem to keep the heat. Sometimes I do end up getting my electric heated  pillow out just to help me keep warm, as sometimes my bed is like ice.

But I can’t win in my room as when the summer months come round my room becomes the hottest room and I need to have the windows open or my air con on during the night to help me sleep..

Sometimes I wish that I had a pet dog to snuggle down with, I see friends pictures on Facebook or Instagram of them snuggling down with there pets. If I could have a pet i would have a pet dog as i love them, i am an animal lover by heart but dogs are higher up then other animals.

Once or twice a week I will snuggle down with a family member’s next door neighbours dog who I absolutely adore, I’ve known him since he was a puppy. The days when I see him he comes up to me and literally sits beside me, If I’m stressed then he is my stress reliever as he will just sit by me and let me stroke him for as long as I want, sometimes if I stop stroking him he will turn round and look at me as if to say carry on i’m enjoying this.

So there we go another blog a day done, if you want to get involved with the #Blurtselfcareathon, then have a go it doesn’t matter if your late at starting it give it a go.

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#Blurtselfcareathon

I’ve pinched this from another blog but it’s something that looked fun and challenging so I thought why not!?

What is it?

The #blurtselfcareathon is a self care blog everyday by The Blurt foundation. The foundation itself is a social enterprise dedicated to helping those affected by depression. Or more information about the foundation click the above image. I myself don’t suffer with depression or mental health. however a lot of people do and they are suffering in silence and fighting a battle within them. Just recently whilst watching ITV ‘This Morning’ they unveiled project 84. 84 sculptures of 84 men who all have committed suicide.

84 men who suffered in silence who thought the best option was to end their lives. It’s heartbreaking to think families of those people are still suffering from their losses. Some are angry asking themselves why did they do it. For more information about the project can be found here. It struck a chord with me just seeing the sculptures on tv and it made me think we need to talk more about depression and mental health not just in men but women as well and also in schools as nowadays kids are pushed to the limit of trying to get the best grades they possibly can for there futures rather then being allowed the time to be just kids and for them to enjoy their school lives. I myself was slightly pushed during my school life to reach the grades I was targeted at but some of the targets I was set I didn’t get but that never stopped me from going to college and then earning my degree at university.

My university didn’t look at my school grades much hung my interview they were more interested in my portfolio of what things I had learnt during college and that was how I managed to get a unconditional offer the day of my interview. I can still remember vividly the lecturer coming out the room that I’d just had my interview in, and saying that was going to send an email to UCAS to give me a unconditional offer and that was it I was accepted into university.  I don’t believe school grades matter as long as you show that your eager to learn the subject you are applying for and that you show enthusiasm to being there.

Anyway…. back to the start of the blog. I’m behind on the #blurtselfcareathon so i’m going to cram three days into one blog so here goes.

Day 1 10 things about me?

1.  I‘m disabled

If you have already been reading my blog then you will already know this, if you haven’t then I suggest you go back and read some of my previous blogs. I’m a disabled person and proud of it.

2. I‘m obsessed with disney

I blame the parents for letting me watch hours and hours of disney films, and then sky tv box decided to have a channel dedicated to disney films so that is practically on all the time, I also have an obsession with disney mugs from the disney store if I had room for them I would buy them. As the saying goes you’re never to old for Disney.

3. I have Scoliosis  

Ever since I can remember from a young age I knew my spine was becoming different. Scoliosis is when your spine curves some people get it mildly others it can be worse and be painful. By the time I was 16 my spine had curved 90% and it was on the brink of snapping. If it had snapped I would’ve been left paralysed from the waist down. I underwent a massive 7 and a half operation on it and now have metal rods in my back. But I did have a operation before that which I’m going to go into more detail in another blog.

4. I’m scared of the dark!

Ok it’s babyish i’m 26 soon to be 27 and i’m scared of the dark. I don’t know where its come from as I used to sleep with the lights off when I was much younger but now I can’t, whenever i’m in the dark I feel like

someones going to come up behind me, even in my own house when I know I’m safe and nothings going to get me. I still have to put the lights on to go into a room. Even if i’m staying with a friend in a hotel I still have to leave the bathroom light on and the door ajar just so there’s a bit of light in the room. One day I hope to break out this fear but until now its lights on.

