Only you can control you. My feminism opinion.

I can only write this from the perspective of a British woman who has grown up, experienced life in the UK as part of wider western society in the 21st century

The structure of woman’s society, mainly in the 21st western century is a very convoluted and complex one in my personal opinion.

We still live in a world where both subtle and blatant patronising, patriarchal, archaic, idiotic, testosterone fulled sexism exists.

In a world where women have a lot more freedom, are more prevalent in the boardroom, government and other high powered, high paid jobs come’s a world strife with bitching narcissism where it’s ok to turn on each other and stab each other in the back and it’s ok because it’s another woman and not a man doing it. BITCH REALLY? It’s not ok for a man to do that but it’s ok for another woman to do that? In what reality does that make sense?

I find it rather ironic that we have these two polar opposites in western society. You are not a true feminist if you act all coy, sexy and show every inch of skin and feel confident enough in your own skin and sexual freedom/liberation to do so. On the other hand, you’re not a true woman, deserving of the title if you don’t wear the latest fashion have your hair cut a certain way, pander to the sexual desires of every piggish man and act how every woman should in the 21st century.

Granted a lot of the idea’s, images, trends and ‘Norms’ that are thrown our way are highly industrialised by an industry whose only intent is to sell us the idea that we have to behave and look a certain way so that they can earn money for their luxury holiday’s billion dollar houses and expensive cars whilst we get left with conflicting emotions that could potentially lead to a mental health crisis.

However, some women think the bee all and end all come back to this is to completely desexualise womanhood in order to create less distraction for all parties. Men won’t think of us in a sexual manner and women won’t have to worry about being too sexy or not sexy enough.

In my humble opinion? Both parties are completely in the wrong and are perpetuating this toxic way of living that we have found ourselves in.

No, we most certainly don’t have to rely on our looks to get us places and anyone, woman or man that solely does that is really rather simple and doesn’t know the meaning of true, honest hard work that is both physically and intellectually challenging.

But neither do we have to feel like we’re letting ourselves go. Each woman and man can decide for themselves if they want to wear makeup, shave, dress a particular way. We should never be dictated to by others on how we MUST look. As long as we are in good general physical and mental health and don’t stink than everything else is of no-one else business but my own thank you very much.

Social norms contrite, conceited idea’s about what it means to be a man or a woman are archaic, pathetic, misogynistic, damaging and downright ludicrousness. I refuse to pay my money into an industry that thinks it knows what I want to wear and what I want to look like and shoves a skeleton masquerading as a woman with airbrushed checks down my throat to try and force me to buy their products to achieve that manufactured and totally fake image of perfect because it’s nothing but a lie that is just too hard to maintain. That’s not me but if that’s another person idea of heaven then I won’t stop them.

If I don’t shave my legs and armpits for a month does that mean I’m any less sexy? No. If I decide I want to wear makeup one day does that instantly mean I’m self-conscious, vain, egotistical or oversexualizing myself? HELL TO THE NO. It simply means I want to wear makeup. Why does it have to have about a million reasons about three-quarters of which seem to be linked to sex in some way?

Being a woman is not about conforming to a man’s idea that women should look dolled up every day and never leave the kitchen and it doesn’t mean that I have to look ugly as hell or ‘slutty’ to be intelligent and succeed in a male-oriented world.My

Feminism should be about letting us be free to express ourselves in the manner in which we choose and be emotionally, mentally, intellectually, financially, sexually liberated without feeling ridiculed by both men and women alike for being too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

If I like and appreciate the fact that a date offers to buy me a cup of coffee dinner or a cinema ticket, regardless of their gender then why shouldn’t that happen? I don’t give two flying fucks if people think I should be the one buying a man drinks and dinner, I’ll do that if I want to but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate that once in a while and doesn’t mean I’m instantly thinking ‘great a penis who can protect and own me financially’ no I’m thinking ‘great a person who cares enough to want to take me out somewhere and spend time with me’.

Life isn’t about telling someone to act, look or behave a certain way based on their gender. If that person is a good, moral individual who treats others with respect and doesn’t try and control, own, degrade disrespect, abuse or try and course someone into being different for the sake of it then free expression of individuality is the most important life hack of all.

