Last year over the Queens birthday long weekend in Victoria my sister, her partner and I went down to Anglesea for a working weekend.
I wanted to talk about a few things that stood out for me that weekend. One of them I mentioned on my Instagram account (elle_createbelieveachieve - follow me!) that a little girl had come up to me during an afternoon walk with my family and told me that it was unsafe for me to be pushing on the road because I was in a wheelchair. I told her that it was easier for me to push on the road because it wasn't so uneven like the footpaths.
But I did thank her for her concern and asked if she wanted to touch my wheelchair, she obliged and we then chatted about my pretty necklace and her frozen nightie (don't tell anyone she was wearing a nightie in public, ok? She didn't want anyone to know) The reason I'm writing about this is because the most beautiful part of the whole experience was that she asked the questions she needed to and then went on talking to me as if we were best friends.
I was so chuffed by the whole experience and loved that she felt that she could talk to me no matter what and that she cared enough to tell me that she thought it was unsafe for me to be travelling on the road. (it is by the way, but with the footpaths in the state they're in in most councils, there really isn't any other option).
The next day Meg, Josh and I were down at Point Roadknight beach filming for online content when I sat in my wheelchair for a small break after walking in the water for 20minutes. Then, beautiful Millie (Or Billie or Lily, none of us could quite get her name). Came up to me. 'Why are you in that wheelchair?' She said pointing. I responded 'because when I was in my mummy's tummy my legs and hand didn't grow the way they were meant too.' Looking at me with her beautiful brown eyes she said, 'does it hurt?'
Now, I did think to answer her with honesty and say, yes, everyday it hurts. It's hurting right now. But what would be the point of that? So, I told her 'no.' I asked her if she wanted to touch my missing fingers and she asked 'why aren't they there?'
And from behind me I heard 'Is she ok?' - it was her Mum. Meg, my sister said ' yes, of course.' Millie's Mum then came to the rescue anyway. 'She is very inquisitive.'
And, that's why I am writing this blog. Because I wanted to say thank you to Millie (Billie/Lily) and the girl in the Frozen nightie. Thank you for asking me questions.
Parents, don't stop your kids asking questions, they have the right to know what and why I am different. Don't squash their curious nature because somewhere along the line you've learnt that it's rude to ask questions to people with disabilities or to stare at us. We all stare at each other, we even read magazines about what's happening in people's lives, we have Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat! We are flooded with looking at each other and examining people everyday. Conversations like mine with Millie are so important because it gives her the opportunity to learn about the differences in people through a real experience.
To Millie's Mum, I get it, you didn't want me to feel like I was different. You did mention we all are in our own special way and I completely agree. But one of the greatest gifts we're given is the ability to take in information and understand it for ourselves.
Kids, keep the conversations coming. I love them. Your energy speaks to my inner child. xx