Tag Archives: self-respect

Disability is not a Time Capsule

I interrupt this ignorant transmission to deliver an important public service announcement: I realise I have a disability but I’m not Peter Pan, I have grown up!

  

Ok, I am the height of an average ten-year-old so possibly that has thrown you but let me make this very clear.

 

My life as a disabled child was very confusing.  Most of my extended family refuse to acknowledge the fact that I had a disability, (apparently this was just too embarrassing). 

 

I remember one day sitting on the floor watching TV when suddenly my uncle appeared in front of me angry that I had ignored him. Apparently, he had been trying to get my attention, but as he was standing on my left (aka deaf) side and I was facing the TV, I didn’t notice him.  When I told him this, adding that this was part of my disability I was subjected to a lengthy telling off.   Actually, I was not disabled, just very rude.

 

Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I was never allowed to admit that I had a disability. But, I was never allowed to do what the other kids did because, “don’t you realise you can’t?”  Not surprisingly I developed an identity crisis and severe depression.

 

As I got older, this did not improve. In my late teens and early 20s (even though I was almost completely self-sufficient) I was still being treated like a toddler.

 

On one family occasion, I remember we were all eating roasted chestnuts. A different uncle was feeding said chestnuts to his toddler grandsons by inserting them directly into each child’s mouth one after the other.  Then next thing I know the same slobber-laden fingers were in my mouth too.  EWWWWW! 

 

I pulled away and told him I didn’t want any. But he could not understand why what he had done was inappropriate (I was 24). I struggled with this issue for many years. In the end, I realised that you can’t argue with stupid, and in order to preserve any remnants of my self-confidence I cut all ties with this side of the family.

 

A lot of people (myself included) suffered because of this decision and I felt a lot of guilt. But I have no regrets. I did what was the best for me for once. I know this was my family, and in their eyes, they were helping.  But this is not a good enough reason as it made me feel belittled and inadequate.

 

The problem wasn’t so much what they were doing but rather their disregard and lack of respect for me as a person. My dignity was never taken into account.

 

No one has the right to make you feel bad no matter what relationship they are to you. Your self-esteem and sense of self-worth are precious.  Guard them with your life. 

 

It is a big thing to cut ties with someone though, especially if they are family.  So, if possible, try and explain to them why what they are doing is causing you so much anguish. Sometimes, it will help and the problem will resolve itself. 

 

But if it doesn’t, know that you are not alone. I understand.

 

XOXO 

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Nina the Narcissist: The World’s Best Abseiler

nina abseil April 2017

A year ago today I attempted my first abseil down the QV1 building in the Perth CBD.  A week ago today I tried it again. What a difference a year makes!

 Long story short (a first for me I know) this time, I actually did it.

 I had everything going for me on this attempt.  I had a super supportive instructor in Rob (I have never met anyone so encouraging. I am thinking of hiring him to follow me around all the time now). Miraculously I was feeling well (despite being unwell with suspected kidney stones just days before). And the weather was good.

 I had been planning this attempt in my head all week, determined to do it all by myself this time.  That was my measure of success.

 In my mind, last year I failed. Not that anyone else thought so though.  I kept being told, “you stepped off the top, that’s more than I could do.” But that wasn’t enough.

 What people don’t understand is, I don’t do things to impress them. I do these things to prove to myself that I can.

 Although this can’t be strictly true. otherwise I wouldn’t brag about it on my social media channels (did I mention my blog has its own Facebook page?). 

 I have just realised that I posted my “success” photo almost immediately after. Mentioning that it only took me less than five minutes (The time is still a subject of debate) and that I did it completely by myself.

But I neglected to mention (or thank) the people who donated to my cause which allowed me to qualify for the abseil in the first place

 I completely forgot about the reason I was doing the abseil to begin with. 

 Oh my god!  Am I a narcissist? It’s probably narcissistic to ask that.

 By the way, thank you to everyone who so generously donated to my fundraising for the Perth Children’s Hospital. I am very proud to announce that with your help  I raised almost $1,000. 

 Thank you especially to Revolution Pilates who allowed me to post a begging flyer on the wall of the studio. 

 The problem is, I am so used to being congratulated for wiping my own bottom that when I actually do something worthwhile I can’t help but brag.  And even worse than that, I get a kick out of it.

 Dear God, help me, I’m Donald Trump!

 Ironically, by putting this down on paper I am going to get (having said it, it would be very embarrassing if I didn’t) people leaping to my defence. And the cycle continues…  Aargh! 

 Where is the line? On the one hand, isn’t pride one of the seven deadly sins? But on the other hand, if you don’t respect yourself enough to be proud of your own achievements then you are effectively sending out a product that (at least to you) is below par.  That’s not being respectful to others. You wouldn’t deliberately give someone a rotten apple, would you?

 My head hurts!

 Oh screw it! The fact is I did actually did it (Come on, you didn’t think I wasn’t going to brag a little bit did you?).

 I did cheat a bit though. I can’t even walk 160 m in less than half an hour. How on earth did you expect me to be able to abseil that far in under five? Without falling that is.

 I had to admit that my legs were pretty useless. So I abseiled with my hands.  No, I didn’t do a handstand all the way down.  I simply sat back in my harness and lowered myself hand over hand with the rope (I  think that’s how people in wheelchairs do it). It proved to be quite effective. I’m thinking of getting around that way all the time now.

 I was quite thankful that I am a girl though, if you get my drift.

When I got to the bottom I couldn’t stop smiling. And my (dare I say it), fan club who had come out to watch me and were screaming their support the whole time, only made my smile bigger.

 I had mentioned a few weeks ago that after I did my skydive in October 2014 I have never been able to find a rush like that again. 

 At last I think I have found one.

 XOXO