Friday, 23 November 2012

The perfect imperfect apple

Yesterday at the supermarket I bought some apples.

I looked at them.

Some were bobbly, oddly shaped, blemished.

They were like the apples that grew on the tree in the garden where I grew up.

Not plastic-looking apples but real apples.

It was oddly comforting. Like for a moment I wasn't in a looks obsessed world, but one which appreciated an apple for it's appleness - not for it's plastic appearance.

I found my imperfect apples....absolutely perfect.

Monday, 19 November 2012


As of today, I am running a 'Photo and Feedback' Competition

A bit of fun: finding photos featuring my stickmen and learning what people like about them. Winning photos and captions will be turned into a video picture cavalcade to be used on my website and youtube.

The Prize!!

Winners will have their photo(s) along with their captions put onto a 'Stickman Communications' video picture cavalcade, and receive a FREE STICKER (positive wheelchair logo, in colour of your choice, from Hannah's 'Positive Wheelchair Logo' sticker range)

The rules:

Open to UK residents only.

Somewhere in the photo there must be at least one of Hannah Ensor's stickman products.

You must have permission from anyone recognisable in the photo to submit the image. The photo does not have to include any people.

By submitting a photo you give permission for it to be used online and in print by Stickman Communications for publicity/advertising purposes.

Photos must be accompanied by a short comment on the product/my work - which will be printed (in whole or in part) with the entrant's name, alongside the photo.

All photo's must be suitable for viewing by young children.

With the photo and comment, you must also send:

  • Your postal address (in case you win!)
  • Email address
  • Name
  • The name you wish to be identified by, should your photo be published on my website/youtube.

Maximum of 4 entries per person.

Photos will be judged by me - Hannah Ensor. My decision is final. I will be looking for a wide variety of pictures - so feel free to be creative.

Submit your entries by email HERE. Please write "Photo Competition" in the subject line so I know it isn't spam.

The deadline for submissions is 12:00 midday Friday 14th December

Friday, 16 November 2012

Chatting on the train

The other day I was on the train.

As so often happens with me I got chatting to the chap opposite me.

We started off general stuff - and he then broached the subject of disability. Very cautiously. Unsure whether I would bite his head off in response.

Some people get offended when asked. I know they do. But personally I like this kind of conversation and appreciated his question. Why?

1) The initial chat had established that I was a person.

2) We had already exchanged pleasantries and I'd decided I wouldn't mind spending the journey chatting to him instead of staring out the window.

3) General travel etiquette in Britain (in my experience) is that if you make a comment about the weather or similarly innocuous subject, and the person gives a chatty response, and conversation develops, questions such as 'going anywhere nice' etc are quite normal.

4) It would be kinda odd for someone not to be curious about my wheelchair and disability when I am sat in what is clearly a very sporty set of wheels, have said I am on my way to hospital, my job is drawing disability related stickmen and I went dancing yesterday. (Ok, I can't remember exactly what I told him - but you get the point.) When doing general 'get to know you a bit' chat, people who ignore the wheels can come across as slightly odd. Awkward. Artificially ignoring something which to me is totally normal. (People who accept the wheels as normal are different. Hard to explain but it just is)

5) Most people don't have a close friend or relative who uses a wheelchair - let alone who has my conditions and is affected in the same way. So perhaps the only way they will learn to relate to people with disabilities is through talking to random strangers. If I want people to understand my viewpoint I have to take the time to tell them about my world - otherwise how can any prejudices be changed?

So I enjoyed chatting with this chap. We talked about other stuff too. Conversation drifted - like conversations do (I may possibly have advertised my stickmen products to him too).

However, I would like to point out that while asking about my disability in a mutually enjoyed (I hope) chat is fine (I can always say no/change the subject if I want) approaching me randomly in the supermarket and  starting a conversation with 'why do you use that' or 'how do you pee?' is not.

I would still try to be polite, but I would really really appreciate people remembering that such random demands do not comply with general social etiquette for out and about. If you are nosy about someone try striking up a conversation about something general - like the weather, or Christmas. If they don't want to chat, back off. If you find yourself chatting happily and you are intrigued by an aspect of them - it is OK to ask - but respect their response if they don't want to take the conversation further.

P.S. I would like to add that "How do you pee" and other such questions of a personal nature are never appropriate unless you are a) my boyfriend/fiance/husband or b) My doctor/nurse. 

Friday, 2 November 2012

'Giving up' vs 'Accepting'

As a person with chronic health conditions/disabilities I am often told that a) I need to accept my condition, and b) I mustn't give up.

This isn't as simple as it sounds!

If I accept that my body has limits, then try to live within those limits, 'encouraging' people tell me I shouldn't give up.

If I ignore the limits and don't give up on an activity I am told I have to accept my condition and not be in denial.

I can't win.

So I redefined 'accept'
= be realistic about what to expect from my body. Recognise what after-effects will be caused by doing certain activities, likely recovery time etc. and come up with ways to minimise the after-effects, and make sensible judgements whether to do, do adapted, or not do. And constantly 'update' my expectations based on experience - not other peoples opinions.

And redefine 'Give up'
= stop looking for things I can do. Stop enjoying what I can do. Stop actively managing my condition (physio, diet, meds, pacing etc.). Stop giving my boundaries the occasional POKE to see if they've moved or can be made to move. Stop being positive about my future as a whole (i.e. beyond my condition - encompassing family, friends, happiness, hobbies, work, church etc. etc.)


I can now accept and not give up.

You may not notice it - it is easy to mistake wise, long term choices as giving up - but they aren't. And just as easy to think 'Denial' when you see me take a calculated risk, when actually I've thought it all out and reckon there should be no long term negative effects - and the short terms ones are worth it.