I am going to London tomorrow, and I can’t wait. I’ll get to spend four full days with Lyn, which is probably the longest time we’ve been together. I’ll have to start packing soon, but that should only take half an hour of rummaging, chucking clothes about my room and generally making a mess. Mind you, I’m not sure what to take.
The subject of clothes turned up in the news. I think in Britain we are very fortunate: here, as in other western democracies, we can wear what we want, pretty much. I can go down the pub in a dress, or through the campus gym in a zentai suit. It might turn a few heads or raise a few eyebrows, but I won’t get arrested. In terms of personal expression, I can do whatever I like.
However, it seems that this isn’t the case worldwide. A Sudanese woman has recently been sentenced to 40 lashes and a fine of $100 just for wearing trousers. Such cases, of course, split liberals like me in two: do we respect the views of other cultures, upholding the principals of non-interference a la star trek’s prime directive? Or do we side with the individual and individual freedom? This also recalls my own contradictory stance on religion: I believe that, while religion is a form of mind control that we could all do without, people have a right to worship what, who and how they wish. Nobody has the right to tell anyone what to think.
By the same token, we don’t have the right to tell the Sudanese government what laws to make; yet the same ethos holds that the Sudanese government has no right in telling it’s citizens what they cannot wear. The two positions are mutually exclusive, yet stem from the same philosophy. So, while my gut reaction is to intervene in this barbarity, this is tempered by the knowledge that, to them, it is not barbarous.
I suppose Congleton is okay. It looks like I’ll be here for a while now. Thing is, unless my parents throw me out and I declare myself homeless, I have next to no chance of getting a council home. We did think about buying a place and converting it ourselves, but I have to agree with my father is right and such an investment wouldn’t be sensible right now. I’m not even sure where I want to live. So, for the time being, it looks like I’m staying put.
I guess it’s not that bad. I have broadband, food, and my clothes; three things which, along with beer, I cannot live without. I’m also investigating the bus services to Crewe and Macclesfield. If I can get to Crewe, I can visit Esther or lee; I can also go from there to Chester, to visit charlotte, or get the train to London to visit Lyn. The thing is, the bus from macc to Crewe, which goes via Congleton, is more often than not a double Decker. I just emailed Arriva Transport for the times of the accessible busses, so fingers crossed. Truth is, I’d feel much more free if those busses were accessible, or if I knew when the accessible ones were. Ho hum. In a way, my freedom is dependant on that bus being accessible.
I just watched a bbc3 programme on beauty pageants for little girls. While it obviously brings them joy, I find myself appalled at the amount of stock these girls’ parents put in the need to look beautiful. To them, looking good is everything. It may surprise you, despite my obsession with feminine clothes, that I disagree. What matters is the person inside the dress, so what does it matter how you look? Whether I’m in a skirt, trousers, or a leotard, I’m still me, and I think by going out in such things I demonstrate that. I know that, to some, I might look ugly, but that’s the point. We are all different, all equal, all special and all beautiful. But such competitions help to uphold a very narrow definition of beauty, quantifying it, saying some are more beautiful than others. I wouldn’t mind the dressing up and dancing and stuff – it lookss like fun – but at the level at which it teaches kids that some are beautiful but most are ugly, I find them harmful and repugnant.
It’s strange. I’m aware of the contradiction in liking to dress up and looking pretty, but knowing too that beuty is only skin deep.
CaMoron has today described the economic mess he would inherit were he to become prime minister as daunting. Frankly, what daunts me is the mess he would make for the likes of me were he to become PM. Any Tory government will make cutbacks in spending and rush to the aid of industry and individualism. This everyman-for-himself philosophy benefits only the most able and privileged in society, thus maintaining the status quo. If you think about it, it is wasteful. People like us, were the Tories to be elected, would be left by the wayside. Thus I am furious about the stupidity and short-sightedness of the people of north Norwich. I find CaMoron’s talk of fairness laughable, for it is clear that he means fair only for the rich and privileged. And to hear him accuse labour of lying about the Tories almost made me physically sick. I’m dreading the next election, and would strongly urge any crip considering voting Tory to really think about what their plans would mean for us.