We are strong because we are different we aren’t all uniform robots operating under the same programme. Beauty isn’t about being perfect. It’s about making the decisions that get us to where we need to be, knowing and expressing who we are as individual people, accepting our differences, being intelligent and expressing our opinions, learning and broadening our horizons. Beauty is about being authentic to ourselves.

Hating on others because they dare act in a way that doesn’t fit in the misogynistic fashion of feminism that some people pander to is madness. No two women are the same, no two human beings are the same, there is no one size fits all. We shouldn’t be prohibiting women or making people feel they have to move from one extreme to another. We are not here to be controlled and manipulated by anyone else but ourselves. We need to be our own spokesperson. We are not here to please the base needs of others. We are strong, independent, intelligent, sexy bitches who can achieve anything.

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A massive middle finger to all chauvinistic pigs who grounds the rest of us down under their ponssy heals.

To anyone out there who thinks it’s ok to demoralize, stigmatize, belittle, degrade, squeeze the life out of someone, emotionally destroy someone based on their gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion or cultural background I am baffled, ashamed outraged and sickened.

Give me three logical, unemotional reasons why you are better than anyone else that has nothing to with educational, ethnic, gender, sexual orientational, race, religion or cultural issues?
What gives you the right to think you’re anything more than a pathetic, close-minded asshole who obviously has thoughts above your station?
If you can’t see past your own patriarchal, archaic, rude, pretentious, establishmentarianism, entitled nose than why should I take you seriously or hold your opinions in any esteem?
If you think it’s your duty to treat others worse than road kill that you wouldn’t feed to your dog than you are seriously messed up. I would call you insane or retarded but that would be the biggest insult to those who suffer from mental illness or have a learning disability because at least these groups of people have a basic sense of what it means to be gracious have good manners, treat others right, be respectful, kind and polite to fellow human beings.
Treating others like a piece of meat that you can beat down, mistreat, emotionally destroy to then mould to what you think they should be is torture.
Your insane sense of entitlement that deludes you to believe you have the power to control those around you to the point of becoming the most toxic thing in their lives is the utmost show of pigheaded rudeness. REALITY check you are not the king of the universe. We will not bow down, lick your shoes and beg you to give us worse food and shelter than you would give pigs because that would be the kind and decent thing of you do too because you are not the almighty god of all knowledge and power.

Many thanks a bisexual, visually impaired woman.

Society is still living in a disabled mindset it needs to change now.

I personally believe that it’s important to discuss, be open, honest and candid about the fact that whilst it is important to stay as positive as possible in a world where society is not geared to fully accommodate people with a disability, it’s majorly important bring attention to the fact that negative stereotypes, misguided advice and stifling people can be very damaging.

Improving positive equality and diversity in the workplace, general community, media, sport, housing etc is vital.

We need to share our stories of how even seemingly small statements or actions can be very detrimental to people with any form of disability.

When I’ve heard stories about businesses saying they don’t provide access to their buildings via the use of ramps, lifts to all areas of the restaurant, shop, attraction, etc, there is no disabled loo or it is used for storage etc and then turn around and have the Gaul to say it’s because ‘we don’t get many of you’re people here’. The automatic response is ‘well why the hell do you think you don’t get many of ‘our people’ here? It’s because you have stupendously hideous attitudes towards disability in general and if that’s the way you think then I don’t want to bump up your bottom line with my hard earned money thank you very much.’

Even the use of the seemingly innocuous words ‘you’re people here’ is extremely derogatory as it lumps every single person with a disability into one category and sends the message that society still believes that disability equates to the inability of living normal lives. Disability is not equivalent to being completely incapable of even leaving the house. We are human beings who want, can and do eat out, visit attractions, go shopping and integrate into the wider community just as any other competant able-bodied peer. We are not social degenerates who need to be locked up and hidden away to make you feel less uncomfortable about the differences in society.

