Welcome to my 100th post.
That's 100 little billets-doux from me to you. If you have read the whole lot then you've read well over 50,000 words.
I've had a little rummage around the blogosphere to see how this blog compares to others of a similar ilk. I don't just mean other disability themed blogs but others in the whole 'online journals and personal sites` category as defined by the clever people at Google Analytics. Apparently such sites get an average of just over 1 visit per day. This site averages 27.4 at How To Be An Inspiration and 45.8 at Disaboom, so on average, I am delighted to report, 67.2 come and at least glance at what's been written every day. It's harder to work out if it is the same demented person is obsessively visiting time and time again or lots of different people. Google Analytics helps again and tells me that (at least) 250 separate individuals visit How To Be An Inspiration and I can extrapolate that (approximately) another 500 at Disaboom. So, if you are reading this you may well be one of some 750 regular readers. Okay, it's not world beating but I'm pleased. If you are not a regular reader then you probably think you've wandered in to a maths lesson. Sorry. I won't mention stats again until the anniversary post next April.
I love writing this blog for a number of reasons. When I was touring with a theatre company a few years ago we regularly attended festivals and youth camps. I think it must have been in the late 80s and we were performing at an international youth camp when one of the organisers approached me and said “you must meet Toni”. Toni turned out to be a young women in a wheelchair. We were introduced and left a lone with each other on a balcony over looking a sea of tents. “Hello,” I said. “Hello,” said Toni. We sat together for ten minutes hardly saying a word to each other. Then Toni said “I hate it when they do this. You're in a wheelchair, I'm in a wheelchair...” “We must be friends!” I finished. As it turned out Toni and I got on fine but the only thing we had in common was that we both used wheelchairs. The truth is I don't have disabled friends. I have a disabled brother and had a disabled father so I'm not against cripples per se, but aside from some acquaintances and the guy who checks the tickets at the cinema, I don't know other disabled people. And quite frankly I was happy with the way things were. After all, if they were all as moany and ill humoured as me, then why bother? But then, back in April I started this blogging business and found myself in touch with the online 'disabled community' and what do you know? There are loads of them out there, the sick, the lame and blind, and not all of them are whining and witless. In fact, quite a few are funny and fun to be in contact with. I've come to genuinely appreciate being part of a community of people who share a lot of the problems, joys and world views that I have. It has been a real bonus to the main reasons I write this material.
I started this blog because I had become aware that my condition, FSH Muscular Dystrophy, was undergoing one of its periodic periods of decline. Movements and transfers were becoming harder and as a result I was pulling muscles and hurting myself' more frequently. I could feel myself withdrawing and pulling inwards. Polly had been encouraging me to start writing again and I'd just bought a new laptop PC with enough processing power to decipher my handwriting scrawl and was keen to try it out. I'm not saying that I was depressed or contemplating my mortality but I was aware that I have led an atypical life for a severely disabled person. I'm married with children, have worked and travelled, lived independently and come as close to death as it is possible to get but survived. I've met and worked with many interesting people, won awards, been betrayed and been loved. Come to think of it I'm not sure anyone, disabled or otherwise, has a typical life, but the fact remains, I have stories to tell; stories I wants my children to know. I'd also like friends and people I know know how much they mean to me. And, of course, I'd like someone to know how bloody irritating life can be in a world full of literal and metaphorical steps when you are sat in a wheelchair. Who knows? If enough of us keep pointing out the peculiarities and iniquities someone may listen. And in the meantime there's plenty to laugh at.
Thank you for reading. I'm now aiming at 1,000 regular readers so, please, spread the word. And yes, emails and comments mean a lot, so please stay in touch. I suppose I would still write this if no one was reading but it wouldn't as much fun. And if you are writing your own blog please keep writing. Where else can I nick ideas from? I call this blog How To Be An Inspiration as a personal joke at myself, but in truth, it's you who inspire me.
On to the next 100.