I was on a podcast this week. You may have heard about that. In fact, I suspect that many of you reading this are here because of that, if that is the case, my thanks and welcome!
This is likely to be the first of a couple of posts (if not more) on the things that have come up for me, and resurfaced after hearing myself back, in the car on Tuesday night on the drive in to rehearsal. This is the shorter post, with just some initial reactions because I can’t contain myself any longer! Also, I realised belatedly that my last post was a rather snarky satire on the poorer sides of ‘Mental Health Awareness’. I feel I should say at this juncture that, as the subheading of this blog says – it’s more complicated than that, and indeed so am I.
I’ve received some amazing feedback in both my personal circle, and more widely in the cyberverse after the podcast dropped, it was amazing to read people’s responses to my words and terribles and I feel privileged that so many have shared with me. One of the striking things has been the high proportion of people with cerebral palsy (it’s pronounced more than one way?!), saying that they recognised some of the conflict in the way CP is seen, by those with disability, those without, and our society as a whole – three different angles that often cannot agree. The validation that I’ve felt through those responses has been more than I could ever have hoped for. I remember the first session I had with my current therapist, when I decided to go back into therapy because my relationship with my body was newly toxic. I had never heard a disabled person express the sheer rage, confusion, fear and grief that I was experiencing – and at various times still experience – though much has changed over the 18 months I’ve been working on this. I remember vividly saying “I don’t even know if this is a thing!” I can now say with increasing solidity, that yes, this relationship with my own body that is so very complicated and often awful – is something that I am allowed to have.
I was stunned when Hans contacted me about an episode, but I’m so glad that I responded to that interest. TTFA has been a major part in a gradual, ongoing process of me finding ways to understand myself through sharing. I really think there’s an incredible value in spaces to tell your story. I think that people understand on a surface level, how catharsis can be important. That feeling of relief, release and internal pressure. But I think that is often to undersell just how valuable such experiences and spaces can be. Catharsis is not simply a primal scream of emotions long repressed. It’s an admission of our truer selves, our identity, our whole being. Our golden and our broken.
I will have more in the coming days, but I just felt it was right to put something out into the blogosphere at this time. If there’s anything you want to ask/vent/talk about, on my perspectives on disability, identity, mental health and the intersections of those or anything else! – just drop me a line here or on twitter. Or y’know – there’s a whole load more on this blog!
Author’s note I: This may be the shortest entry I’ll ever write in this space – note this for rarity value.
Author’s note II: It seems a lot of people like an English accent, if my student debt situation gets out of control in the next few years – I’m strongly considering a Patreon page where people can pay for me to say random shit in my undeniably English accent.