Thinking you know what’s best for us, denying us services and questioning our abilities, qualities and basic right to live our lives the way we choose to is extremely patronising, mentally draining, close-minded and belittling. The only thing that disables people with any kind of impairment is societies attitudes and inability to change and adapt to the fact that the disability community is a thriving one, full of economic potential with people from all walks of life who have the capacity be friends, partners, employees, customers etc.

Why do you feel the need to deny us access to you’re resturant just because you can’t be bothered to find out about the Government’s scheme that pays you to put a ramp in place, why is it up to you how much of an attraction we can and can’t see because you don’t have a lift that accesses all area’s, why do you insist on making shopping so difficult by impeding people’s mobility, why do you deny us traveling from a to b simply because you don’t like dogs? All these things are illegal or frowned upon under UK and EU laws and there is no real reason why changes can’t start to be made today to improve the way business is run to improve accessibility and enjoyability of all customers.

Portraying people as weak, vulnerable, in constant need of help in mainstream media is extremely damaging to societies attitudes towards us as individuals with individual human rights who are able to achieve great things given the correct support. We are not always fragile pieces of China that need to be bubble wrapped when we even suggest doing ANYTHING.

What experience does general society have in dealing with people with real disabilities that are as varied and numerous as the stars in the sky? We should never be told we can’t burn brightly because you don’t think we’re capable of doing things or you think it’s unsafe or unsavoury for us to be living a life like anyone else would.

However subconsciously, creating a world where someone like myself feels like I have to hide or downplay my disability for fear of shame, rejection, pity, negative judgment, denial of jobs services and good or inappropriate advice is extremely harmful to our progression of self-confidence, self-worth, acceptance and meaningful actions that move society, economy and the world at large forward. As I say I’m someone who doesn’t fit into the archaic and ridiculous ideal of what disability looks like so I pity anyone who takes one look at someone who can’t ‘mask’ their disability and judges them based on their cover alone.

Why is it that you don’t think we should be able to live a normal life?
Why do you believe that we want or need your pity?
Why don’t you think we are capable of working?
Why do you think that all we are good for is sitting at home staying out of your sight and mind just watching daytime telly and scrunching of the state?
Why do you then hate and belittle people that have been forced into that corner?
Why do you think we constantly mope around feeling sorry for ourselves?
Why do you feel the need to talk to my ‘able-bodied’ friend instead of me?
If you do dare talk to me why do you think it’s ok to belittle me and patronise me by talking more slowly, louder and in simplified English?

These are simply my own personal ramblings and is just the tip of the iceberg when dealing with issues that many disabled people still face in today’s society. An attitude that hasn’t moved forward enough is what imprisons people with a disability, not their impairment itself.

Pain, frustration and positivity. It’s ok to have dark days with a disability

The aim of this post is not to garner sympathy at all. This is just a rambling post about the impact a visual impairment can have on one’s mental health, specifically my own as I can never begin to imagine what other people go through or their thought processes regarding their own sight and personal journey.

This is in no way a post that describes every single experience that every single person with a visual impairment has. It’s simply a portrayal of one way in which one individual has been shaped. My life is in no way meaningless just because of my own journey or experiences. It does not mean I don’t aim to have a fulfilling, positive and meaningful life. If anything the life experiences that I’ve had is one of the main reasons why I want to work with people and make a change in the lives of others who may be travelling the same path as myself

I was born with Oculocutanious Albinism, a stable condition that means I am legally blind. Do I consider myself to be ‘blind’? No, as I have a lot of useful vision compared to a lot of people who I know in the visually impaired community. However, the more important question is do I even consider myself fully visually impaired? … No.

I try and blag my way through life as much as possible because I don’t want to seem vulnerable or weak in any way. It’s almost like I don’t want to accept that I need help. I don’t want people thinking I can’t do something because of my sight.

However, doing so puts me in a worse situation than if I held my hands up fully to the fact that there are times that I actually need a little extra support.

To give an example, I don’t use a long cane nearly as much as I should do. I don’t want to look ‘blinder’ than I think I am. I also don’t think I need a mobility aid as much as someone who has less sight than I do so I feel like a bit of a fraud whenever I use it.

