The power of words and ‘speaking out’

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Its been an interesting few days to say the least.  On Saturday morning, I wrote about an incident involving Fran and I.  It was then picked up by a few people followed by a response in the form of an open letter to ‘John.’

Since then, unbelievably, those blogs have been read by literally thousands of people from half way across the world.  It wasn’t something I expected to happen.  Today, thanks to some brilliant support from my lovely work colleagues, there was some press interest.  It was one of those rare instances where my personal and professional lives became intertwined. Tomorrow, there is more press…so i’d better write up this blog promptly!!

Where does all this leave me feeling?  Partly still a bit conflicted.  I’m still reflecting on what happened.  Partly that annoys me..why should I let it get under my skin so much?  I think that this annoyance also shows two more things. Firstly, that I have lots more to learn about everything in life. Secondly, there is a long way to go in terms of disability equality too.

Above all though, I’m taking it as a positive thing.  It’s been a way to raise awareness about disability and get people talking and thinking, which is good.  Fran has taken it all in her stride, and has seen it in a similar way.  She’s a real rock for me.  I’d be lost without her..though that’s between you and I! 🙂

Another important thing is not to dwell on negatives.  Life is such a precious thing that it doesn’t do to overly focus on the past.  You have to dust yourself down, get on with it, moving forward with your head held high and the positive lessons learned.  I also tweeted about resilience, and its important to have that too.

It has also made me realise a few things i’m not.  I’m not defined by my disability (its a part of me, not the sum of me), i’m not wrong to speak out, and i’m not the only one.  I have got lots of messages from people who have has similar experiences (and far worse in my view) so we have to keep talking.  It is through difficult (sometimes painfully) honest conversations that we’ll make progress.

Speaking of progress…if this humble blog can ‘go global’ it also shows the power we all have to reach others – and the importance of speaking out.  However daunting it may seem, don’t be afraid to do so. You never know where it might take you, and how it can positively impact on others. I’d encourage you, dear reader, to personally speak out too 🙂

Lastly..thank you.  I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, empathy and support that has been sent in our direction over the last few days. The support is genuinely appreciated, and the difference it makes massive.

Wishing you all the best for now dear readers..until next time 🙂

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About the Author

Chris Whitaker was born and grew up in Cheshire, arriving in the world with cerebral palsy after a complex childbirth. Apparently, he was lucky to be here at all and has tried to make the most of life ever since! Chris has worked in the third sector for a few years now and is also a charity trustee. Making a positive difference every day is what drives him and he gets to see the impact the third sector makes. Chris has also been able to use his own lived experience as a disabled person to make an input into his working life.

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