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Breaking Down the Barriers of Disability


This week has taught me a lot about where Written Wheel could lead. It’s also highlighted the trickier side of being disabled and having to manage my own staff team in order to make Written Wheel even more of a reality. So, here’s a shout out to all those folks who have to plan their day to the nth degree in order to just go for a pee. You’re doing an epic job.

A few months ago, a friend who’s kinda become my unofficial agent, tagged me in a post on Facebook. Sarah Hogan was looking for a guest to appear on her show, aptly named The Movement Show with Sarah Hogan on Siren Radio. I text said friend, asking if she wanted me to promote her theatre company and the panto. “Maybe give it a mention, but just talk about you and get yourself out there”. I mean, I’m just a blogger. I wing my way through life. I don’t actually know where this is heading. How on Earth was I going to fill two hours of air time? I’m really not that interesting. I half-reluctantly said I’d give it a shot. Although, I practically forced her to come with me, in the knowledge that she’d swoop in and magnificently save the day when I ran out of things to say.

Anyway, after a more than unfortunate turn of events, my slot on the radio show had to be postponed. In many ways that bought me time to find my feet, or in my case wheels, and to get to grips with the direction of life. However, when my slot was rearranged my agent was somewhere in Neverland (read my previous blog to understand the reference), and so I didn’t want to add anything else to her crazy to-do list. Plus, by that time, I’d gotten to know Sarah a little more and the whole thing seemed less daunting.

Sarah sent me a pre-radio questionnaire in which I had to say why I was on the show. I stared at it for an hour with a severe case of writer’s block. “I don’t know. I like to blog and I’m disabled so I’ve brought the two together”. I couldn’t write that, it sounded ridiculous. The next question was asking me about the sorts of questions Sarah could ask to help me get my point across. “How do we get folk to stop being idiots and to live harmoniously?” No, that will come across too bluntly. The final question required me to come up with the show’s playlist. At this point, I gave the task to my Facebook friends who came up with some cracking and more than appropriate tunes.

Fast forward to last Sunday. I was blogging away when my phone pinged. Staff sickness. I sat for a minute in shear panic as a whole bunch of expletives ran through my head. Of all the days to be short-staffed, this really wasn’t one of them, but I began to concoct a plan. Eight hours later, and significantly more blog-less than I wanted to be, I knew how ‘tomorrow’ was going to pan out. Or so I thought…

‘Tomorrow’ arrived. I rang the one and only taxi firm in Lincoln that provides wheelchair accessible vehicles. “I’m sorry, we don’t have any available for that time”. I sat there in shear panic as a whole bunch of expletives ran through my head. I went through my phonebook and put a message out on Facebook like a mad woman begging for a lift. I text Sarah to apologising for the transportation flaw in my plan, but promised I’d be there somehow at some point. She told me not to stress, suggesting we rearranged. But by then, I was somewhere in between losing the will to live and utterly determined. I was gonna be there.

In the end, a very willing friend offered to collect me, albeit later than I’d have liked, but at least I’d be there before we went live. She rolled up looking perplexed. “How am I going to get your chair in my boot?” What I failed to fully establish with her is the fact that I was in my powerchair which would’ve meant her driving my car. One swift chair-change later and we were on our way. My friend had no idea where we were going. I was trying to direct her with my imperfect orienteering skills whilst updating Sarah on the journey’s diabolical progress, and tried not to hyperventilate in the whole process.

We fell through the door just in time to go live.

I thought I’d hate it. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination, a public speaker. Like I said before, I wing my way through life and all I really want to do is change perspectives. But honestly, I essentially sat and chatted with a friend for two hours. It was ace. I loved every second. And it truly reaffirmed why I’ve set out on this mad journey. Listen to the podcast by clicking here. It’s the one entitled ‘Breaking Down the Barriers of Disability’ and it’s got my name in the synopsis. If you’re an Apple person, you can also listen via iTunes, just search ‘Sarah Hogan’.

A quick plug for Sarah. She owns and runs the Sarah Hogan Movement Academy which aims to make dance available and accessible to all. She’s also a qualified sports masseuse and owns and runs The Bailgate Clinic too, so check out her Facebook page (@sarahhogantherapy) and her Instagram page (@sarahhogantherapist). She’s just fab.

It’s been a great week guys. Keep being awesome.

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