Generally speaking, my dear sweet loving family are extremely supportive and want the best for me and want me to access help where appropriate. However, my long cane has always been a bit of a funny situation. My parents have always discouraged me to use my cane around where I live. On numerous occasions, I have been told in no uncertain terms that my cane would put less trust in me because it would be a physical sign of my visual impairment primarily in terms of the previous types of jobs that I’ve had or when applying for jobs. I have also struggled a lot when it comes to disclosing my visual impairment when applying for a job and I have always been advised not to because it might harm my ability to be shortlisted for an interview. Of course, when mummy dearest gives you advice you tend to want to listen because … well, she’s mum and you always tend to believe that parents have more life experience and know what’s what.

Now, I’m not saying that my parents are bad people. Of course their not, quite the opposite in fact. However, I think it can be very difficult for parents of children with any form of disability, especially an invisible disability that is both severe but not severe at the same time. There is no manual on how to best deal with any and all situations that can and do crop up.

Having the condition that I have means you live in a bit of a grey scale world. You don’t fit into the sighted world but, this is just how I feel, you don’t fully fit into the blind world either. It’s almost like you’re a bit of a nomad just stumbling from point to point. You have enough sight to be able to pass as sighted but you need certain aids to help but some aids are specifically designed for people with little to no sight that you don’t feel you actually need or want them.

This perpetual cycle of thinking you’re more sighted than you actually are can be very dangerous, physically, mentally and emotionally. Due to the fact that I don’t use a cane people don’t know that my sight isn’t good enough to move out of the way and can be a rather stupid risk to take when in busy urban areas where there are lots of bikes, cars, buses etc. Emotionally you never feel you fit into one specific place and don’t know how to describe what you can and can’t see because there isn’t specific vocabulary that isn’t medical jargon.

Mentally it can almost be a daily battle to either explain to people that yes you are disabled and no you’re not faking it, decided if it’s the right decision to declare you’re disability for job applications, fighting for the correct support which can sometimes be hard because not even you know the wide variety of support that is out there (because it would be way to easy to make help fully accessible and fully at the forefront of peoples awareness) and how it can help, feeling like you can’t do jobs that you want because of your disability and feeling like you’re stuck in a place where you’ll never get a good career that’ll fulfil you because people don’t want the hasstle of a visually impaired employee or don’t think you are capable of performing tasks simply based upon your disability.

Emotionally it’s tiring feeling stuck in one place because out of pure and utter lazy habit it’s become a safe little bubble where you can run and hide perpetuating the cycle of self-doubt, never trying new things, never pushing yourself because you constantly tell yourself that you’ll never amount to much in a sighted world. You feel trapped by your environment and the little bubble that you don’t feel safe to leave.

I am at a crossroads in my life at the moment. I am applying for Universal Credit (part of the UK’s benefits system) which I must say has a very regimented way of doing things and seemingly has very little understanding or regard for people with a wide variety of disabilities and that being disabled is not just a black or white situation. However, I digress. Until I am receiving money I don’t feel like I am able to move forward because I don’t have the financial aid to fund things like invaluable voluntary work that could be very useful to me gaining a job that I could be good at and that I’d actually want to do. Volunteering would also mean having to travel further afield than St Albans, which luckily is so close to London that I’m quite comfortable travelling to London seeing as I’ve done it so many times. However, the fact that my whole working life so far has revolved around St. Albans the prospect of travelling somewhere different, meeting a wider variety of people and so on is rather daunting and something that my mental attitude has thrown a bit of a hissy fit about recently.

I know I have to travel outside my comfort zone or I’ll never grow as a person but my mind and emotions are like, ‘fuck it Ellie do you really want to put yourself out there and just get turned down immediately? coz that’s just a very real possibility you know?’.

So the long and the short of it is. That is where I am in my life so far. One part of me wants to run and hide from everything and another little jiminy cricket part of me is screaming at me to jump into the deep end and flail about until I learn how to tread water and look like a swan, kicking my feet but cool, calm and relaxed on the surface.

