For the best part of my life I’ve, pretty much, done anything and everything to try and hide my disability. it hasn’t always worked, to be honest, anyone that spends a good amount of time in my company soon realises something isn’t quite right, but I muddled through my younger years and lived life as best I could without any public declaration.
So as my conditions deteriorated the thought of using any form of aid or appliance was a no go for me. I may have a masters in advertising but I had no interest in promoting my disability, and the thought of a cane, let alone a mobility scooter, just seemed like a flashing neon sign to hang around my neck.
The obvious downside to all this is, I wanted to still do the things I loved, like visiting the National Trust, fishing the lakes and rivers off the beaten track and simply just going outside with the family and dog for a walk, picnic or mini adventure. But instead, my pride held me back so…
I stopped walking the dog with my fiancee,
I stopped going to my favorite fishing spots,
I stopped exploring the National Trust
I stopped country walks and urban exploration in favor of sitting in a cafe or on a bench, watching my family walk off into the distance as I didn’t want them to miss out on the fun just because I couldn’t do the walking anymore. I had stopped living.
Then a few amazing things happened in my life. I got to learn to fly with the charity FSDP, please see my youtube channel for all the details… I digress.
Anyway, as part of my flying adventure, I met an amazing guy called Dan.
Dan your an inspiration! possibly one of the worst thing you can say to a disabled person and something me and Dan would joke about regularly during the 3 weeks we spent with each other. That’s Dan in the back of the plane.
Well, Dan could see how much I was struggling some days with just the pain and walking and kept saying to me you need to get a scooter. to which my reply was normally “go away” but less polite version. but eventually, it started to sink in and the more I got to know Dan the more I was realizing that it’s not a bad thing to accept that you need help from time to time. halfway through the 3 weeks, I had to return home for a weekend and while back the weather was great and the family wanted to visit Attingham Park before we got there I said to my Fiancee, I’m hiring a scooter. I almost bottled it in the car a few times but that day was the first time I had ever been on a mobility scooter.
Driving around that day was amazing, I saw parts of the park I had never been to and when we got to the adventure playground and I had all my energy to play with the children. At one point a little boy 4 or 5 stopped and pointed, my heart sank as his Dad turned to look and I suddenly felt embarrassed until he exclaimed “Wow Dad that’s so cool, can we get one” that just made me smile.
That night I posted the above photo on my Facebook page, Id bit the bullet and wanted to show everyone, this is me. A guy I know from fishing in the local area commented and it stuck with me.
“Mate, never let anything get in the way of doing the things you love”
I realised then, that all along the only person with prejudice was me and honestly, no one else cares!