Every once in a while it’s important to reflect on how far you’ve come, and consider experiences, both good and bad. After reaching six years of blogging at ‘Life as a Cerebral Palsy student’ I had a good old think.
For the most part it was a feeling of pride about what I had been able to achieve in a relatively short time. Despite blogging for six years, most of my work has been achieved over the last two years. Even I struggle to comprehend how I have been managed the writing alongside my GCSE’s, A-Levels and now undergraduate degree. However, writing the blog has taught me more than what makes good blog copy.
When I stepped into the world of blogging, my aim was very clear: prove to everyone that having cerebral palsy is not a barrier to life. As a strong willed, but shy 15-year-old, this was achieved by documenting my experiences as a student, without telling friends and family about it. I’d created my own bubble on the internet, I was only concerned by aspects of achievement, often ignoring the reality and limitations that my disability presented. At the time, my mobility was deteriorating with my peers gaining independence just as I was losing it. Blogging was my last-ditch attempt at hanging onto elements of control, at a time when I felt like I had none.
Fast-forward a few years and the initial drive and determination is stronger than ever. However, my aims and direction have altered, ‘Life as a Cerebral Palsy Student’ strives to document (and share) every aspect. I write about the good and the bad, the hardest times and my greatest achievements. My blog is a more rounded piece that illustrates that we are capable, as well as showcasing the daily realities of competing in an able-bodied world with numerous disabilities.
I’ve learnt that it’s not a weakness for your disability to be all-consuming at times, and that it is these moments that take the most courage to share. On the other hand, it’s actually the raw experiences that will enable others to learn the most. By hiding this part of my life, I wasn’t doing anybody a favour. I wanted others with cerebral palsy to have someone to relate to and showing a rose-tinted view of the world would not achieve that. I wanted the general public to know more about cerebral palsy and what it’s actually like. This involves sharing the inequalities and admitting how hard a struggle it can be, yet this does not deduct from our capabilities.
Disability is hard work, draining and challenging. However, it is also beautiful, adventurous and eye-opening. I imagine being able-bodied is exactly the same. I’m so glad my blog has enabled me to see and appreciate both sides of life.
The most dramatic shift in the past 25 years has been towards online information.
Back in 1994 when Able Magazine launched, Yahoo.com was the leading search engine with Google only launching in 1996. Since then Able Magazine has developed its own popular website and social media platforms – and we were the first UK disability lifestyle magazine to introduce an app!
About Chloe Tear…
For the last five years, while working through her GCSEs, A-Levels and university degree, Chloe Tear has been writing her blog, Life as a Cerebral Palsy Student. The blog has attracted over 70,000 views and led Chloe to work with over 45 organisations including Scope, the Royal Institute of Blind People, Huffington Post, the BBC, Cosmopolitan and The Mighty.