Life has phases, I think, which are seven years long. There are annoying awkward times in between each one. I’m in one of those now, I realise. It’s been quite long, too.
You know, like coming across food in the fridge and it's passed its 'best by' date. This version of myself has passed it's 'best by' date. But not yet expired.
As I posted on Facebook, yesterday I got trapped in my new car. I literally couldn't get out. My wheelchair was secured to the floor of the car and the boot wouldn't open to allow the ramp to deploy.
After being freed by the AA, who were amazing, I reflected on the emotional toll it took on me, even though I was in my own driveway with my friend Jude there for support. It was really quite scary. And given the prospect of freedom it offered me, I can't help feeling a sense of betrayal, especially as it was such a large investment of money.
The issue of assessing students has come under fire in recent weeks, with international tests revealing student performance is plummeting. Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has said, "if the measurement of ... a student’s progress ... is removing time from practical science, then it had better be bloody useful because practical science is bloody useful."
The problem I see with assessing students in the uniform way in which most schools do — most usually through written assignments and tests — is that it's a one size fits all approach to measuring performance. It doesn't work for many because students are complex, dynamic and diverse.
This morning I woke up to find a notification on my iMac screen telling me my trackpad battery was very low and to charge it. Further investigation by clicking the Bluetooth icon confirmed the battery was at 2%. I set to the task of plugging the lightning charger plug into the trackpad.
What would have taken most people two or three seconds took me over five minutes. One of the effects of CP (Cerebral Palsy) is that I have poor fine motor co-ordination (and only slightly better gross motor co-ordination). So the process of getting the half-centimetre-wide plug into the same size socket was, literally, hit and miss until I hit it.
We're twenty days into 2017 and I can't believe how much change has happened in my life. I've started a new relationship. I've had a young rabbit turn up, which I looked after for a couple of weeks before finding another home for him. My boarder has moved out after four years, so I have my house to myself again, and I've created a whole new "chill-out" space with the extra room.
My new cosy nook — a work in progress
I thought I'd be a bit grown up and, rather than ending the year on a rant, celebrate what has actually been a full and rather successful year for me, Diversity New Zealand and our clients.
We began the sixth year of Be. Leadership back in March this year. A talented group of people spent a year of curiosity and inquiry into leadership, accessibility and other social issues. It's been an honour and privilege to spend another year working alongside Lesley Slade and the rest of the Be. Accessible team. I also had the rewarding challenge of working with Lesley and Megan Barclay in leading Be. Accessible while CEO Minnie Baragwanath was on extended sick leave.
Conflict — it's easy to avoid. In fact, we often do anything we can to avoid it (well, I do). Often that means not doing anything.
Within the last 24 hours I was involved in a conflict situation with a colleague. I won't go into the detail — it's irrevelent. But the process the two of us went through — an action, a reaction by me that created conflict and then a conversation to come to a resolution — reminded me that, even though it is acutely uncomfortable, when handled constructively, conflict can have truly positive outcome.
Last week I blogged about my purpose. I said I felt purposeless, and wondered if being purposeless was, in fact, my purpose for now.
I've changed my mind. I wonder if surrendering my purpose was part of rediscovering it. I also wonder if my parents bringing a whole lot of newspaper clipping from when I was born has helped me remember.
Balancing confidence and humility in any relationship, be it personal or professional, is a real skill. The first step is to become aware of what the two are. Author of The Art and Etiquette of Polyamory, Françoise Simpère writes:
“Arrogance...is generally a cover for a chronic lack of self-confidence.To be specific, self-confidence is when one is aware of his or her qualities without falling victim to false modesty. Humility allows one to recognise quietly that even though he or she is a wonderful person, there may be qualities that he or she lacks. An individual with a balanced ego is fully aware of his or her own existence and does not need others to confirm it. He or she is interested in others because of who they are, and not because of a need to see him or herself as a reflection in their admiring eyes.”
"Who We Are" is a music video with a vision of changing how we know ourselves & each other. It's all about us, made for the world to see.
Follow Jess and her friends as they explore and celebrate identity and self expression. They are young people with unique gender, sexual and functional expression who are proud of who they are.