The contradiction

I met with Andy of Andy’s Kars at his garage in Bar Hill on Saturday. He has been working on my vans adaptations in the positive sense through the past weeks of trauma. Not only has he sorted my car after the ongoing problems he is an amazing guy generally. While he runs a garage he also does a lot more. In working with disadvantaged kids he helps them to take responsibility for overcoming their ‘challenges’ as he calls them. While it was amazing to meet Andy and see the great work he does in training these kids to become mechanics, and improve so much more themselves, he said one broader thing around the inspirational talks he gives that has resonated so much I want to blog on this subject. I also met with a director of a disability charity called HAFAD last night who made very similar comments around this. More to come on Kamran and his work soon.

In chatting around my aspirations during a general catch up they both struck on somewhat of a contradiction I and many other disabled people have. Personally I see myself as an outgoing, confident person. I love socialising with good people and have aspirations to one day manage a team of like minded people towards a common goal that will leave a small legacy when I’m gone. Sounds a bit cliché but I want to harness business with disability for a better outcome for all involved. Details are hazy at present but I am thinking all the while what this may actually play out as.

The contradiction is I am not always confident in my ability to achieve something significant and doubt not only myself but how others see me. I have discussed the journey I take people on from meeting and them losing stereotypes, but I think professionally or aspirationally its another matter. Having gone to uni, travelled and living independently I sometimes feel that my ambition is too much, or not necessary, and I should stick to being content where I am. It clearly is a balance to strike, but overall it is a contradiction. Would a non-disabled person at 26 with a Masters degree reduce their hopes and dreams so starkly? No! because they can progress with less barriers but its also expected and the norm to move on.

I’ve realised now that while the social model is so important – society needs to make the physical environment accessible and have more open attitudes – there is a lot of need for disabled people to be strong in themselves. “Social conditioning” is when you behave the way that people expect you to. Its all too easy to fall into this trap. Every disabled person needs to know themselves, their limits and challenges but also to aim high. Everyone can achieve what they set out to, it just takes some planning, patience and time.

For me having felt like such a small fish in a big pond in London, feeling vulnerable with contentious care decisions and other worries I have decided to wipe a clean slate. I’m not going to move at the speed of light but I am going to think on with my dreams in a manageable/attainable way. I am going to be that confident, sociable ambitious person I know I am and enjoy the ride, not question myself as much as I readily have of late.