Thursday, 21 December 2017

Looking Back On 2017

When the end of the year comes about I am always guilty of proclaiming that I've not achieved anything, I think this comes from being disabled and measuring myself against non-disabled people, I always feel like such a failure when I look at what my non-disabled friends are achieving. Even though I've done things that they will never do. Loved ones around me are always quick to correct me and point out everything I've accomplished though and I'm very grateful for that reminder.

On the surface 2017 would appear to have been an awful year for me, and in some ways it has been. I split up with my long term partner, moved back in with my family sharing a room with my Mum. I dealt with, and am still dealing with, some pretty heavy personal stuff . My chronic pain got worse and trips out my home became few and far between. I could go on. That's the big stuff, the things that are easy to pick out, but it's the small things that I quite often forget that I want to highlight today. I'm splitting this post up into achievements and then things that I've just enjoyed doing; some of which just happen to be an achievement for me as well! It's been a year of firsts!



I wanted to mention this first for those who don't already know... my powerchair is fully funded! Two large donations from author Jojo Moyes and her husband took us up to 100% during the first week of December. I still can't quite believe it. It wasn't just my achievement though, everyone who shared or donated shares this one. We raised £11,500 in just 3 months and that is nothing short of incredible. The powerchair has now been ordered and we hope that it will be ready sometime during January, an amazing start to 2018!


This year was the year that I finally accessed the mental health support I needed, part of this was down to the underfunded NHS services and partly down to me not being ready. I went once, made a load of progress, and then finished. The achievement in my eyes was when I recognised that I was going downhill again and needed to return. If I didn't go to CBT then I wouldn't have seen that I was desparately unhappy in my relationship, which has since ended. I owe a lot to my time at CBT, it's not for everyone and to be honest we mostly just talked instead of putting techniques in place, but it truly changed my life and opened my eyes to my unhappiness.


2017 was the year that I really made more effort to make change in whatever way I could. I got a couple of shops to put in ramps, I helped a bus company to make some changes for their wheelchair using passengers and I educated as many people as possible on Twitter and my blog about disability issues. I also became more involved in the disability community on twitter and instagram, as well as educating myself on issues that affect other minorities, and I've enjoyed every single bit of that. I've made so many friends and being inspired by so many other disabled people to embrace my disability, enjoy style and fashion, and use my voice. I feel like I found my place as a disabled person this year.


2017 was the year that I learnt so much about myself and my confidence grew more than it ever has before. I think a mixture of immersing myself in the disability community online, walking away from a relationship that was making me unhappy and enjoying posting more 'powerchair outfit' images can take the credit for this. I feel confident in the words I speak, in the actions I take and I also feel more confident when it comes to style and my disability. I cannot wait to post more outfit photos in 2018, I never had myself down as a 'fashion blogger' but I've loved sharing photos, even if it's just on Instagram,


This year I've taken part in a lot of different media projects and pieces, something I was passionate about throwing myself into at the start of 2017 so I'm pretty happy that I managed to make it happen. I was on the local radio, when living in Hull, more times than I can count, and I took part in The Guardian's Disability Diaries series during the second half of the year, something I'm pretty damn proud of. I also raised awareness of Marfan Syndrome in the media, sending out my own press releases to various online magazines and websites. I can most definitely tick this off my 2017 goals list!


As I mentioned above, it was going to CBT that made me realise how desperately unhappy I was in my relationship, how much I was sacrificing and how many excuses I was making and part of this realisation was learning how to be selfish. In society we deem selfish to be a negative word but in 2017 I learnt the importance of putting yourself first. Since breaking up with my ex I've put myself first in everything I do and I've made no apologies for it. I'd really recommend you do the same in 2018, it's really quite liberating.



I technically became an aunty to my nephew in 2016 but he was born in November so he didn't really do much other than eat, sleep and poop for that time, it was in 2017 that he became a proper little human. He's now 1 and is walking, talking, giggling, and generally being an adorable squishy little human. I love him to pieces. When I was still living up north he would often be wary of me when I visited because I wasn't around all the time but since moving down south we've become little best friends. Right now one of his favourite things to do is dance and let me tell you, there is no cuter site than your 1 year old nephew having a boogie in your living room.


In June 2017 I finally came out as bisexual/queer. I wouldn't have come out if I didn't want to write about my identity as a queer, disabled person because my bisexuality really wasn't a big deal to me. I'm lucky that my Mum isn't bothered by it, in fact I told her in a supermarket car park because she was talking about how it would never bother her if me or my siblings were LGBT, right time, right place sort of thing. I was also in a heterosexual relationship at the time of writing that post, so it didn't seem necessary to come out. I've since realised that it's a huge part of my identity though and going to Hull Pride, which was UK Pride in 2017, was one of my favourite days out of the whole year. It felt right, I felt at home, I felt comfortable. I really can't wait to attend Pride again this year and to be able to enjoy the whole day comfortably (I'll have my new powerchair by then). I'm excited to explore that side of my identity in 2018.


2017 was a year of new experiences and it started off with heading to the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, and being one of the youngest people on the wheelchair accessible row of seats. It was an amazing night and the dances blew me away even more in person, I would love to be able to go to the 2018 one but Dancing on Ice starts again soon with their own tour after and I think that might just appeal more at the moment! I also attended my first festival, the BBC Big Weekend, which happened to held in Hull, where I was living at the time. In terms of pain it was difficult, really difficult, but it was so worth it. I saw some of my favourite bands like Christine & The Queens, Bastille and the ever so disappointing Kings of Leon. I also met paralympians Ellie Simmonds and Susie Rodgers which was a bit cool!


During September I had my eagerly anticipated photoshoot with the wonderful Kaye who made me see myself in a totally different light. Of course I wanted some nice photos for my blog but mainly it was a personal thing, I'd seen how beautiful she'd made everyone look and I wanted to feel amazing too, by that point of the year I really needed a bit of a boost and that was exactly what she gave me. I treasure the photos and am gutted that I have shared them all but I can't wait for my next shoot with her, which will be soon after I get my new powerchair!

Honourable mentions also go to attending the Bloggers Blog Awards in Leeds, writing for a magazine, seeing the street that some iconic Sherlock scenes have been filmed on and working with the BHF.


So, that's 2017! The good bits anyway! It's certainly been a rollarcoaster of a year and I already know that 2018 has some amazing things in store for me, hopefully I'll be kicking off the year with the delivery of my new powerchair and then at some point during the year I should be moving into my own place! I'm excited, and terrified, but seeing what I achieved this year with half the confidence and strength I have now is making me wonder how much I can do in the coming years.


  1. I have LOVED watching you blossom as an activist and generally as a human being this year, Shona. I'm so excited for what 2018 holds for you, starting with that new power chair!

    Lis / last year's girl x


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