One thing I love about being a disability blogger is the fact that I am able to interact with other like-minded bloggers.
I recently got chatting with the lovely Gemma over at Wheelescapades. We quickly realised we have a fair bit in common: we’ve both studied art, we have a mutual love for all things Disney, and we both have muscular dystrophy, albeit different forms.
So, we thought it would be fun to collaborate on a blog post. To learn even more about each other, we decided to ask 20 juicy questions. You can find my answers to Gemma’s questions over at her blog!
Here are her answers to my 20 questions…
1. What is your biggest ambition in life?
I wouldn’t say I’m the ambitious type. There’s lots of things I’d like to see and do as you’ll find out throughout my answers. But when it comes down to it I’d just like to be content and happy. For my friends and family to be too. It’s the simple things that make life.
2. What is your dream job?
I love anything arty and creative. I’m too indecisive to give you one dream job title, but I’d like to be in an atmosphere where I am surrounded by creativity. I enjoy making things, drawing, textiles and I’m going to say I would like to work in theatre design, costumes and props.
3. What do you most regret?
I don’t think I have any major regrets. That’s no way to live.
I do often regret not ordering dessert when I’m out with friends and theirs arrives leaving me sugar craved.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Although there are so many places I’d love to visit, I think I’m perfectly happy living where I am. I love England, it’s history, its heritage, the traditions, and yes the weather! I know it’s something everyone moans about, I’m guilty of that too. I know it can be unpredictable and awfully grey at times, but I like the differing atmospheres. We are lucky enough to get sun, snow and thunderstorms, but nothing too extreme or scary.
On a smaller scale I like the area I live in, Norfolk. I’m in a small town, not far from the city, the sea and the countryside. Norwich is a diverse city of art, architecture and music. I can also easily get to London.
5. Dream dinner party guests: if you could invite any 5 people, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
Alexander McQueen, Tim Burton, Andy Warhol, Stephen Hawkins, and Banksy. All creative, passionate and intelligent minds that know what they are/were and do their thing with conviction. Need I say more.
6. If you could visit any time period throughout history, when would it be and why?
Well I don’t think wheelchair access is going to be very reliable however far I travel back. As a mega Downton Abbey fan I’d love to dress 20’s style and attend one of Lady Mary’s Luncheons.
I’d also love to go back and spy on myself as a child, my Mum as a child or my grandparents.
7. If a genie were to grant you any 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
This is the one I’ve been struggling with (I take these questions seriously!). Do I go for the big things: world peace, a cure for SMA, an end to poverty?? Or the smaller stuff like a fully accessible luxurious house, enough money to help friends and family, to have a talent that can make me a living?? Basically it depends how good this genie is and what the rules are. There are always rules and consequences to these things! Maybe I shouldn’t rub the lamp…
8. What is your ideal holiday?
My dream is to visit Florence, Italy. The complications, discomfort and fear of losing or breaking my wheelchair has meant that I haven’t flown since I was a child.
I’m not a ‘by the pool girl’, although I do love a spa! My ideal holiday would involve seeing the sights, being around the locals, visiting little cafes, museums and galleries, plus a wheel along a river and cocktails on a roof – With warm but not sweltering weather. Don’t ask me where this destination is, although I’m open to suggestions.
9. If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
Cancel Brexit. Can I say that? Shouldn’t we have learned by 2017 a united world is a better world.
I think I might need longer than a day!
10. Who or what inspires you most in life?
I can be inspired by the simplest things. I wouldn’t say that one event or person has inspired me to be something. It can be a book I’ve read, a chat with a friend or a film I’ve seen. All these things can inspire thoughts, make me want to be a certain way or do a certain thing. In fact, I am often inspired just people watching. Seeing how people react can trigger a thought or idea.
11. Could you please share 3 interesting facts about yourself?
- I won first prize in a national textile design competition. My prize was to visit Première Vision in Paris.
- I eat almost everything with a fork, including Wotsits.
- I haven’t seen my natural hair colour since I was 16. I’ve had almost every colour, including blue and red at the same time. I’m now 32.
12. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Persistent, sarcastic, tea-drinker.
13. If you could spend one day in someone else’s shoes, who would it be and why?
Can I say my cat even though they don’t wear shoes?
I’d lay around on the windowsill, worry free, watching the day go by. Maybe take a little nap and have some chewy treats. Get “cooed” and massaged on the head if I’m good.
14. What is your biggest fear?
Spiders! I really do hate them. And unfortunately most of my PA’s do too. I didn’t think of that question when I interviewed did I?! – Job title ‘spider catcher’!
Umm on a more serious note… everyone’s fear: losing family and friends.
Disability-wise: losing strength, the independence I have and communication.
15. What annoys you most?
Although you haven’t read question 18 yet, you can refer to it here.
I think moaners annoy me the most (yes I know I moan too, we all do). You know those people that make a big deal of nothing. I know everybody is different, we all have our issues and our weaknesses. But people, stop sweating the small stuff and appreciate what you’ve got. Enjoy the washing up! Appreciate the walk to the shop for milk to make yourself a brew. Yes you’ll get colds, and they are irritating, but the likelihood is you’ll be over it in a few days.
16. What makes you happy?
Being around friends and family, my cats, a day in the sunshine and drinking tea. Netflix days, ache-free days, a facial at the spa, a good book, Seeing the end result of my craft project, festivals and the outdoors too!
17. If your life was a novel, what would the title be?
‘Wheelescapades’ – the title of my blog, as that took me long enough to think up. I’m no good at these things.
18. What is your disability, and what frustrates you most about it?
I have SMA 2 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2).
I think it’s probably the small things that frustrate me the most. The little day-to-day things that most people take for granted. Yes I’d love to travel the world problem free and have an amazing job without limitations. But it’s not just me, and my disability that doesn’t get that.
What I’d like is to be home alone (with at least 7 cats), make myself a brew, switch on the TV, do all the crafting I want and get up for a wee when required! I’d love to fall into bed exhausted (without connecting my feed and breathing machine), sleep comfortably and uninterrupted and meet a friend for breakfast at the drop of a hat. I’d even be up for doing the washing up!
Also I’d quite like to just have a cold without wondering if/when it will put me in hospital.
19. In theory, if a magical cure were available, would you want it or not?
Okay, I know I’m probably supposed to say no here, as someone who is trying to change people’s perception of disability, blah blah… But yes, I would take that cure. I wouldn’t change my past life for anything. If I could keep the knowledge I have, the friends and family I’ve got and the experiences I’ve been through, then yes, give me that cure!
20. Why did you become a blogger?
I get into some awkward, funny and difficult situations mainly due to my disability. I also get different experiences and treatment with/from people because I am a wheelchair user. My friends and I would always joke about this; the good and the bad, as a way of coping I guess. Sometimes you have to laugh or you’ll go crazy. Often saying “if only people could hear us” or “I should write a book of all this drama”. Well I guess blogging is my book of tales.
I also wanted a serious side to the blog. Not many websites give you the gritty details of a venue’s (in)accessibility. Yes, they are starting to declare themselves ‘wheelchair accessible’ or claim to have an ‘accessible toilet’. Bbut accessible can mean so many different things. Just getting through the entrance doesn’t make a venue accessible. I wanted to chart good and bad access and to get people to look at it more.
I’d like to thank Gemma aka Wheelescapades for taking the time to answer my questions, and for being so candid!
I’d also love to hear from you! How would you answer my 20 questions?? Please leave a comment.
To keep up to date with Gemma, go and check out her blog and connect with her on social media.