Sitting down with my laptop to write a blog post feels kind of weird, even though it’s been just five days since I last posted – gosh, that seems like a lifetime! It’s not even like anything much has happened since then; I’ve just had nothing to write about. I know how awful it is to read a post written by someone who is clearly writing because they feel they should, and not because they want to, and I didn’t want to inflict that upon you guys. so, in some ways, I suppose I took a slight blogging break, although I’ve been as active on
as ever. Regardless, your llama leader has returned to the Bloggosphere: the parties may now commence!
Before I get started, I’d just like to reiterate a message which I sadly find myself repeating time and time again. I’m sure many of you, like myself, follow the teen tag on wordpress, to find posts from both your favourite bloggers and from new faces among us: if you don’t, you probably should. Recently, however, there have been some rather dangerous people on that tag – nasty people. Without beating around the bush, they’re essentially paedophiles, attempting to ‘attract’ young teenage girls. This seems to be an issue which crops up time and time again, and now is just another of those times. Please, stay safe online, and report anything you see which is inappropriate: after all, you might be sensible enough to respond appropriately, but whill the person after you be as wise?
Public service announcement over…
I was travelling on Saturday; I went to train for the sport that I play, and then travelled back towards London in the evening. Travelling is nothing new to me, and nor is bad luck whilst travelling – I’m fairly sure that I’m cursed, actually. Still, I refuse to give in to the transport demons, however hard they try, because i’m a persistant little shit.
If you’re travelling in the UK by rail as a disabled person, you can book something called passenger assistance. In short, this means you get met at your first station, helped safely onto the train, and then met by another rail worker at your final station, or the next station at which you need to change trains. In theory, it’s a brilliant system, and I’m grateful that it exists here in the UK, as I’m more than aware that it does not in many other countries. All the same, it’s far from perfect, with all-too-common stories of disabled people being stranded at an unfamiliar station, or not being assisted from the train [in the case of wheelchair users], causing them to be unable to disembark the train at their stop. Some train stations have better reputations than others, and perhaps the station with the worst reputation in London is one that I use relatively frequently, not because it’snear me, but because it’s convenient to get to hundreds of places in the UK from.
I was at this station on Saturday, grabbing myself a coffee before my train departed; I had 40 minutes or so. After the routine shock at the price of a hot drink in London [£2.70 for a TINY coffee], I sat down. At the next table along, there was a family, consisting of a mother, a father and two little kids – no more than 4 or 5 years old. from their conversation, I gathered that they were catching the same train as me, and they were going on a family holiday.
As the departure time of my train drew closer and closer, I realised that the rail worker who was meant to help me to the platform and onto the train was not coming back.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I walked over to the table next to mine, where the family sat, and said:
‘Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but hear that you’re getting the’ [destination of train] ‘train. Would you mind helping me onto the train?’
I surprised myself. I wasn’t scared, or anxious; I didn’t contemplate every worst-case scenario in my head before asking; I didn’t stammer or glare desperately at the floor. I asked for help with… confidence?
They said they’d help, and after speaking to them on the train for a while, I discovered that they were a lovely family, with very sweet children.
I guess what I’m trying to say through this story is that things your worried or anxious about are rarely as bad as your brain would have you believe beforehand. This time just one year ago, i’d never have been able to ask a stranger for help – heck, I struggled asking my best friends for help! Somehow, in the last year, I’ve changed, and trust me, i’m not complaining about it.
This led me to think about what’s changed in me in the last year, and although I recognise that a lot has changed, I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps experience brings confidence, and confidence opens doors. I’ve definitely experienced a lot in the last year, in all areas of life – friendships, school, travel, publicity, and of course blogging. Some have been good, others negative, but I believe this one thing: in the end, they’ve all built the person I am today, sitting here, writing this blog post.