Life Being Little

Forever a small fish in a big pond

Thursday, 9 January 2020

It isn't built for me..




Ever wondered what it's like down here? Ever thought about how the way I see the world may be different to you? Ever considered that how I see the room may look comepltely different to you... even if what we're looking at is the same? 



I took these photos for a university presentation- A micro teach I had to present about my life. Something which despite being a blogger, and having done many public presentations before.... it's something which still is hard to summarise in words. So I used pictures instead.

The top rows of all of these, are what my average heigh friend sees.... which means... you've guessed it... the bottom row is what I see. The same objects. The same day. The same time. The same place.
Yet the views are compeltly different.

All these things are featured in my University, and all these things are ones I use on a daily basis, their essential to my lifestyle and study as a student.... yet... they're not built for me. None of them are. They're built for my friends. The average... the majority.

I'm lucky enough to have very supportive friends, who carry my load and make the fact all these things are out of reach almost forgetable..... but the truth of the matter is... they are. Initially anyway.

Being here 3 years now, I've got myself into a routine, I know my limits, I've learned ways around things and I've learned when I need someone else on hand when I can't achieve my outcome independenly, but this thought process..... on top of a full time work placement, and a BA hons degree... can sometimes feel overwhelming.

I used to be jelous, jelous of the things that all my friends could do with ease. Jealous that whilst they're fretting over their dissertations i'm left fretting over how I'm gonna reach my lunch. Somedays it doesn't feel fair. But then other days, honestly.... I don't even notice and I don't think others do too.





The fact is..... I could be angry. Easily. I could be frustrated, and beileve me somedays I am.... but more often than not, it doesn't cross my mind. Because after 21 years experience I've accepted that there will never be a day I don't need someone to reach something off a shelf, or a day I can see over every counter and desk I greet. And in the mix of all of life's pressures... You can guarentee I am not adding an addition one in the form of my thoughts and frets.

We all need a little help sometimes... and althought it took me a long time to accept it, my help just comes in the form of the little things. But in turn my degree is allowing me to help others with big things. Big things that I can do, that others may not have mastered yet. So if it turns out that reaching a book off a top shelf is my biggest weakness...... I'm happy with that.
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Thursday, 12 December 2019

G-Expressions...... A whole new adventure!






Written for www.g-expressions.co.uk

Hey! I'm Danielle and I'm Creative Arts Assistant for G-Expressions. My role means I support both the dance and drama elements of G-Expressions. Despite only being in the role for a couple of months, my journey with G-Expressions began way before then.


So let me take you way back to the beginning..... 





My story starts here, on this stage, where I was performing with my organisation 'Portishead Youth Centre' back in October 2018. I produced the showcase as part of my BAhons degree, and as a result had invited members and partners of the University South Wales along to watch. We sold out, filling a room with 250 audience members...... within these, were the G-Expressions team. This is where I first come to know of exactly who these people were, and what they strived for, and I think it's fair to say I was inspired from day one.

Fast forward a couple more months, and the link between my organisation and G-Expressions grew stronger, as my dance crew were invited to perform as part of the opening of 'Hard Knock Life' a recent production by G-Expressions. Watching the show, and also seeing an incline of the back stage action only rose this organisation even higher in my admiration, as a dancer and youth worker myself, the show I saw in front of me was basically everything I was striving for in my own development. I wanted my own work to be of this standard, with this response.... having this impact! I remember one of my colleauges dropping into conversation on the way home, 'Dan this could be you one day'. And I quote my exact words were.....

"What a dream they'd be to work with''. 


Fast forward eight months.... and I can in fact confirm that they are a dream!

After deciding to move over the bridge to Newport in September 2019 in order to complete my third and final year at Uni without the pressures of 6am trains and long winter commutes.... I found myself on placement, with the organisation who for the last year had inspired and shaped the professional I had strived to become. I felt like I had hit the ultimate jackpot, after persuring a passion in dance for the last 4 years, how lucky was I that in the mayhem of the move, this was the one thing I didn't need to leave behind. But with this came some nerves... Did I have what it took? I may have been a confident spark on stage, but that spark dimmed when it came to my own self-beilef. But here I was amoungst a team of professionals who were trusting me.... trusting me to make a lasting impact on their organsiation... trusting me to deliver, represent and promote what they had been building for the last 10 years.....Me? ....Really?

Well if that's not a confidence boost in itself I don't know what is!




Moving away from home was never on my agenda, Not yet anyway. I never saw myself as the person who would fly the nest at 21, and if I'm honest I don't think part of me even thought I'd be the person who would be graduating with a BAhons degree, but yet here we are.... 2 months into my time living in Newport, 6 months away from Graduation day.... and a massive part of that is down to the team who inspired me. The team I now get to be a part of. 

Looking over the past 9 weeks, I every now and then in moments of quiet amoungst the busyness,I still question how I really ended up here.... getting to persue my two passions... Youth work and performing arts... and more than that, getting to support young people in bringing their own passions to life. But the development doesn't end in the studio. G-Expressions has grown my confidence and skills, in many aspects of my life, my academics, my professionalism... but most importantly in myself., and the person I have the potential to become.