Well, I’m back. After 6 years, I’m sat in the spot where the butterfly first flapped her wings, only things are different. And I don’t just mean my roomhas been redecorated. As predicted, Lyn’s chatting on msn, and c and my other friends are beaming down at me from their photos. University has changed me: I was once so timid, half afraid of the big wide world. But now I feel I can do anything. While the future is still unclear, I somehow doubt I’ll be sat here for too long.
I started this film in my first year, and never got round to uploading it, it seems appropriate that tonight I finish it. Its funny how prophetic the backing track was.
I went over to Nantwich earlier, to visit the grave of my friend rich. I had to, as it would have been my last chance before going home. Busses between Crewe and Congleton are usually inaccessible. I’m not sure why though: it’s just a stone sticking out of the ground in a row of such stones, yet something forces me back to that goddamn place. Richard was a good friend, and a great man. My time at uni has been great, but I’ll never forget the day I set out from campus to find him. Thus, the story of my time here is also the story of my relationship with Richards’s death. I don’t often think about it these days, but when I do, it hurts like hell.
Check this out. I know Nadia from Onevoice, and, truth be told, I’m not surprised she’s doing well. She is probably brighter than I am, and if she has even half the energy of her mother she’ll be a real force to be reckoned with. I reckon it’s a toss up between her and Katie Caryer as to who becomes our first disabled prime minister.
The article touches upon the inclusion debate. While the needs of individual children must be taken into account, to reverse the policy of inclusion, as CaMoron proposes, thereby putting the majority of kids with SEN back into special schools, is abhorrent. It would do far more harm than good. My parents pushed me, but had they not done so, had they left Hebden to ‘educate’ me, I doubt I would be sat here. Hell, I doubt id be literate! So while I see the points of those who urge caution, I remain convinced that inclusion must proceed. After all, to go back to the subject of Monday’s waffle, how can we celebrate diversity if we are all kept separate?
As Lyn says in her comment, I had no net for most of yesterday, nor much of today. It’s been playing up in halls. I wouldn’t mind, but I need the net to communicate with my girlfriend, and I miss her if I don’t speak to her regularly. Indeed, the internet is where we met in the first place. As a matter of fact, without the net none of this would have happened: a simple google search in 2003 lead me to south Cheshire college, who proposed I apply to uni. This lead me to MMU where I could let myself loose in brandies. Photographs were taken which eventually got on to youtube. These, in turn, gained the attention of Lyn, who contacted me, and the rest, as they say, is history. Moreover, without that google search I would never have met Esther, Charlie, Emma, Steve, or any of my closest friends. I wouldn’t have been able to get back in contact with lee Mayer either. Talk about the butterfly effect.
On Friday I move out of halls for the last time. I’ll miss this place – campus, my little room, this desk. It has served me well these last five years. Ironically enough, dad will soon be setting up my pc on the desk in my room back home where this great adventure began. It will almost be like it never happened, but only until I see Lyn flashing on msn, or look up to the pictures Charlie gave me, of the green zentai suit, and of our trip to Paris. Then I’ll know it wasn’t a dream, and account it high time for another google search.
I have been naval gazing again, and I think I’ve managed to resolve a few paradoxes. I was thinking about Lyn, and how utterly unique she is. Well, there can’t be very many transpeople with cerebral palsy out there. I also find the strength she must have had in overcoming the pressures to conform incredible. Yet, at the same time, Lyn is normal: she’s just a woman going about her life, same as everyone else.
I think we are all normal, because normality exists at the level at which we are all unique. Think about it: we’re all different, and thus all the same. I came to the conclusion that we must celebrate this. we must celebrate our diversity. Only then can we see that our differences are both valuable and irrelevant.
A good illustration of this duality is the fact that disability exists in virual worlds like second life. There is no reason that people should use wheelchairs in such worlds other than as a celebration of diversity. It’s like saying, ”hi guys, this is me. I’m a bit different, but I’m also just like you.” Such users are showing that they have the strength to be themselves, irrespective of societal and other pressures to conform. While such worlds are ideal places in which to play around with identity, such users have used them to make valid political points about inclusion and diversity. More power to them, I say.
Similarly, I was musing earlier about how great it would be to have a character like Lyn in a story. I’d make a fictionalised version of her, of course, but how great would such a character be in playing out stories of diversity, inclusion and acceptance. I also have other artistic plans for Lyn, involving cameras, but that’s another story. The bottom line is, though, the only way for people to see how similar we all are is to celebrate our uniqueness.