From Waist Height and Wearing 9
I can pass as normal. Sometimes.
When I’m sitting down.
At least I think I can, you may disagree.
It hasn’t always been like this. In old photos I look so different. I am still ill and some days I look it.
I don’t want to pass.
I want to dress in a way which suits me. I want to look a way I think looks good. Which is a little conservative and old-fashioned for style these days. And I know spring fashions and am still not convinced tangerine will do anything for me.
But where do we cross the line between feeling good, well turned out and empowered and hiding.
Between invisibility and disability is an ocean we can get lost in.
Our bodies are different.
But if our spines curve and we dress to try and hide that shape, if our stomach or our pgej, or our ports stick out this brings new challenges. We may not want everyone we meet to know our business and see everything. People make comments, they don’t understand, the judge sometimes.
It might be the 50th time that day you have explained what a stent is and why you have one. Why should you have to? It’s your business. Being ill does not obligate you to being on display. We are not their reality TV show, or inspirational tear-jerker-film, in living, breathing colour, live right
now (for a limited time only).
We are fallible, beautiful, feet-of-clay humans, one among millions.
I can see why we don’t want to be asked the questions, and why we might choose to conceal what is happening in our lives.
But sometimes we so desperately want to be “normal” that we can try to pass. And when that requires us to push beyond our limits “Yes, I can do that (because I’m not sick)”. When we are hiding because we are ashamed of the disabilities and diseases we are living with then passing becomes a problem.
There is hatred at the root of this. We all go through different aspects of acceptance, of denial, of trying to return to how things were before and this is all normal. And you will live through it.
But if day-in-night-out you feel the need to hide what you are living with. If you feel it makes you lesser in some way then maybe some examination of the social norms and beliefs around illness and wellness you hold would be a good idea.
And if you are struggling with living with illness while working, come to our Sick Chick to Trail Blazers’ Conference.
Sick Chick to Trail Blazers Conference No.1:
Women Entrepreneurs working with Disabilities, Chronic Illness and Caring.
:: When your brand is around wellness/illness what happens when you get worse (or better?)
:: If you are not ‘out’ as living with illness, what do you tell clients when pain flares?
:: How can one balance openness and professionalism?
:: If you say you are sick will you still get hired?
:: How can your challenges help your business?
I know I am living with this.
It can be hard, and not talked about much yet.
Many are struggling, fear, shame and isolation are happening.
The conference will create community, solidarity, trouble-shoot practical challenges, instigate new realisations and shift consciousness towards self care, pride and empowerment.
Where: Online via Teleconference and secret Facebook group.
When: Tuesday 24th April, 7pm (UK), 2pm (EST), 1pm (CST), 12 midday (MST), 11am (PST).
What you get:
:: Monthly Teleconference.
:: Group and one on one coaching on the call.
:: Secret Sick Chick to Trail Blazer Facebook group.
:: Guest interviews.
:: Energy work
Pricing: $15 (£10) per conference.
With special guests Kyeli from Connection Revolution and Michelle from When I Grow Up Coach.
Get your Trail Blazing Ticket Here.
Vintage russian skirt from my sister.
Brown gifted chiffon blouse.
Pink and white jewelled vintage brooch.
Hair rose from local haberdashery.
Gloves vintage Cornelia James.
Crutches from Cool Crutches.
As always thank you to the wonderful Jon Hobbs for photography.