*CRINGE WARNING!* I’ve been asked a few times by online blogs and mags, and also most recently by the AMAZING charity that I work with Enhance The UK to blog about relationships, gaining confidence and my JOURNEY in the dating world as a disabled woman. If you can’t deal with descriptions of ridiculously embarrassing scenarios, terrible 00’s hair and make up looks or the “plight” of an extremely emo young woman please click X now.
To make this easier for you all I am going to categorise each “stage” of the journey… AND because I didn’t last time (due to the serious nature of the blog) I am going to do my usual scene setting paragraph before we begin.
DRINK: Gin and FRIGGIN TONIC! It’s been a long day, my baby is sick and life is absolutely insane at the moment, but that is for another time.
BLOG THEME TUNE: JA RULE – Pain is love, I am trying to get into the mindset of preteen me. I’m not going any further back as I think blogging to Aaron Carter and Aqua may present itself as a slight challenge.
OUTFIT OF CHOICE: The worlds best neon combats, black tshirt, black hoodie, trusty beanie and glasses covered in 90% of todays foundation. Also Featuring note on hand to remind me to write this and dirty broken nails.
Younger Years – Right, let’s go ALLLLLL the way back to primary school Kelly. Looking back on this age, and now having my son it’s CRAZY to even think that kids at primary school start to notice or even care about the opposite sex. God knows what it’s like now, probably more TINDR than Tamagotchis. Being young Kelly was GREAT! I was little, cute and I could walk pretty damn well… and even if I couldn’t I was still given Gold medals for “Winning” running races much to the other kids dismay (thanks Old school PC Britain). Young Kelly had long mousey hair, cool hair bands, and those awesome shoes from clarks that you unlock with a key. She also had LOADS of “boyfriends”. As my health began to deteriorate towards the end of primary school I noticed so did the interest from the boys in my class. This was pretty hard for a 10/11 year old girl to deal with, I became pretty self conscious and I think in part that is why I was so adamant that I kept up my walking and my independence. I remember being presented with my first electric wheelchair in assembly and wanting the ground to swallow me up. Yeah, that happened.
Cringe Dating story from this time: My first “boyfriend” and I were caught “kissing” behind his moms sofa. Haha, young love!
Secondary School Kelly PT. 1 – This was probably one of the biggest turning points in my life as there was SO much change. Stupidly, as I think most kids do I imagined “high school” to be as it is featured on American TV, Glee clubs, cheerleaders and spontaneous musical interludes. I spent days dreaming of which “clique” I would belong to and making sure my tiny highlights were on POINT. I actually 100% believed that I was the SHIT, probably naively but GOD bring back that self belief as an adult I would be dangerous. Much to my dismay my slicked back pony tail, moon face and huge dimples left A LOT to be desired and there was no jock with curtains waiting to steal my heart. High School was SCARY, it was big, I had to use my chair EVERYWHERE and the majority of the kids were standoffish and mean. Despite this, and mainly because I am arrogant I still believed that I was really cool, people were just misinformed and one day they would learn. Although in my head I was AWESOME, I never had any interest from boys, I was going around in an oversized (not in a cool way) blazer and trousers from Marks and Spencer with the folds down the front. I was seriously tragic.
Cringe Dating story from this time: There wasn’t much going on for year 7/8 Kelly! She hadn’t even discovered tweezers, so please bare with.
Secondary School Kelly PT 2 – Right, so, after a good two years of being weird and blissfully unaware I had an awakening of sorts, realising that I was often patronised, treated like a child and pretty misunderstood I started to go online. The internet was where I learnt A LOT! And for the most part online I wasn’t “the girl in the wheelchair” I was judged for my personality and my looks without seeing the wheelchair first. This is where I really came into my own, talking to guys all over the UK racking up hundreds of pounds in phone bills talking late at night under the covers. It was amazing, and while I told a select few about my chair, not everyone needed to know. This is where I discovered that dating was pretty simple. I also developed a love for “metal” and ’emo” music, changing my aesthetic to the cliche black hair, eye liner, converse and checkered wristbands. I found that the people on this scene talked about emotions and were open and honest, there weren’t many awkward moments because it was kind of cool to be different. Don’t worry…that didn’t stop me from making my own awkward moments.
Cringe Dating story from this time: Although at this time I had pretty much accepted a lot about myself… I was still VERY self-conscious and tried to walk wherever possible. I was with a date and I got back to my parents house I then got out of my chair to go up in the lift (yeah pointless!) with REALLY cold legs, I then fell over and had to sit on the floor all the way upstairs in the lift and use the hoist in the bathroom to get me back to my feet. SMOOTH!
College Kelly – Oh dear LORD! No one wants to know about college Kelly. College Kelly was way, way, WAY too sure of herself and way to open about talking about anything and doing anything (well pretty much) with anyone. This was a stage where I was determined to prove to people that I was “normal” whilst at the same time having a secret belief that somehow I was outsmarting almost everyone. Despite this, I had a few relationships at this time (including one with my husband) that taught me a hell of a lot about myself and my value. I pretty much discovered love, definitely lust also and I think for the first time having meaningful relationships where I could be completely honest (friends and partners) allowed me to truly start to realise who I was, or who I was becoming.
Cringe Dating story from this time: Sending Jaz out of the room as I didn’t want any help from anyone (independent woman) and taking bloody AGES to take my clothes off.
Post-college, working Kelly – This was a hard point in my life where I was taken away from the crazy days of college, drinking Jack Daniels, smoking and hanging out on the roof of car parks and thrown into a pretty decent, adult-ish job in the NHS. I was also in a pretty serious relationship with an ex. This relationship, while good in parts taught me a lot about what wasn’t right, or particularly healthy about some relationships, for me as well it taught me a lot about how an interabled relationship SHOULDN’T work. I’m very outgoing, outspoken and pretty independent considering there are some things that I can’t do alone. However, that was used against me quite often and I put myself in quite a few positions that were pretty questionable and unsafe.
Cringe Dating story from this time: This was a more serious time in life for me and I suppose I was more settled in myself so there isn’t much cringe (there probably is but I can’t remember much of it!). I think the biggest note from me is don’t rush into things, don’t accept things and know your worth! I think at this point I was trying to make myself normal, put myself into a “normal” relationship and hit all of the milestones. I’d also found an able-bodied relatively ok-ish human to love? me and for some reason I thought that was my mission. I think accepting that it wasn’t right and moving away from that was a huge, huge learning curve and it has definitely played some part in shaping who I am today.
Now Kelly – God, now Kelly is even more of a mess than all of the other Kellys put together. Kelly now has a one year old son, a husband and still dresses and sometimes acts like a teenager! I never saw myself as a Mom, but honestly, it’s the most cliche thing to say but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Like, before Mason.. what did I even do? What is the point in life without the weird goofy dribbly thing that we’ve created. Having my son has allowed me to love my body and love all of the things that I can do for him, no matter how big or small. I’m lucky in the life that I have found love with others but more importantly with myself and that I no longer have to be that girl that wonders if she is good enough and has the Ariel complex day dreaming about being “up where they walk, run and play all day in the sun.” etc. (side note neither do I brush my hair with a fork). Now I’m married, I have a kid, I have a house and all I wanted before was a flashing MSN alert on my computer from a current love interest.. SO, I think I’m doing pretty well for myself.