BB Squared: Beautiful Brains, Bold Bodies

Starting and Celebrating Conversations About Differences

5 Recent Instances Where Differences Have Made Me Smile June 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 7:31 am

I know I have written about this before, but today I thought I would write another simple post talking about six ways my difference has brought joy into my life in recent months, in no particular order:

1) On my birthday, I met an adorable little boy, with an adorable little wheelchair. He was already learning to operate the push chair himself (show-off! :)), he was fascinated by my wheels, and I loved being able to tell him that we have wheelchairs because we’re cool, even if he was too little to understand me yet…you can never start to early!

2) Two of my friends with differences recently had a baby. For one thing it was beautiful to see two people with differences have their dream come true. If they are anything like me, part of them never thought this day would come, and they probably have to pinch themselves in order to believe that their beautiful daughter is really theirs to keep. It is further proof that nothing is impossible.

3) Not to make this about me, but the other joyous part of this event came for me when I got to hold Baby Girl the other night. People, I can not even tell you what it means to me that I held this tiny child independently and I did not freak out, at all. It was kind of like a primal instinct took over, like even though I had only done this one other time in my life, I somehow knew what to do. And to top it off, one of my other friends looked at me while I was holding her and said, “You’ll make a good mother.” I appreciated the comment at the time but now as I write this it is hitting me harder. I don’t know if being a mother will happen or is even an essential dream for me, but in a way this event gave me permission to imagine it in a way that I haven’t before.

4) A couple of weeks ago, I was honoured to speak at an an event that celebrated the inclusion of people with differences. I love to speak, but I do get nervous when I do it in front of a large group of people. In another miraculous moment (in my opinion), I spoke calmly and clearly and received many compliments on it afterwards. As I’ve said before, I loved knowing that I had something to contribute to my community that was appreciated and respected.

5) At this same event, we were treated to a performance by a singer with a difference named Justin Hines.  He is a very talented performer who truly impressed me a lot Although I did not get the opportunity to chat with him like some of my friends did, it was still great to see a guy who uses a wheelchair truly exhibit the attitude that nothing could stop him from following his dream. If I sit and thing about all the logistics he must have to handle in order to have a successful career, I am just so pleased that he has been able to negotiate all of them in order to pursue his goals in life.

This was a rather self-centered post I suppose, but I wanted to reiterate again how much joy can be found in life with a difference if it is sought out. I believe that BB Squared will be an organization that will contribute both directly and indirectly to the joy of the people it serves and I am so excited to witness that.


On Being Needed June 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 7:19 am

One characteristic that having a difference has given me is that it really means a lot to me to be needed. Ever since I was a little girl, I have adored being the one who helps. Besides being thankful that I can fulfill the needs of others, it truly feels good to be the one helping when the reality of my life dictates that I am very often the one who is given assistance.. It makes me feel empowered, it helps me feel like a woman instead of a girl, it is not just – hopefully – good for others, it is good for me.

I know this is a sentiment that Jill and I share, wanting to help others both for their benefit and her own. It is the reason she started BB Squared as well as the reason she does a multitude of other work to support the differences community. Jill is someone who truly wants to see all people with differences succeed and become the best they can be, she and I both understand the powerful feeling that results from someone benefiting from advice we have given them, or a skill we have been able to share, and we want others to experience that feeling as well. As for Aaron, even though our friendship is still developing, I am absolutely confident that he believes in this dream as well. After all, one doesn’t start building schools of dreams in Ghana without the goal of empowering people.

Whatever BB Squared becomes, it will not be an organization that simply adds one more possibility to the list of services for people with differences, it will be a placewhere the underlying goal is to help people achieve their dreams so that they in turn, in their own way, can help people do the same.


Voices June 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 7:32 am

My parents are different from one another in many ways, but one way that affects my life probably more than it should is that my mother is often cold and my father is almost always hot. In my world, this translates into constant debates about what I should where when I go outside; jacket or no jacket, windbreaker or heavier coat.

This may seem like a stupid thing to discuss in a BB Squared blog post, but I do so to illustrate that one particular aspect of my life with a difference is that I constantly have people giving me their opinions about various subjects in my life, both simple and complicated. Now – with the exception of my parents much of the time, because I am a brat – I appreciate this advice because I know my friends are just trying to help me, and a lot of times I really need it because I am having trouble making a decision or I am deciding what to do about something that affects more than just myself. The issue isn’t really the loving, intelligent voices of those around me, the issue is I have to learn to find and trust my own voice. I have to learn to be OK when I make a decision of which my parents or friends don’t approve,  especially when it is a decision that is only affecting me. I need to have enough confidence in myself and my relationships to know that even if people in my life do not agree with a decision I am making, they are not going to be less inclined to be my friend because I am making a different choice than they would.

One of the awesome organizations for which I volunteer, Waterloo Region Family Network, considers choice an extremely important part of the way that they serve people with differences. They make it a priority through their model of service to give individuals and families as many choices as possible, and then support these people in whatever choice they make. I believe this is a method that BB Squared will adopt as well, we want to develop an organization that gives people the tools to make choices that are right for them, while being one agency of support they can use to help make those choices. Ultimately, we want the people we serve to learn to make decisions for themselves, so that they can feel mature and confident and in turn serve as an example to others that such choice making is possible.


6 People That Have Inspired Me to Live my “Different” Life to the Fullest June 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 7:32 am

I decided to take a page from a previous post of Jill’s today and tell you about sixpeople who have inspired me when it comes to my difference. These people are in no particular order.

1) Jill Clark; Annie and Steve Hopkins-These people have never met each other but they really inspire me in similar ways. They have all taken their difference, learned to love and embrace it, and their goal in life is to encourage others to do the same. Steve and Annie have already started on this adventure with 3E Love. Please go read their story, start loving life, and to any Ontario people reading this, tell Steve to come to a conference in Toronto so that we can go say hi. Seriously.

Jill has been on this journey for a few years as well. She hangs out with people with differences whenever possible, and she always wants to make sure we are having as much fun as we possibly can in spite of – or maybe because of – our differences. I cannot wait to see where she takes BB Squared, I truly believe it could be anywhere.

2) SJ-I’m not revealing this person’s identity, because I didn’t get a chance to ask her if she wanted to be on the blog today, but she needs to be here. Why? Because she has a physical difference which makes it necessary to write the novel she is working on using only her voice. Some days her voice recognition software acts up, some days she can write because her voice is gone or there are too many people in her house, but she never quits. I asked her one day what percentage of the time she enjoyed writing her manuscript and she said something like 95%. I was so proud; that means she enjoyed working her butt off 95% of the time. Who isn’t inspired by that?

3) KF-Another mystery person who didn’t give me permission to use him on the blog today. KF also has a physical difference, but he has not let that stop him from working in Washington DC and Chicago, working on his law degree, or living independently in several different cities. He knows what he wants and takes no prisoners to get there. I cannot say enough about how much of an advocate he is on his own behalf as well as others.

4)  Dana-Dana is someone I have known since I was little, and there really have been no end to the lessons she has taught me about loving life and my difference. But most recently she has showed me by example the importance of trusting that everything is going to work out, doing our part to make that happen, and not being concerned about the rest. This is a lesson I am still trying to learn – and probably she is too – but I do believe it will serve me well in life if I can master it. Some day soon I am going to ask Dana to guest post for BB Squared and I cannot wait to introduce our readers to her.***

I hope that one day others will be able to say that BB Squared inspired them to love their difference and go after their dreams, just as these people have done for me. Also, I can already feel a follow-up post to this one forming in my head, so stay tuned!

***I would love if all the people on this list would guest post for us someday.