So now it's my turn to do the same!

The support I have recieved from the organisation, and the spark they have put back in me, is what now drives me in my new role, to promote and find that same confidence in the young people we work with. I'd like to beileve that I can create the same oppitunities for them as I have had created for me and support them in their own journey of self-discovery and following their own dreams.   
G-Expressions has opened so many doors for me, doors I didn't even know existed... Doors I defintly didn't beileve I had the potential to open and if I can give even a percentage of that back for future generations... then I'll call my career a success! 

I am so grateful to G-Expressions, for the example they set me from early on, which inspired development in my career in the first place.... but more so, for the support, oppitunities and experiences I now am living and working everyday. From supporting dance leaders courses, writing funding applications, leading classes, planning events, organising fundraising events, creating and running my own sessions... Most students can only dream of that in a 9 month period! Which only gets me thinking.....If this is month 2...... where will we be on month 9???


If you had asked me three months ago my plan for life after graduation, I don't think I could answer, and part of me, still hasn't quite worked it out yet... but one thing I do know, is that my journey with G-Expressions, is a journey I hope is only just beginning.






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Thursday, 7 November 2019

No one tells you about the little things.....








When people talk about the challenges of being small, there's things that are the obvious- the not being able to reach the top shelf, or the not being able to walk into a shop and try on any pair of jeans. Everyone knows about that. I always knew about that. From an early age my size was spoken about, even through the years I chose not to speak about it, I still knew, I knew things weren't going to be as straight forward as some of the people around me.... I knew there were big things I needed to overcome.... but no one ever told me about the little things. 

No one told me about the bottles my hands would be too small to open, or the folders my arms were too small to hold. No one said about the ruck sacks that would be too strong for me... or the chairs I'd struggle to climb. 

No one told me that my energy would be mainly used, not in the bigger of tasks, but instead in the small things. The things no one talks about. The things I see so many others do with ease. When you google dwarfism, no finding is going to tell you "Struggles to open drinks bottle". No finding is going to admit the struggles that no one seems to talk about. So how is anyone supposed to know? How was I supposed to know? 

A few months ago, a close friend of mine Rebecca, tweeted a tweet that has stuck with me, about a similar situation she was in, with a bottle of orange juice.... and one sentence that stuck with me.... "It's taken me an hour to open a bottle of orange juice. That's not what everyone else does!"

That got me thinking. And she's right. It's not what everyone else does... similarly to how I just had to ask my class mate to open my drink for me... I don't see anyone else doing that either? 

So when we say... "We can do anything anyone else can do?"  
The thing is we can't... not really. We can find alternatives and ultimately the outcome we reach can be the same... but we can't do everything that others can. That's not negativity... That's just fact.

But let's turn this around a minute... I may not be able to open a drinks bottle like all my friends can... but hey.. I don't see many of my friends competing in dance nationals. Or even studying a BA in university. So I can't do things they can, but some may say I can do things they can't... or perhaps haven't even considered yet. 

Does that make these little things any easier? No, because in the mix of preparing for a dance nationals or in the whirlwind of university life... you think I really want to spend more than a semi fraction of a second of my day contemplating how I'm gonna open a drinks bottle? No. Because they're just little things... but sometimes the little things are the big things. The things that no one talks about, the things that no one teaches you how to overcome... 

Sometimes the smallest hurdles, takes the biggest jump and whilst I may have mastered the trains.. I've taught my body to dance and learned how to juggle a BA degree in the mix of life's medical hurdles... I'm in fact still learning... to do all the things that my body presents me with everyday, all the things that I discover as I go.. about the things that we need to start talking about. 





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Thursday, 10 October 2019

Some days it sucks.

I'm a true believer in everything happening for a reason and that people are only dealt with what they have the strength and ability to overcome. Therefore, I try really hard to not moan, or complain about my hurdles, because I don't believe they are any harder or harsher than those faced, by anyone else... they are just different. 

That being said. Some days?

It sucks.

And no motivational saying or uplifting statement, can take away that feeling.

Some days it just frickin sucks. 

Being starred at on the street by strangers- sucks.
Not finding clothes to fit- sucks.
The aches and pains- Suck.
The hours sat in a doctors surgery. Suck.

BEING SMALL SUCKS. 

For a while, I beat myself up for these feelings... and some days I still do.... after getting through such a dark time in my life as a teenager, when I hit 18/19 I thought right that's it now, adulthood... Life will be on the up form now. No more weaknesses, no more struggles. Only positivity. I thought I'd be the person who embraced life and saw the good in every situation, the one who had their sh*** together. Because as an adult isn't that what you do?

Yeah.... this lasted for all of a week maybe? Turns out being an adult, doesn't magically make any of your troubles go away, nor does it give you the ability to suddenly know how to deal with any of them? Just like no one told me how to feel as a child, no one told me how to as an adult either, and despite being "grown up" I still was none the wiser.