5. I can never stop buying books even though I have loads to read already.

The title says it all. I should be called Matilda Wormwood. Yes I’m always reading something, but there are so many books on my kindle device that I haven’t got round to reading, however I always buy more on amazon and keep adding to the collection. Damn you Amazon and your 99p deals on books.

6. I’m not a talker in big groups.

When there’s a big group of people sat around me I don’t tend to speak as I think I will come out with something that will make myself look stupid in front of everyone, I usually sit and listen to whats being said by others. I prefer talking to people one to one or in a group where theres only three people around.

7. I have a car with no steering wheel.

Again another blog I need to write about, the title is true. My car was specially adapted for me. All I have to steer is a metal rod that is by the side of me. Peoples faces sometimes when waiting in a queue of cars, they glance over and then they have to look again. I can see it exactly what there thinking how on earth can I be driving with no steering wheel.

8. I can live on pasta and rice.

If I could eat pasta or rice all the time then I would easily and happily. I probably prefer pasta to rice though. During university I think I ate so much pasta (I brought myself one of those massive bags of penne pasta that lasted me both my first and second year) I seriously would be happy to live off a bowl of pasta smothered in domino Tomato and basil sauce.

9. I am a hoarder of memories

memories mean everything to me. In my loft at home I have a case which is full of school things that I’ve kept. Then I have a box full of my university stuff that I could go through and throw some of the stuff away that I don’t need, but I haven’t as it’s memories to me. I even have random videos on my laptop drive of videos I’ve recorded from college, uni, everything. To me it’s all memories.

10. I’m a bit of a history geek

During my through my school years I loved history mostly learning about Both World Wars, the Victorian period and Tudor England. During a parents evening in high school I was told I should take it up for my GCSE. that was such a bad decision. I sometimes wish I had never took it. The subject of my GCSE paper was medicine through time. I was having to learn about injections and medicines which used to make me feel ill as I was learning these things only a few months after I had come out of hospital after my operation where so I had injections and medication, and I didn’t fancy learning about it. I ended disliking history at that point. In the end earned a G grade in the test. Moving to now I have re kindled my love of history on two subjects the world wars and the Tudor’s. (Mostly the Tudor’s) Any books fiction or non fiction about the Tudor period I will happily read, the same goes for tv shows if it’s about the Tudor period then I will watch it. I find that period of time fascinating.

There we have it 10 things about me

Right next….

Day Two – Obstacles

In my life I have faced so many obstacles, some I have managed to overcome others I’m still working on achieving. I think my biggest obstacle was knowing I was moving into my university flat and having to learn to live on my own without my parents support. Throughout my life I have needed support with personal needs and it’s always been my family that have helped me. So to go from having my parents support to having to trust others to help me who I had to get used to and them me. The lead up to moving to university I was getting nervous and thinking had I made the right decision. Something was trying to stop me going but I went.

Being at university helped me so much, I found my independence of looking after myself, learning to adapt to doing household chores, washing and sometimes cooking on my own. I know everyone goes through the same thing when they go to university, but for me being a disabled person this was a massive change to my life. The one day during my first year I was sat in a lecture writing down notes and it hit me, I was at university an hour and a half away from home, I was doing this on my own. It was both a odd feeling but an amazing one at the same time. It’s hard to describe. On graduation day when I walked across the stage. I kept thinking I’ve done it. I had overcome one of my the biggest obstacles living and getting through university on my own.

Day Three – Boost

Whenever I’m having a crappy bad day and I need some sort of a boost. My cure is to stop whatever it is I’m doing, make myself a cup of tea in one of my favourite mugs, a cup of tea for me always makes things better. Then I usually if I’m at home put on an episode of BBC’s Merlin that I have stored on my skybox (even though I’ve watched the series so many times I know what happens during the episodes. It’s still one of my all time favourite series) Also if I’m out and about and I need a boost I will put my earphones in and play my feel good playlist on my phone. Seriously always make sure you have a playlist full of uplifting feel good tunes that you love. On my list I have so many 90s cheesy pop (it helps). Those are my things that give me a boost And make my days better. Let me know yours in the comments below.