Life isn’t easy when you’ve got an invisible disability. We all have our own journeys, emotions, mentality and outward influencers that we have to deal with and it’s ok to feel lost, angry and upset. There is no timeframe or specific way to deal with these feelings and issues. However, if you are someone you know is feeling like this then just know that it’s ok and you’re not the only one who feels these feels.

Gender roles, expectations and LGBT hate is killing of individuality

I’m a cis-woman who identifies as fluid. Say what now? So I was born in a biologically female body. I have boobs and a vagina and I have feminine facial features and a feminine body type. I identify as female and I don’t have any dysphoria around my body. Sure I wish I could be taller, have bigger boobs, be slightly thinner and have longer more shapely legs but that’s not what I mean by dysphoria. Let me put it in a very basic way, someone who is not cis-gender is transgender or feels like they are the opposite gender born and trapped in the wrong body i.e someone who identifies personally, mentally and emotionally as female but is born in a male’s body or visa versa an individual who identifies as male but born in a female’s body. Disclaimer: that is a very basic description of gender identity and gender dysphoria that in no way shape or form encompasses the wide range of emotions, thought process etc that someone who is transgender can or will experience in their lifetime.

Therefore after my rudimentary and most likely very discriminatory explanation above I can say that mentally, emotionally and physically I feel like I am what society would call female. Gender identity is a spectrum with cis-gender and transgender being the two polar opposites of each other if you want to think of it like that. I cannot and will not speak for the entire spectrum of gender identity and presentation because I can only ever speak as someone who identifies as one of the myriad presentations of gender.

All I can say is that we should never presume to know how someone feels within themselves. They may physically look ‘male’ or ‘female’ but they may feel a completely different way. Someone may be gender fluid, one day they may feel more feminine the next they may feel more masculine or could feel like they are an equal mix of both. Depending on the individual and how they wish to express themselves or how comfortable or able they fell to present their gender identities outward signs such as clothing, make-up and mannerisms such as stance and/or walking gate may change it really does depend on the individual. I realise I did talk a bit about a different gender identity other than my own but I can’t ever presume to know everything about gender identity and wanted to give one more example to prove that gender is far more expansive than the social construction of male and female and no-one can ever be defined solely as male or female.

Although I present myself and feel that I am intrinsically female do I like and enjoy everything that is a socially constructed female thing or action? HELL TO THE NO. I ain’t got time for that dude. I hate pink with a passion why in hell does pink have to be societies go to girly colour? Fuck do I know is all I can say to that.

Do I wear makeup all the time and have my eyebrows on fleek and perfect hair every day? Mate it looks like you have found one girl who isn’t butch but isn’t societies norm for a girl.

Fifty shades or superhero movies? Damn get me in line for all and every superhero movie there is. I don’t even care that I’m a little bit too excited for the second Deadpool film to come out. Don’t get me wrong I will always indulge in films like ‘love actually’ ‘Bridget Jones’ or ‘Pitch perfect’ but I don’t have to like every single film who’s main demographic is women. I mean my favourite film should give me away a bit ‘Hellboy’ I can watch over and over and never get bored I mean seriously if you’ve not heard of it why not?

Makeup or technology? I’d rather have the latest technology than the next spot covering cream. Sorry if I’m letting any makeup fans out there down, no wait you know what? I don’t care I shouldn’t ever apologise for what I like ever.

Taekwondo or gymnastics? Well, as much as I like watching gymnastics Taekwondo is so much cooler in my personal opinion. Of course, both sports keep you fit that’s without a doubt but do you learn how to defend yourself with awesome moves in gymnastics? WELL HELL NO. Can gymnasts fight each other in competitions? No … enough said really.

Rock/metal or rap/pop? This one is way more tricky because I do like a hell of a lot of pop music but is a lot rarer for me to own an entire album from a pop artist. Therefore it would have to be rock/metal/alternative music because it’s not all created by the big cheeses in the music industry, it’s real musicians, playing their own instruments creating their own music that they want to create more so than many pop artists. Plus if you don’t appreciate a good guitar or drum solo than ok but why not? Of course, I jest here because some of my best friends and I have a very different taste in music and that’s one of the things that can make a strong relationship, the difference in personality, style and expression is important and valid.

