Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Chloe does Dating

Although it's been a difficult time while I've been away there has been a lot of fun things going on, and I have made some positive changes along the way.

One of which being my love life.

I recently did a little Q&A over on susie does life (one of my favourite blogs FYI) about dating with a disability. It was really great actually, she asked some great questions that made me delve deep. You should read it here now, but I thought I'd expand it a little and start a little dating with Chloe series.

It's such a big topic, in general and for me too. So I thought it's best to split it into a little series. This way I can really talk about things instead of maybe just doing an overview of different aspects of dating with a disability. Explain properly how I feel about certain things, maybe how others do, and how I actually do things, people love that story.

Speaking of overviews, I thought I'd start with a post about how I started and a brief insight into my experiences and thoughts so far. 🙂

Even through all the stresses of everything, my, let's say, dating escapades, have been the one thing that I have really kept at. It was easy enough to drift in and out of, and offered an escape from the crap that was going on elsewhere in my life.

Over the years I've signed up to online dating, I think more to just see.

It would never get any further than conversation, and that was okay, I don't think I was ready for more, but it was nice to have a slight flirtation, and conversation with a boy.

But at the beginning of last year I just thought, you know what I'm in a good place, even though that technically didn't last very long. I'm comfortable and happy with who I am, I'm just going to jump in and go for it, and I did.

I signed up to pof with every intent on finding my one true love, and after pretty much completing it, I switched to okcupid. Still no love, but quite a few dates.

I have gone through every kind of process I guess, when it comes to telling people about my disability. At first I left it off my profile, but now it's the very first line.

It's been interesting, let's say that, but I think online dating is for anyone if we are honest. My disability just adds an extra layer or a different angle on things.

There's been a lot of downs.

Many cancelled dates, some of which there's no explanation, others kinda freak out and tell you it's just to much.

There's the times you just feel like a curiosity to people, they message you, ask you a bunch of questions then bail.

There's this sense that because you are probably open in sharing a little more then most, that there's just no boundaries. The amount of people that just dive straight into questions about sex is beyond me.

Then theres definitely those moments of feeling like no one will ever love me as my 17th message goes unanswered, and no matter what, my first thought will always be, it's because I'm disabled, even though he might just hate the fact I like horror films.

But there has been some good, fun times too.

With every date I feel an extra little buzz of confidence, even after the bad ones. I gain a momentary sense of, I can do this, I can do anything! I feel fanciable, even if they don't necessarily fancy me.

I also just feel like a girl for a moment. Very rarely, in fact I don't think ever, does stuff about my disability, the stress with care, medical stuff come up in a conversation on an actual date, for the first date at least. For that hour or so I just talk about me and my hobbies and interests. That doesn't mean I'm apposed to it, but it's nice to just have that break from it all.

Throughout all these experiences though I feel I have learnt a lot. Mostly that I have a ridiculous need to fill awkward silences with any kind of nonsense, often leading to more awkwardness than any kind of awkward silence.

If you have any burning questions that come up during these posts, please, please, please, do let me know. I would love to know what you think, and also what it is you want to know.

Lots of love Chloe Xx

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Hello

Hey,
Hello..
Long time no see
How have you been?
All well?

I'm good, it's been, yeah. I'll fill you in slowly.

I've missed this, I have, and I don't know that this is an I'm back, but I'm most definitely in a place where things are better, and I'm excited to write again.

Writing for me has always been a great source of therapy, even as a kid I'd write diaries and poems, stories. It's how I have always made sense of the things that run through my head and get them all out.

However, for a large part of last year i just couldn't sum up anything, any energy, want.

I had all these things going on, things I wanted to write about, things that were important in my journey.

Yet there was this big grey, stormy cloud that just stopped everything.

For many years the care I was receiving was in a word, awful. It's something I have wrote about before and tweeted about a lot.

Since leaving uni I lost all permanent staff as they went off on their own adventures. Which happens, it's happened a number of times and it's fine, but this time was different.

The company I was with just made no effort in finding me new permanent staff.

They kept telling me they only had staff outside of the boundaries I have set, they'd then send different staff every week or two.

I had no consistency, which for me is incredibly important. I have so many anxieties when it comes to new people.

By the time anyone had been taught properly the I do things, they'd be going and someone new was coming, which was just exhausting for both me and my mum, who's shoulders it fell on to teach them.

