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It Started with Ballet Shoes


Earlier this week, I went on a Prince's Trust business start-up course. The long and short of it is I've definitely decided this is the way forward, so watch this space. But as I was sitting there, listening to our tutor, Emily Webb, talk about how her business began: How Oarsome Grips are the product of a GCSE Design and Technology project that hasn't ended, how she was the youngest person at the time to pitch on Dragons' Den and how her childhood ambition to become a psychiatrist was overtaken by a passion for business, it got me thinking about how all the best-laid plans don't always work out.


Every morning I receive a Facebook notification asking me to view my Time Hop. I don't normally bother because more often than not they're just unwanted reminders of how cringe-worthy I used to be and how sixteen-year old me was constantly, publicly bored, tired or fed up. On an occasion last week though, I thought I'd have a gander. As it turns out, this time last year, I'd met with the fabulous Queen of Silver Linings for a coffee, a catch-up and for her to lend me a pair of ballet shoes in order for me to follow in the graceful footsteps of Darcey Bussell…Only joking, they were the illustration for the first blog.


My Time Hop memory seems longer than a year ago. This is partly because my Queen of Silver Linings has become a member of my gang who I wouldn't be without, but mostly because so many of the plans I had, have changed. I was adamant that I was going to be a high-flying journalist who would travel the world and get the greatest stories. To do that, I was going to study a master's just so I had the piece of paper confirming I could string a sentence together. I'd also almost completed a foundation course, which in my head, put me on a level playing field with my peers. I knew the path I was going to take, and I was prepared within an inch of my life.


A year later and here I am. By rights I should be on summer break, I should've finished my first year at university and, as per the plan, I should be researching internships to study abroad. Instead, as per my usual Wednesday afternoons, I'm writing your Thursday blog. My morning was spent attempting to get my head around the ever-changing schedule of the Masquerade Ball, trying to negotiate how the hell we were going to get thirteen disabled folks in one place at one time, all whilst sending several emails which gave me more questions than answers. None of that was in my plan.


The problem with the plan was I'd not stopped to think. I knew I needed to get back to my writing roots and it seemed yet more education was the way to do that. I think I subconsciously picked a course which sounded the grandest within a field that would allow me to write. It was almost as though I felt I had something to prove to the world. Regardless of my wonky legs, I could be respected as a journalist. Within that headspace, my plan was foolproof.


When my epic plan epically failed, I shouldn't have been surprised. However, I spent a month utterly baffled as to why I hated the course so much and wondering what on Earth I was going to do next. Essentially, I rocked in a corner for a while and had very circular conversations with the Queen of Silver Linings which revolved around my life, at the mere age of twenty-five, being over. What can I say, I've always been dramatic!


One day, a switch flicked. I'd created Written Wheel to write, to make people laugh and to be honest about my wonky-legged experiences. It was sitting there, doing nothing, all because my original plan had failed. Sure, I hadn't got anything else in place and the control freak in me hated the fact I didn't know what I'd be doing at sixty, but I figured I may as well write in the meantime.


Gradually, it dawned on me that it wasn't the writing I had missed so much - it was the creativity, expression and connection. The more I wrote, the more confident I became in my ability to do things and the more comfortable I became in my own skin. As cliché as it sounds, with every blog, my goal is to drag you on a journey whilst I live my best disabled life. Some may have you laughing your socks off, some may have you staring down a precipice just before I pull us back from the edge, and some may have you think a little differently.


I'm not saying I get it right all the time because there's bound to be some days when you're bored as hell reading through my rambles. Having said that, I hope Written Wheel will eventually do as much for you as it continues to do for me. It's opened so many doors and is the foundation for things I never thought I'd do. Don't get me wrong, I still wake up in the morning wondering what I'm doing with my life, but that won't change - it's part of my all or nothing personality. The point is, I'm more than happy to just go with it because, so far, it's served me well.


Whatever the plan is, it started with ballet shoes…



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