Forever a small fish in a big pond

Friday, 15 December 2017

6 years of Little People UK

Six years ago life was a million miles away from what it is today, I could never have imagined how much my life as I knew it was about to be turned around by one decision, one creation and one group of people....On the 15th December 2011 a Facebook group was formed known by the name of Little People Uk. It aimed to provide support, advice and friendship for people with dwarfism, their families and friends. It was a place where people felt they could talk to people on the same journey, people who had faced similar challenges and had also overcome them. It was the start of what was only intended to be a small organisation but soon grew into so much more.

In the six years, this small organisation has become a charity which now opens its doors and its arms to over 1000 members. It's held annual events with meet ups, fundraisers and parties in between- it's supported people from all walks of life who all have one thing in common. It's provided them with medical advice, clothing alterations, physio treatment and the opportunity to get involved with activities which in the everyday world, are way out of out limits as well as being there as a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and a source of comfort to all those facing the everyday challenges that come with living with dwarfism.

When I joined LPUK I wouldn't talk about my size, I wouldn't even acknowledge it, infact I did pretty much everything I could to run away from it. I was lost in a world that wasn't built for me and a world that was forever looking down on my condition. I was a scared, shy, confused, insecure little school girl who hated every element of who she was..... Or more to the point what she was! There was no way out, or anyway forward. I'd given up. Simple as that! Six years on and still to this day I am in disbelief of what has changed and what continues to change a little bit more every day. To think back to the place I was once, I'm almost ashamed I ever let myself sink so low, that I ever let the ignorant people of the world take everything that they did, away from me, but I'm also grateful, because it was rock bottom which led me to this fantastic charity and the 500+ people who are now my family. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have been given a second chance and a fresh start, to discover in myself what I could never have imagined was there. Looking back over the past year, especially the past six months, nothing that I've done would've been possible with the support, the encouragement and the motivation LPUK has provided me with. To think I sat outside our first meet up balling my eyes out, reluctant to go in, reluctant to admit I needed them and reluctant to think they'd ever want me... Is terrifying. To think I was just a matter of a few minutes away from loosing all we have become, all I have learnt and all that I've gained. Nothing could be scarier but luckily I wasn't quite that stupid! I knew in my gut that there was something in us, something that for some reason would make everything okay.... And for once I was actually right.

I am beyond proud of Little People UK and all the lives it has touched in the six years.... I am proud that everyday through the power of social media I get to see our members, face and overcome their biggest challenges, I get to see all our members grow into the people they want to be, regardless of what stands in their way. To be a part of such an amazing family is something that is enough to brighten any storm and conquer any hurdle and regardless of weather I even knew where to start- I will never be able to thank all those involved in creating our beautiful charity, enough for everything it has done for me and my family. In the past six years not only have I been given the opportunity to become the person I wanted to be and also have the chance to give something back through the work that I do, but I've also been given the opportunity to experience some of the most amazing experiences, in some of the most beautiful places alongside some of the most amazing, beautiful, kindhearted people this planet has ever seen.

It has been the most amazing, emotional, craziest, challenging, exciting journey and one which I hope continues to have a long road ahead.....Thank you to each of our members, our committee and our supporters for helping LPUK to grow and continue its amazing work. In February 2012 when we first came together my life as I knew it changed forever, and I made a wish that it would happen to others too, that no one would ever feel like I did, no one would ever not have the ability to be proud of who they are... And no one would ever not be accepted into society and for as long as LPUK are here, I know one day it'll come true💙💙💙

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Dwarfism do's and don'ts #DwarfismAwarenessMonth

Some Dwarfism Do's and Don'ts  

DO NOT call people with dwarfism names. The word "midget" is frowned upon and the majority of people with dwarfism find it highly offensive. Some people don't mind being reffered to as a "little person" others prefer "dwarf". I don't mind either, but please remember before giving someone a label that they are a person, with feelings. Just like you......
 DO NOT stare. Please remember there is a difference between "looking" and "staring".... I accept that a lot of the time I will be the first little person that others have seen, and there is no getting away from the fact that for a tiny person, I stand out like a sore thumb!!! ;) But staring just makes everyone feel uncomfortable. I would much prefer if someone approaches me and asks the questions that are flying around their minds.
DO NOT usher your children away from me as if I have a disease they are likely to catch. Children are curious, that is natural and I accept it. But by pulling them away parents are automatically (even if not intentionally) making their child believe there is something "wrong" with me. If your child has questions, answer them, if you can't or even don't want to - ask us!!!
DO ask questions. I am not offended by people "not knowing" but by people "not caring"
DO remember that although I may look different, I am a person, like you. I have feelings, like you. I only want to be accepted into society, like you....
DO treat me appropriate to my age and not my size!!

Thank you! #DwarfismAwarenessMonth

Thursday, 14 September 2017

My first train journey...

With every new adventure comes new challenges, challenges which often take a long process to learn how to overcome...well today was the beginning of the process. I've never been on the train before, nor have I ever had to travel such a long way with no one to assist me. Well in two weeks time when my university life begins that's all about to change! No new journey is ever done without a trial run... today was that run! A trial run for me not only helps me know where the heck i'm going, but more so how the heck i'm gonna get there... and by that I don't mean which direction to go, but instead....