So there we go three days of blogs in one, fingers crossed I can do this, some blogs might be long, others short but it’s a challenge I’ve accepted.

One arm wonder signing out.

I’m a monkey….

I will explain the title in a minute. But first…

A couple of weeks ago I had a well needed catch up with one of my best friends who I’ve known since high school. We first met in the playground on the first day of school way back in 2006. All we did at first was walk past each other saying hi. It wasn’t until we found out we both had French and Spanish lessons together and that we were set next to each other that we started to get to know one another. From there the friendship began. Ok throughout school we had our ups and downs but what friendship doesn’t, luckily we’ve managed to keep our friendship and become closer then ever. Also my friend has two amazing beautiful children who I absolutely adore. Both of her kids call me auntie.

Now back to the title I was with my friend doing the school run which I don’t normally do as I like to stay at hers and wait for them to come back. (Will explain below) her youngest child walked out of school shouted my name as he was happy to see me and then stopped and looked at me then said, where’s your other arm? Now my friend was mortified but I just said don’t worry as he will come to understand just like her eldest did when she was younger. Her eldest had asked the same question when she was 3 years old and I explained then that I didn’t have one but I was just the same as her. After that she didn’t question it and now she sees me as me. (she does like to try and copy me when I’m using my feet and also likes to walk around the house in my shoes).

But we had to explain to her youngest that I only have one arm. At first he was saying things like I have two hands you have one why? Which I didn’t mind as I knew he’ll grow to understand in his own way. Then we explained that the things he can do with his hands like play on his iPad. And turn lights on and off I can do the same but with my feet. That is when he started asking can I eat cereals with my feet to which I replied yes. Then can I peel and eat a banana with my feet. I replied yes. That is when he turned round and said so you’re like a monkey. I just said yes I’m like a monkey as I thought if it helps him understand then I’m happy for him to think that.

To be honest I’m glad he asked me and had me explain things rather then point and stare which is what some kids tend to do if they see me. Some kids are fine they will look, see me and smile and then look away. Others will, stop. stare. point and even follow me around just looking at me. I’ve had few kids do that in some shops it does get a bit annoying. This is the reason why I don’t like going to pick my friends kids up from there school. Sometimes adults can be just as bad as the kids.

The worst thing ever to happen was when I was in Oxford and there were a few kids on a foreign school trip. I was in a room in a museum and they were in there as well, whilst I was looking at items in a cabinet I could see them looking at me. They were pointing, staring and nudging there friends to do the same and wherever I walked they followed. Then I turned round and noticed one of them was taking pictures of me. Luckily I think I moved so the picture probably came out blurred but still it put me off from going back to Oxford, haven’t been back since probably will but not when it’s during summer and school holidays.

I’d rather people who see me and want to know where my other arm is, to just ask me. I will happily explain that I’m just the same but unique in my own way and that my feet are like my second pair of hands but that’s another blog post.

One arm wonder signing off.

Another Closing, Another Show

 So haven’t posted in over a week!

Reasons… there is only one TIREDNESS!

Whenever I’m doing a show week, I always without fail towards the end of the week’s run become absolutely exhausted, but can i sleep at night NOPE, my mind never wants to shut off when I’m in bed it alway’s thinks of different things, things I never seem to think of during the day only at night. So I end up going to sleep sometimes at 3AM and then having to wake up at 7:45AM most mornings. It can be no fun running on 5 hours sleep during the day then working on a show during the evening. (no sound cues were by my lack of sleep)

Anyway last Saturday night was the last night of the production I’ve working on for the last few weeks and while i’m happy to have my evenings free’d up once again (until the next play’s rehearsals kick off and then it’s back to the theatre). I’m always sad that another play has come to an end, I do find myself sometimes after a few day’s have passed, wishing I could go back and do the show all over again. Probably because I always miss the people I’ve been working alongside and that the theatre and the people there are like a another family.

