BB Squared: Beautiful Brains, Bold Bodies

Starting and Celebrating Conversations About Differences

In Which I Get Real February 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 8:26 am

This is a week where I felt like I had to have a special mantra in my head as I was blogging: this is not my personal blog, this is not my personal blog, this is not my personal blog.  But then I thought, what the heck, let’s get real, I don’t like my difference a ton this week.  I’d give anything to be able to live on my own, drive myself to a date without my parents knowing a thing about it, or have complete control over my hair and outfit today. I’m telling you this because I don’t think these feelings should or will be excluded from future discussions or endeavours at BB Squared. Jill and I aren’t out of touch with what makes our differences difficult for ourselves and other people, there are indeed days when we are frustrated with our respective brains (and body in my case). And we won’t hide the truth from Aaron either; it’s possible that right now he is under the impression that for me every day with my difference is sunshine and roses, but over the years as our friendship grows I’m sure he will get a much more realistic picture of how I feel.

BB Squared is about helping to make life with differences the best that it can be, but it is not about making life with them sound unrealistically good. Every human knows that there are both good and bad things about life, and BB Squared does not intend to minimize that. We want to be a place where both the good and bad stuff is addressed, partly so that we can be a resource for solutions – or point people to other resources – but partly so that the people we serve simply know that we hear them. After all, helping is about both these things.

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On Asking Questions February 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 9:31 am

As you may have guessed by now, I love to read blogs. As such, inspired by this post at a blog called Rage Against the Minivan about whether it is OK to ask if one’s children are adopted, I thought I would tell you about how I feel when people ask me questions about being different. Honestly, as long as it with genuine interest and not because someone is trying to be rude, ask away! I have spoken about my difference to children and adults of many different ages and it is always a delight for me to do so; I hope to do so more in the future with BB Squared. I am not intimidated by people asking me questions of a very personal nature (such as questions about how I use the bathroom). Again if they want to know out of genuine interest, I am happy to share.

I think this comes from – as I’ve said indicated several times on the blog – the fact that I love my difference. I love that it makes me unique and gives me a different perspective that people want to hear. In situations where I am comfortable, such as when people inquire about my disability, I am not shy, so I am not fazed by interest. Again, this is not everyone’s experience, some people are not comfortable disclosing a lot of information, and others have perhaps had a bad experience when it comes to conversations about their differences. I respect that, and sometime soon I’d love to do a follow-up post and ask people whom I know with differences how they feel about being asked questions and what they feel is the right way to approach the subject. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

 

What I learned from other peoples differences about my own February 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 9:16 am
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Hello all, Jill reporting for blogging duty this week! Carmen, as you may all know is the mastermind behind our blog and I commend her on her dedication and amazing post’s, which I looked forward to reading each week. This week Carmen has passed the baton to me, only for the week, and asked me to do the honors. For those of you who may not recall, I am one of the three partners working on BB Squared and the dedication towards celebrating and creating conversations about differences.

Now when Carmen had asked me to post for the week I had no idea what I was to write about. And as anyone who knows me knows, my brain is always going a thousand miles a minute thinking about this that and the other thing. So of course the moment I was asked, the wheels started to turn… what should I write about, as this is a momentous day… the first time my words will be on this blog, and I have learned in my great 22 years, first impressions are important.

I thought long and hard on this subject, and first I thought ME, I will talk about ME…. Then I thought no, that would come off as much to selfish! So I thought maybe I will write about others whom I know with difference…. And then I thought how about write about how others with differences taught me something about my difference, with their difference!!!! Now take a second that think about that to make sure you understand….

And here are my top 3 life changing moments where someone with a difference taught me something about my difference with his or her difference.

#1. Number one goes to a young female with Down’s syndrome who as well falls somewhere on the ATS scale. She has a limited vocabulary and communication skills, but can brighten up the world with her laugh and smile. For a young women like myself with depression, anxiety, and a variety of learning differences, the importance of a genuine smile, and ability to laugh some stuff off are very important skills. Nothing seems to worry this teenager as she lives unaware of so many things, where the simplest of things are going to make you the happiest you can be forever, what that must be like always living is a blissful world.

#2. Number two is to my best friend Carmen, whom I have worked with for many years, taught me how to appreciate the small things. Carmen gets so excited about the smallest beauties or exciting happenings in life. She showed me how to look at and recognize these small pleasures in life. I did not understand ‘small pleasures’ as I was always too worried, or too on edge to notice. Once they are pointed out like a favorite show or song, a beautiful picture or person, a meeting with a friend you have not seen in a long time, you start to notice and understand their value and feel the joy in life simplicities.

#3. My number three moments goes to a friend who has ADHD and his parents chose not to have him medicated. In the short amount of time we spent together before he left to follow a dream I was able to observe how he overcame his challenges with confidence. I have taken medications for my difference on and off, as I do not like the side effects. He had and still is achieving and moving towards his goals through his own self-medication of intelligence, intuition, and self-confidence. As these were the attributes, which he used to navigate through the difficulties of his difference, I am trying to incorporate them into helping navigate through mine. This is not an easy task I may add but is something which has helped me greatly.

You learn from everyone and can benefit from others experiences. This is why we are all different, if we were all the same then we would face the same problem over and over again and never come up with a solution. I love differences and value each individual who I am lucky enough to meet who is willing to share their differences, and let me learn, and in return I will share mine and maybe they will learn something too.

 

5 Reasons I Don’t Love Always Love my Difference February 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 9:30 am

As much as I love my difference, there are indeed reasons why it is not always my favourite thing. Here are some of them:

1) As much as I love my parents/friends/Personal Support Workers, sometimes I would love to be in charge of my own body. I’m really not shy about letting other people see my body, but sometimes it would be nice to do things like put on my own make-up, shave my own legs, or dress and look completely how I want to without worrying about the opinions of others. (Even though sometimes those opinions are helpful.)

2) On a related note, I don’t care that much about clothes or fashion, but I think I would care a lot more if typical clothes and shoes looked good on me. Not many shoes can fit properly with my splints, and many clothes don’t fit my body type, or work with my lack of muscle tone. I/BB Squared should do research and see if anyone has done anything about that, shouldn’t I?

3) Travelling is not easy. While I have been fortunate enough to travel many places in Canada and the U. S., I have yet to go anywhere “international” and a huge reason for this is because a) it is hard for me to sit on a plane very long without getting physically uncomfortable, and b) it is pretty much impossible for me to use the restroom on a plane. It is my goal to go to at least one foreign country before I die, I will keep you posted on how that works out. 🙂

4) While I love the volunteering, I am doing, it is kind of unfortunate in my opinion that I can’t get a random paying job at a coffee shop or a bookstore while I wait for my first job in my field. Sadly, there is no such thing as hiring a Starbucks employee whose only task is to sit in the drive-thru window and take orders, because I actually think I’d be pretty good at it.

5) There aren’t exactly men lining up to date me. I don’t think that dating a person with a disability would be easy, and I truly do believe that sometimes we get to weed out jerks because non-stellar men probably couldn’t be bothered with dating us. Still, it’s hard on the self-esteem at times.

Again, I mostly love my difference, but I thought I would “get real” today and talk about some of the less fun aspects of it.