The gist of all this is that it’s ok to be who you are regardless of gender roles/stereotypes. Boys can like pink aim to be a nurse or teacher, girls can hate pink and dressing up in frills and princess dresses and want to be a doctor, pilot, engineer or scientist. Gender assignment and identity should not mean people expect us to act or be a certain way.

Just because women can be more emotionally intelligent we should never teach boys or men to be emotionally stunted nor should we dictate the way women should look or act physically. Both men and women can be either strong and muscly or lean. Gender should never play a part in the way someone feels comfortable presenting their true selves. Creating a very narrow image of how women and men should behave, look, walk, talk etc is very discriminatory and limiting and enables people to expect less or more of someone based on their genitals or physical appearance and put a massive amount of pressure on that person to maintain that way of being.

The same can be said of sexual orientation. I view myself as fluid. I like both men and women. For any amount of time, I may prefer one gender or gender representation over another. That’s fine that’s who I am and I shouldn’t have to deny or change myself to fit into someone else’s ideal or thought process. I also find it very derogatory and incredibly rude when people assume things about me because I identify as fluid.

I’m not a stereotype and I would like to throw that great lump of steaming shit into the fan so to speak. I know many misconceptions come from history, extream religious views or the way someone was brought up. That still doesn’t give anyone the right to change someone or inflict hate and subsequent emotional and mental pain upon another person.

Sexual orientation and gender identity is not a lifestyle or choice and thus it cannot be changed. Hurtful words or actions only force people to hide who they truly are and serves them badly as they can’t be who they feel they truly are.

No amount of praying, religious shpeel about how I’m going to hell or the bible said man shalt not lie with another man or woman with another woman or conversion therapy will change my mental and potential biological makeup.

I’m not disabled, society makes me so

Do able-bodied children instinctively know how to cook a roast dinner? NO!!!

Do able-bodied children instinctively know how to make their bed? NO!!!

Do able-bodied children instinctively know how to cross the road safely? NO!!!

Do able-bodied children instinctively know how to read/write, tell the time or count money? NO!!!

Do able-bodied children instinctively know how to ride a bike, swim or play any sports? NO!!!

These are just a few examples of things that children and young people need to be taught. Every able-bodied child has their own personal techniques, preferences and time frames for being able to learn things that are useful to develop their independence or allow them to enjoy themselves and have fun.

A child with a visual impairment is EXACTLY the same. Of course, we will have a different set of techniques to overcome the fact that we cannot see as well as our able-bodied peers. However, we are able to achieve all the same goals and expectations as those with ‘normal’ vision. We are perfectly capable of wanting to and actually living independently. Just because it’s not your way of living independently doesn’t make it wrong. It just means we are living in a way that suits our level of vision and living to our true individual selves based on our personality, education and personal experiences.

Given the right support, set of techniques that are tailored to our own vision and personalities and an appropriate time frame there is nothing that we can’t achieve that our able-bodied counterparts can. Of course, there will be things that we can never do. We’ll never be able to pilot a fighter jet, perform complex neurosurgery or read small print but that doesn’t mean are not an asset to society who needs to be shut up and kept out of sight.

But just because we can’t do certain things such as the examples I gave above, that doesn’t give anyone the right to use our visual impairment as an excuse as to why we supposedly can’t do something. Given the right, correct and tailored support and education, we can be and are an asset to society.

What logical reason can you give me why I can’t cook and eat my own meal independently or pour a glass or cup of any sort of drink?

What logical reason do you have why I can’t clean my own bathroom?

What logical reason do you have why I can’t use a phone, computer or tablet?

What logical reason do you have why I can’t make my bed?

What logical reason do you have why I can’t catch a bus or go into town independently?

What logical reason do you have to believe that the only way that I can access any reading materials is via braille?

What logical reason do you have to believe that my sight is exactly the same as the next person who has exactly the same condition as me?

What logical right do you have to think you know what’s best for me when you know nothing about my personal preferences, personality or previous experiences?

What logical right do you have to instantly come in and do something for me when I’m either capable of doing it myself or learning to do it in my own way?