The play that finished Saturday ‘Dangerous Obsession’ was enjoyable to work on even though it wasn’t a comedy genre. But we did receive 5 stars!!!! I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed the play so much is the group, there were only three people in the cast and only a few of us in the crew. this made the group nice and small, meaning we were able to sit and talk to one another together, unlike some play’s where there can be up to 10-15 people in a group so you can’t really sit and have a chat altogether.

Now it’s back to reality… Food shopping, family appointments and office work! the joy’s.

One arm wonder over and out

Link below is the play’s review:

http://www.behindthearras.com/reviewsam/2018/reviewsAMjan-mar18/dangerous-obsession-review-NO02-18.html Continue reading “Another Closing, Another Show”

What do I do?

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Most people use their hands to control a computer. Me?! I use my foot. I have been known to ‘karate chop’ the space bar. But hey I’ve never broken it so all is good. I also control the mouse with my foot as well. People who are new at the theatre always find it amazing to watch someone work a computer with their foot.

So what I do? For two days a week a volunteer in an office for a heritage steam railway, i love going to the office and the railway itself. Plus being able to walk down onto the platform during a warm sunny day and to just sit and watch a train either coming in to the station or just leaving. There is something about hearing a whistle and smelling the steam as it passes you by.

The Theatre

Three evenings a week however you will find me at the local theatre where i volunteer as a sound technician. The theatre itself is run by volunteers and this year marks four years since i started and frankly i don’t see myself leaving any time soon. i have met and made so many new friends and still am really. i’ve also had the pleasure of hearing a piece of music i used when the theatre performed ‘The Merchant of Venice’ played out on the RSC’S Swan stage, that was something i had to pinch myself and tell myself i wasn’t dreaming.

I don’t work on every show in the theatre’s season but since starting there i’ve worked on 14 shows. 13 as a sound technician and one where i tried my hand at props, which was fun, challenging and different to do, but i prefer doing my sound design and sitting in the ‘Techbox’ (best seat in the house, as it’s at the back of where the audience sit)

Hope that gives a bit of an insight into what i do, i will try and write a mini blog series on the process of doing a show from the very beginning of rehearsals to the last rehearsal and performance week.

But for now one arm wonder signing off.

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See what i mean best seat in the house, Apologies about the blurriness only picture i have.

It’s okay to not be okay

I had already planned what this blog was going to contain but I’ll re-write that in a future blog. This week has been a little stressful and a bit worrying to say the least. I however managed to bottle everything that was worrying me and stressing me out and tried to keep the cheery persona that tell people things are fine and that nothings the matter.

However one night this week I kind of failed to keep up that cheery persona, I just wanted to be alone and not sit with a group of people during our tea break who I love to be with and also my mind wasn’t really focusing on the task I was doing I managed to get by and do the task but wasn’t really with it, but also a good thing came out of that same night I finally told someone what’s been worrying me and letting pull me down and to be honest i felt so much better after, sometimes voicing whatever is wrong to someone you trust is the right thing to do and to not bottle things up.

After I had a bit of a chat I started thinking why I hadn’t confided in someone earlier. It made me think of a video I watched a long time ago (I will link it below) from Carrie Hope Fletcher who is a youtube vlogger i have followed for a few years. In the video she talks about how its hard sometimes to voice to someone that your not okay and that things are not going good in your life, but once you do it’s a good feeling and it makes you stronger person.

What she also talks about in the video i can relate to as well. She talks about how when she was growing up she never used to ask for help even when she was struggling as she saw that as a sign of weakness, she felt that she needed to do things to prove to herself and to others that she could do it and that’s how i feel sometimes when i need help with things but don’t want to ask for it. I’ve always felt that by asking for help in doing certain physical tasks or asking a question, i’m letting A my disability beat me to achieving the task i need to do, and B if i don’t know something and others do, i would look dumb and stupid. (even in school i never used to ask for help in front of the class or even put my hand up to answer questions as i didn’t want to give the wrong answers and look stupid in front of the class)

Anyway the moral of this post is whenever things are bad in your life and you feel you don’t have the strength to push through, tell someone don’t bottle it up and let it get on top of you. there are people who are there for you and who will just listen.

And remember it’s okay to not be okay