-can I reach the ticket machine?
-how many stairs lead up to the platform?
-how many roads do I have to cross without marked crossings, can I ensure i'm seen?
-how busy is the station, am I likely to get knocked?
-how long does the walking route take, Will I make it on time?
-can I reach to access any lift buttons or general public facilities needed?
-can I even physically get onto the train? Will my legs physically stretch to make it from the platform onto the train, and more so can I do this with 1000 people surrounding me all no doubt in a rush to get on. 

No transition is ever easy, and it seems as I grow up more and more factors flag up which need to be taken into consideration. I'm envious of the people who can just get on, the people who do these journeys everyday without a care in the world, i'm envious that one of the most exciting times of my life is also made one of the scariest... but i'm also adamant that though these things as scary as they are, they will never be impossible. They will he hurdles not limitations. 

I have a lot to learn in the upcoming weeks, not only academically as I begin my new course but also both physically and mentally as I stretch my body further than it has had to before. But hey we'll do it... don't we always!👌🏻✨💛

Friday, 10 March 2017

Stepping back out there

As a child, I pretty much had what anyone would see as a normal childhood. With the exception of the obvious- as well as a few medical obstacles to overcome on occasions, I was just about the same as everyone else. My family never agreed to wrapping me up in cotton wool, so I was always doing what any other child would. If there was an after school club you'd be certain I was in it- dance especially was one of my favourites. I'd go home everyday from class and practice in front of the mirror until I got it perfect. As a club we attended many festivals and competitions... I was in my element. I found a confidence every parent would wish for for their child. There was even a time I would fantasise about a career in my newly found hobby. 5 years of shows, routines and after school practicing... I never would've thought the love I had for the stage could come to an end. But my primary school world soon got left behind.... With my dance shoes in it!

There's many lessons that secondary school teach you, some being more liked than others however all playing an equal role of importance on the curriculum timetable... However,I had one that wasn't on the timetable, one that I'm pretty sure there's no textbook for either......Words hurt......A lot. As could be expected , I was bullied for almost three years straight starting the minute I stepped in as the new girl. My confidence crumpled and soon I began to loose interest in what was once important. It became a daily occurrence and although they had little knowledge of my life on stage, the words they said would echo as I stood in front the mirrors. Soon I couldn't even look anymore. Everything I had grown up with... Everything I knew. Everything that made my childhood "normal". They took it all.

Fast track to September 2016, a year after leaving my storm cloud of a school behind- I guess you can say I'd moved on a little, now approaching adulthood with a newly found love in my career of youth work, with ambitions to develop this further at university... It's fair to say that from somewhere I had rebuilt my confidence a little. Words didn't hurt so much anymore. I still heard them. Everyday in fact. However slowly they began to get quieter.... But this was soon to be challenged at a work shift very close to home.

On 24th September 2016 we took our youth club dance troop to attend a competition, I was only there to help with hair and makeup but still the experience brought so many memories back, the excitement, the nerves, the last minute rush of both teacher and dancer as you get called up next... As I saw them perform and watched as they received their medals for 2nd place, I began to miss sharing their shoes. It was the first time I'd really ever thought about dance for a while, but watching the love they had for what they did made me want to turn back time so bad....... Almost 6 years later, part of me still felt as if I could pick up from where I left off- it all seemed so clear, one song in particular played and I saw myself in my very first show, I still knew every move. But was I finally ready to get back out there? 

March 2017.... The troop are preparing for yet another competition, but this time I'm not needed.... Well not for hair and makeup anyway! After weeks debating, multiple mind changes and quite a lot of convincing from my crew and teacher, I took the plunge. I kicked fear in the @$$ and took ownership back of what had once been taken away. The shoes still fitted.

It hasn't been easy.... In fact it's fair to say it's been anything but, there's been tears, tantrums and more than a few occasions of self doubt, but with the mirrors in front of me, slowly one move joined with another, and the sound of our music would slowly begin to drown out the voices which after all these years still fought to be heard. I'm not the quickest. It's taken a while for me to learn the ropes and even now I still have hurdles both physical and emotional- some of which I know may not ever go away.... But that's ok, because neither will the confidence I found again in a lifestyle I loved then.... And love even more now.

Our competition ranking is yet to be known but one thing that has been confirmed. Bullies. You lost❤️


Audacity dance crew (new and old)- thank you for inspiring me and for welcoming me in a way I'd never known before. Thank you for making me feel at home and for always making it so easy to get back up once I fell. Not only have you guys taught me everything I know In our routines, but you have also taught me drive, passion and determination.... And I couldn't ask for anything more in a dance crew..... Here's to the year of the gold💛

Anne-Marie- When I'm caught up in the challenges and frustration we face, it's sometimes easy to forget that I'm not the only one took on a challenge. You too took on the unknown and faced it with everything you had. You promised me on day one that you would be there every step of the way and man you sure haven't disappointed. Even when it feels like the hardest thing in the world, it's yet so easy to step out there when you've got someone so strong, so passionate and so inspiring leading you the way. Thank you for seeing in me what I never could. Thank you for making it happen❤️
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