What logical reason do you have to think that I can’t enjoy tv shows or going to the cinema?

What logical reason do you have to instantly change the language that you would usually use around your able-bodied friends just because of my ‘disability’?

What logical reason do you have to think that I want to be prayed for?

What logical reason do you have to believe I deserve to be treated as my disability before being treated as a regular human being?

What logical reason do you have to believe that I don’t care about the way I look or about my personal health and hygiene at all?

What logical reason do you have to believe or think that I wouldn’t want to partake in any form of sports at all?

I’m more than the total worth of your assumptions about a disability. First and foremost I’m a human being who is the culmination of my likes, dislikes, choices, experiences, beliefs and opinions. I just happen to be visually impaired, I’m not disabled I’m visually impaired. It is societies overarching views and beliefs on disability and uneducated assumptions and the physical inaccessibility that society has created that makes me disabled.

My disability is not a life sentence

My visual impairment doesn’t mean I’m imprisoned in a god-awful life that sucks ass. It’s not a life sentence either. Of course, there are challenges of having a visual impairment. I can’t drive a car for instance.

My life, however, it’s far from saddening, meaningless or pitiful. I love Taekwondo and train regularly throughout the week at a mainstream club. I am taught everything, every technique every aspect of taekwondo just like everyone else who attends the classes and I’m already half way to black belt. My visual impairment does not stop me from wanting to achieve a goal, stay fit and be able to defend myself whilst having fun along the way.

I have Occularcutanious Albinism which means my eyes skin and hair are much lighter than those without the condition because of a lack of melanin which gives colour to all these parts of the body.

Yes, there is a higher risk that I may get melanoma of the skin or eye because my skin and eyes don’t have the natural defences against UV rays. That’s easily remedied though simply through the application of suncream and sunglasses. It’s what everyone has to do to protect themselves from harmful rays it’s no different or inconvenience.

In regards to my hair colour? Well, I don’t ever have to worry about adversely damaging my hair with constant bleaching to achieve this look and yes, my hair may get slightly lighter as I get older but I’ll never go grey. So all in all? money well saved and no damaged hair for me BAM!!!

My visual impairment doesn’t stop me from enjoying the tv show, music, books or sport that I enjoy. It doesn’t stop me from having my own opinions and preferences in terms of politics, clothing and work and career aspirations.

I’m not someone who wants or needs pitying. It is unwelcome and unneeded. I will admit that having a visual impairment does impact on how well I can access certain area’s of life but that is due to social inadequacies rather than my own. My eyesight doesn’t mean I can’t read it just means I can’t read the tiny writing that society still places everywhere. It doesn’t mean I can’t travel independently I just need to be a bit better prepared in terms of knowing exactly where I’m going and familiarising myself with new places.

My life isn’t restricted because of my ‘disability’ it’s restricted because of societies lack of appropriate accessibility that would allow me to fully incorporate myself into the wider community with total ease.

I’m not someone to be mollycoddled. I deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and the same equal human rights as my able-bodied counterparts. My visual impairment isn’t the thing that holds me back in life it’s the sweeping, misguided and stereotypical views of society as a whole that holds me back. I don’t have special needs I just have different needs that need to be overcome in a different way.

Who gives anyone else the right to judge the quality of my life or my abilities based on an overarching and archaic view that people with a disability need constant help and can’t live a fulfilling life? Not everyone with a disability faces the same challenges, uses the same techniques to overcome any hurdles or have the same personality. We should never be placed into one box or viewed as a degenerate who deserves to be dictated to because other people seem to think they know what I’m going through or whats best for me.

Working with an individual, instead of working or talking about them, giving them space to voice their opinions, thoughts and needs and to be properly listened to, is the most liberating thing someone can do for another human being. Treating that individual as a human person with a voice who knows what they want and helping them achieve what they need in an appropriate time frame gives them back their independence, dignity and helps them take back the appropriate rains in their own lives. Never suffocate someone by treating them the way you think they need to be helped. Ask how when and where you can help them with a listening ear and mindfulness that their needs and challenges will constantly be changing and evolving.