What an interesting week it’s been. First, a festival, then the Edinburgh Fringe, then a day of Masquerade Ball promotion. As much as this week has been varied, there was definitely a common theme of disability awareness.
You know what it’s like when you go to a festival. You get stuck in a crowd of a thousand people and you get drenched because, let’s face it, it always rains, but despite everything you have a good time because everyone else is having a blast. It’s rare that disabled people get the chance to experience what’s deemed to be a rite of passage though. Festivals just aren’t accessible. Wheelchairs sink in the muddy fields, for some people it’s a sensory overload and for some, due to their impairments, it’s just pointless. That was until A Perfect Day came along…
The disability-exclusive event was a safe space for people to go, chill out, hang out and have a laugh whilst enjoying everything a festival has to offer and a lot more. To say that they catered for everyone is an understatement. It was fully accessible and equipped to meet all kinds of needs. There was face painting, archery, hair braiding and of course, a bar. If that wasn’t enough, there was drumming, silent discos, workshops and of course, live music. It was a perfect day filled with utter joy, and kindness from those who unashamedly embraced diversity.
From embracing diversity to laughing in the face of adversity – literally. The Lost Voice Guy at Edinburgh Fringe Festival was beyond hilarious; I’m amazed I didn’t pee my pants. It was so nice to be able to sit in a room and laugh out loud at some of the ridiculous things that happen because you’re a cripple in the knowledge that other people find them just as funny as you do. Like the fact that the benefits system gives you a pat on the back for still being disabled by way of a £10 Christmas bonus. Or the ludicrous misconception that all cripples must be sweet and innocent because the possibility of you being a total asshole was disabled at birth. Or that society thinks there must be something innately wrong with you because you’re a cripple. The Guy has made a career out of his ‘misfortune’ and I think it’s brilliant. I left the theatre knowing I was on the right path.
From laughing in the face of adversity to promoting charities who have inclusivity. I spent the day on Lincoln High Street with some fabulous friends drumming up support for the Masquerade Ball in aid of Lincoln Drill Hall and the Samaritans. What I love about both charities is they’re accepting of everyone, regardless of their walk of life. This is the position that we should all take, but as I sat there in the middle of the pathway, handing out flyers, I was certain a few people were taking them because they felt sorry for the poor disabled girl. Saying that, many were taking them because I was covered in body paint and looked strange, but most people were definitely taking them because they are up for having a great night in November.
Disability awareness is a curious thing. Some people are totally awareness, some are barely aware and some make an earning out of it.
Photo credit: Lost Voice Guy courtesy of Radio Times