Because as an adult, still no one tells you how to feel when you're walking to work and someone who you don't know calls you a freak.
No one tells you how to explain to a child you work with, why they're taller than you and yet you are still the adult.
No one tells you how to cook when you can't reach the cooker, or how to go to the shops when half of the contents is above your head height.

or how to be an adult, in a body smaller than most children.

No one tells you any of this. You learn as you go, and with learning.... comes failing.... messing up.... breaking down.... with good days, come bad days.... and days where things just suck. When I first started this blog, I thought the only way to inspire people, was to show them a source of strength and positivity, something I needed when I was younger, but then I thought, actually what I really needed growing up, was real life... to see that other people felt the way I did, that not everyone I saw on social media really had their life together in the way it was displayed- and in fact, everyone was just doing a good job of winging it as much as I was.



              INSTAGRAM VS REALITY







This isn't to say that next time you see a post on social media of someone who looks happy, you think "Nah they're faking it". Storm clouds come and go, some days can still be sunshine's and rainbows even if other days you feel like you don't know how to swim.

I've yet to learn most of the lessons I had hoped to when I became an adult.
I still don't know how to feel when people call me names.
I still don't know the best way to answer a child when they ask "why"
I don't know the best way to do a lot of the things my tall friends do without a second thought.

Some days, I don't know how to be small. But you know what, that's ok. Because what I do know is that i'm not supposed to know. I'm not supposed to have the answers. That's ok. and if things suck some days... that's ok too! Storms pass, and with the bad days....good ones come along too.

So next time you see someone on social media, who is "doing better than you" or someone who "has it easier"... Just remember we're all in the same boat here. None of us were given life jackets... and no one got handed a manual either. We are all writing our own stories and like most authors I imagine, most of us are making it up as we go along. So you're allowed to scream. And cry. You're allowed the breakdown.... Just don't unpack there. Stop for a while, allow the storm to fall, and then after... go dance in the rain.. Because when we step back and look around, we may realise there's a lot, that perhaps doesn't suck after all.
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Wednesday, 25 September 2019

They don't like you..... But they'll be checking your page religiously.




Building my blog, has been a blessing in many ways, it has amazed me how far some of my posts have stretched and how many people have taken the time to read my stories, in that sense it has made me feel proud, proud that my stories, my writing, has played a part in spreading awareness, even if only in a small way. It's also been responsible for giving me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people. In December 2018 I held my first Bristol Dwarfism Social, I met some amazing individuals who had all learnt about me through my blog. My blog brought that group of people together. My blog was responsible for the friendships made. It was responsible for people realising they weren't on their own.. as crazy as it seems.. my blog, changed lives.


It most certainly changed mine. Sometimes things are easier to put in writing. Sometimes when my voice shakes, my keyboard does the talking for me. It's been something which has developed my confidence massively, the response I have received, the love, support, messages of encouragement. The messages saying "Thank you", the messages saying I had made a "Difference" to someones live. That's something I never imagined was possible when I first started writing.



I never imaged the happiness my blog would bring, but likewise, I never could've dreamt of the sadness that came with it.

5

That's the record. The most I've ever received in a day. 5. That's how many people. How many messages. How many comments. How many times my heart has sunk in one day.

-Ugly
-Midget
-Freak
-Weirdo
-Physco
-Fat
-Circus act

Ok they're just words. But they're words that hurt. Especially when sprung on you without warning, in a supermarket, in a dance rehearsal... In the middle of a university lecture. They are words that are hard to ignore when they are right there in front of you in the notification tab.

For a while I thought about giving it all in, packing up the blog and every comment that went with it. The grief I get on the streets, that's enough.. More than enough, but that has an escape. That stops when I walk in my door, however where one stops, another starts, only this time, I have the power to end it.

(DELETE)

I can't begin to even try and tally, the times my hand has been shaking over that button, It would be so easy. So easy to wipe it all, in one click of  a button it can be gone, the comments, the words, the hurt... just like that.... but with it, goes the work, the heart, the passion, the achievements.... the three years spent connecting with people, all because they clicked on the blog, the three years of positive messages saying thank you, saying that I had helped them, saying that I had reassured them.... three years of making a difference.

I don't have to open the messages, most of the time I don't. Sometimes social media gives me no choice and the message appears there, loud and clear on my screen. That's the times I fight the urge to delete. But why reject my hard work, when I can reject one stupid sentence sent to me by someone who probably couldn't even tell you my name, in one click of a button the message can be gone... and sometimes, it sticks, and it lingers, and sometimes the pain stays a while, sometimes it takes me a while to forget.... but it takes me even longer to forget the messages of love, grattitude, appreciation and support I recieve. They are the ones that stick most, the ones that matter. The ones that remind me everyday why I don't press delete, why I don't give in.... and don't give up.

So if you have a passion follow it, have a dream chase it.... will everyone like it? No? Will everyone appreciate it... defintely not... but whether it was a blog, a career, a song, a book.... someone would find something, somehwhere to not be happy about- but surely all that matters is that we're happy. Because if we're happy, those who are true to us will be happy for us. And you know what they say... those who matter don't mind..... and those who mind... certainly do not matter.







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