I haven’t talked so much lately about the disability side of my life, and specifically any stories as a ‘disabled’ entrepreneur/founder. Partly it’s because I’ve always wanted balance between the disability side of my identity and the many other elements that makes me me. Partly it’s because I’d written and spoken about the disability perspective of life a lot since creating online content in 2009. Partly it’s because I’ve been finding my way the past 3 years as a business owner, with so many new experiences to assimilate.
This September I’m turning 40, which on many levels doesn’t feel significant at all. Just another year that happens to have a zero on the end of it. Equally this year I’m seeing how hard I, and many others, found all that the pandemic brought with it. I’m seeing with some healthy distance how much happened at Purple Goat since launching in 2020, going from only me to a brilliant team of world changers.
In these 3 years I’ve learned and grown so much through all of the above and more. I’m feeling a lot of gratitude for getting through tougher times, having not given up, and looking ahead at exciting opportunities across all of my life with amazing people around me.
So the disability bit. Well, I’m still using my power chair to get around in my waking hours. I’ve been driving one for nearly 37 years now. I’m still needing 24/7 support from my brilliant PAs. I strive every day to accept needing a lot of physical support, and to show how much I appreciate the people who help me to live my life. I’m still using a hoist to transfer from the bed, to the bathroom and/or my wheelchair. These assistive technologies are so vital and important in my every day life. Health wise I’m pretty good. I can feel how having Spinal Muscular Atrophy has taken physical abilities from me that I had 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. But equally I’m doing way more at this age compared to the doctors prognosis in 1985 when I was diagnosed.
This last part around understanding, accepting and adapting to change is something I’d like to explore more over time. It’s a universal need, no matter what circumstances we’re thrust in to.
I’ve always been pretty sensitive in my personality. It’s something I’ve often valued about myself. Whenever my health took a dip, or my equipment broke, or care PAs moved on (resulting in finding and training new people), I’ve never been shy to talk about how much it can be frustrating and negatively effects me.
This isn’t something I want to ONLY write or talk about going forward. But I think I’ve neglected sharing it so rawly for the two reasons above – the pandemic and running Purple Goat. But I know and feel passionate about educating the world about disability and supporting the next generation of disabled change makers. Warts and all. So I’m comfortable sharing a bit more of my sensitive side again in my content.
While there’s going to be more entrepreneur/business/founder shenanigans. There’s also going to be more travel content (another thing I’ve missed but excited to return to), and a little more disability related shares too. Particularly on the mindset and strategies I use every day to get out of bed, let alone run a hugely impactful company, nurture my important relationship, stay healthy, grab awesome experiences, and enjoy every day.
It feels like having got through a pandemic and grown an innovative marketing agency, I’m ready to disrupt. Disrupting attitudes. Disrupting stereotypes. Disrupting inclusion. Disrupting marketing. Disrupting whatever needs disrupting!
(Feature image description – Martyn, a white male with short brown hair is smiling to camera on a train wearing a black polo shirt with Purple Goat written in white writing sat in his wheelchair with a tray table attached to it)