The constant stream of new people living in the house just created a atmosphere in where no one felt comfortable in our own home.

It was because of all of this that we started the process of moving to a system in where I had control in everything, my budget and the ability to hire and fire who I want.

Something that should have taken a few months that now 18 months later just about seems to be taking shape.

Though out this time I was left always feeling anxious. Either from the lack of consistency or the speed of things not changing.

I never did anything, I left the house once a week on my mums day off if lucky.

My mum in the end just stopped showing them what to do and did it because it was just easier, so I would never want to ask to go anywhere because she was already doing way more than she should whilst having an actual job.

There was this tension, mum was mad and exhausted because she was doing the job of the PAs while they were sat up stairs doing nothing.

It all just made me feel like such a burden in every way, I felt like the cause of everything, everyone's anger, tiredness, awkwardness.

Then on top of all this I know felt like I had no purpose.

My life consisted of me being sat in a room.

Watching all my friends move forward, have new jobs, relationships grow, start families, buy houses.

I had nothing.

It all spiralled into, such a sadness.

This doesn't mean I didn't have good times, I had great times, and although I hid it from family and friends they were amazing as always in just coming here, knowing and understanding how difficult it was in me getting out.

But when I felt like I wasn't enjoying the things I'd usually love that's when I knew I had to speak out.

I spoke to mum, I went to the doctor to seek counselling and I spoke to a few of my friends.

In all honesty just simply telling someone made me feel so much better, which is why I know for me counselling is what I need. I just need someone to talk to, off load.

I also feel like things are starting to come together.

My care stuff looks like it might be close to conclusion.

I am working hard at looking for work, work experience or volunteer work. Signed up to job apps, gone through charities, the job centre, signed up to volunteer sites, emailed companies asking for work experience., got my CRB check, just got to wait for someone to employe me now.

So all in all after the past year and a bit the future feels a lot more positive and I'm actually excited to see what comes next.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

9 years

Normally when I come up to my anniversary  its with a positive attitude. I look back on the year, and all though I've most definitely faced bad times, there's a hundred more good that's come.

But this year I don't really feel that sense of optimism I always have.

For the first time in all these years I have really felt stuck.

Care has just been rubbish and all the confidence and zest for living I have gained is just being lost. The company I'm with just offers no consistency, it's like they don't even try any more to provide someone that could come on a permanent basis, allowing me to have confidence in someone, and be out in the world. I'm back relying heavily on my mum. I don't want to ask to do things because it's another thing she has to do that she shouldn't. So I'm home, lucky in that if I get out once a week.

The situation is made more infuriating in that we are trying to change, switching to a plan that will allow for me to hopefully have all that I need, but we are a year into the process now and nothing has changed. You are moved from one person to the next, phone calls, emails, meetings filled with promises of pushing things on, moving forward. To be left weeks later phoning, emailing, looking for the same answers.

How am I supposed to move forward, get a job, when I would have to schedule in a job interview with my mums work schedule, her most likely having to book a day off to take me.

I have so many plans, so much I want to do, but everything is just on hold, and it's taken its toll on me this year. Being in a low place is never something I talk about, I only tell those close to me when I feel like I'm on the other side. I don't want people to have that extra worry, everyone is doing the best they can for me, and I couldn't ask or want more from those around me.

It's not about being lonely, it's just having that nothing. Growing up my life was filled with hobbies, after my accident I threw myself into education, which for me has always been something I loved. Then I found the confidence in both myself and care to be able to do all those simple fun things I had always loved to do, without having to figure out weeks in advance. I could just go to the cinema, go to the supermarket and buy stuff to make pancakes. This years it's all gone. I'd even lost my enthusiasm for blogging because I just don't feel I have anything to say.

But...

There has been good, great things come of this year and I'm beyond grateful to be here and be apart of those moments. See my cousin and one of my best friends get engaged, another of my best friends get married and be right there besides her as her bridesmaid. The announcements of little babies joining our lives. All those little moments of happiness, laughs shared, time spent. It's these I hold on to as I move forward. I only have hope for what comes next. Hope that things come together, hope that I find my next path, even if it's just a step.

And as always I just want to say thank you, to everyone around me, you make this journey worth every up and down, your love and support big or small makes every hurdle that much easier.

Especially you momma, I love and appreciate everything, more than you could know. Even when you pull my hair :)