Archive for the ‘Questions’ Category

What would she be like?

September 3, 2011

What would she be like? The girl born on the twenty-third of the third month of the year that is the year I was born.

 Do her legs slot into drain pipe jeans with shape and dignity?

Do her feet melt into high heels?

 Is her back as smooth as a back should be?

Maybe her skin is marked with the time people tried to repair her; maybe not.

Would her life be all that different? I’m not sure how deep the damage goes. Maybe her favourite colour would be purple and she would enjoy the smell of rain.

She’d be a dancer, one that trains for hours on end, although I’m not sure that she would pursue it. You see, she always excelled in math and English, perhaps a degree in English literature in Edinburgh or maybe she would become a business women, in a black pencil skirt and jacket with killer high heels to match.

She would settle down early but keep her head above water in the business department. A wedding dress down to her ankles, showing off simple white heels, decorated with lace.  Her children would be healthy and she would run with them as they battled each other in a game of cowboys and Indians. She would be a cow girl. She would work abroad and eventually move there for several months however she’d return to be with her family.

Later on in life she would retire, spend years with friends going to fitness classes and wasting time at spas in dressing gowns. Her children would grow into musicians who speak at least two different languages. They’d be successful at work and take their parents to dinner to celebrate birthdays.

Eventually she would grow old with her husband and whilst putting out the rubbish they would wonder how it got so good.

She’d look back at her life; the parties, the shoes, the work and she’d be proud.

The truth is, she would probably hate her freckley skin and straighten her hair to cover the curls. She would regret not going onto become a professional dancer.

Her friend would give birth in Holland to a girl with a ‘defect’ and she would write a ‘thinking of you’ card enclosed with the ‘Congratulations’ card. She wouldn’t know what to say to her so simply write “To Ben and Caroline, Love Amy and the family”. The scar on the inside of her foot, where she trod on glass as a child would bother her, she would use bio oil to cover the pink patch and would wear shoes to cover the unholy blemish. She would have gone to hospital on many occasions, her birth, her child’s birth, her second child’s birth and her husband’s death. On top of these would be the odd visits to a relative or friend, she would skip the canteen for fear of hospital food and leave.

She’s a good person, a nice person. She cares for others and many care for her. She gives to charities and is a shoulder to cry on. She’s different to me. We’re not really the same person at all.

I wonder if we had the chance to cross one another in the street, who would stare at who? The jealous or the curious; which is better?

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My Poker Face

August 27, 2009

Lady-Gaga11For the last month or so I have been having a rest from performing, I act you see. I do local am dram shows and shows with my college as well as the odd favour for a friend. I sing as well, mostly just musical theatre but you’ll find me in a band or a solo concert every now and then. The thing is; I hate performing as myself. I find it much easier to immerse myself into a character…it’s such a cliché but I really do believe it’s what gives me the confidence to get up on stage and loose myself.

Many people turn to me and ask how I can fully get into character whilst in a wheelchair but I just don’t think of it like that, it just disappears and a lot of people say that they don’t notice the wheelchair whilst I’m performing anyway…whether this is just them being nice is another story!

The reason I started acting in the first place was because I used to act differently in everyday life. I would be in the car with my parents and start talking in an American accent, or be sitting in my bedroom talking to myself, making up scenes on the spot to an invisible audience, for no particular reason. When I was in year eight at school I enrolled in drama classes. It was a massive release for me and really changed me as a person…I went from having no friends to making plenty, most of whom I still see to this day. I was quiet and reserved before I started acting and now, although I’m still naturally shy as a person, I feel I have gained an inner confidence… or is it an inner acceptance?

My Gaga (Grandad-long story) asked me today “What do the audience want from a show?” and I replied “They want to be engaged and immersed in a form of make believe” It made me realise that maybe this is what I do every day. I changed when I started acting, I made new friends and cut my hair but the question which keeps eating me up inside is: Is the ‘new’ me just another character in my pocket? Or did I actually become myself by pretending to be other people? I don’t know, I really don’t and I worry sometimes that one day, my mask will be knocked down and the real me will come out again. Will my friends still love me then? Bloody hell, this is deep eh?!

I’m still talking to myself by the way, although I’ve graduated from the mirror in my bedroom to talking to myself whilst driving late at night through abandoned towns….I swear to god one day someone will see me and report me and I won’t be allowed to drive anymore; it’s bad enough that I tend to sing Lady Gaga at the top of my voice whilst driving, god knows what people will think when they realise I talk to myself as well. Hopefully they will understand that it is my way of working things out and understanding how people think.

My Mum thinks I’m quiet at the moment, that I’m not telling her things, the truth is that I’m just trying to work things out in my head, I’ve suddenly realised that I’m in a wheelchair; that I can’t just go and sleep round my friends house’s, that I can’t go out and get drunk every night and it hurts; it really does. It feels like someone’s chipping into my well crafted character and telling me I’m interpreting it in the wrong way.

I’m constantly telling people to be themselves but I’m so frightened that I’m the one I should be telling that to…and I’m not listening.

Ali x

P.S. For those of you who are interested: Yes I love Lady Gaga, she’s the only chart music I listen to, the reason I love her is because everything she does is a stunning performance….and yes another reason is the fact that she is someone else when she’s on stage, watch her perform, it’s a beautiful example of some ones Poker Face (see what I did there?!).

“Why are you in a wheelchair?”

August 8, 2009

QuestionMarkSomeone asked me yesterday “Why are you in a wheelchair?” I looked at them bemused for a moment; I’ve been asked this question many times before and almost every time I’ve changed my response:

“F*** me, I’m in a wheelchair?!”
“Well I lifted myself out of bed and just got in”
“I found it in a dust bin”
“I was born with it, Mums labour was hell”

This time however I gave them the honest answer “I was born with Spina bifida”. They didn’t ask too many questions after that, in fact, I’ve hardly spoken to them since. I got the impression they wanted a more elaborate story on a horrific accident…sorry to disappoint. It did make me wander though, about why people ask and should wheelchair users give them an honest answer?

I know some wheelchair users are often offended if they are not asked straight out; they feel that people are talking about them behind their backs and I can, I think, relate to this. It drives me crazy when I’m out with my Mother or worse, a friend and the lady in the lift turns to THEM and asks THEM what’s wrong with me. Well apparently I’m bloody invisible, that’s what’s wrong with me! The thing is; I don’t feel my wheelchair defines me as a person, nor do I feel it’s an important story to tell. I don’t think I have ever turned round to a friend and told them my story without them asking. In fact many of my friends have gone months without even mentioning my four wheels.

My boyfriend who I’ve known for several months now has never asked me what’s ‘wrong’ with me, maybe he doesn’t see the wrong, I don’t know. You see, I think that’s why some people ask, they see ‘it’ as a barrier to getting to know a person properly, then again (and this is the most common case I feel) maybe it is just a mans curiosity…and what’s wrong with curiosity?

Next time I’m asked, I will reply frankly, I’ll leave the bad stuff out, I’ll give my frills and cotton candy story on how and why I’m disabled. People don’t want to know the hard stuff; they want to hear a story book answer. Maybe that’s my problem with that question, I feel I have to lie to cover up certain aspects of myself, after all, phatic conversation doesn’t call for the details.

Ali x

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