Relationships are tricky things even when you are not throwing a disability into the mix. I mean I have so much to cope with in my everyday life plus I want to find time to live and do everyday things that having a personal relationship never actually seemed a priority. At least it didn't for 17 years and it still isn’t but there has been a change in my attitude, for the better I think though maybe I’ll just let you, the reader, decide how healthy my point of view is!
For 17 years, I have felt completely happy being single. I did whatever I wanted to do or at least as much as I am capable of doing and I kept up with my hobbies. So, I have to ask myself what has changed? There is a one word answer to that:
This year I have had a few health problems and my overall condition has declined. In some ways, I would say that this decline has been significant and there have been many issues for me to deal with. Seemingly not the optimum time to think about personal relationships eh! But, hey, when is?
I have always felt a little bit on the outside of everything but to be honest that has never really bothered me at all. I even think that, that might just be me and not entirely due to my disability. Then during a random web surf, I found the Outsiders.
The Outsiders is a peer support group for disabled people, to assist and enable people to form friendships, relationships and date. The only relationship that I was interested in forming was friendships and by joining the Outsiders, I have got that in buckets (I’m sure there is a pun there!) and I have made some fantastic friends some of whom, I am sure will be my friends for the rest of my life. My online social life has never been so busy and seeing as though my disability is currently being unpredictable, the online support I am receiving is priceless to me.
As already stated, relationships in any form can be difficult; friendship's, partners, lovers and intimacy are never completely easy for anybody but if you add a life changing disability (whether physical, social, hidden or visible etc.) into it, then there is whole different ball game of confusion to circumnavigate. This is why peer support through the Outsiders is invaluable and made me feel confident enough to experience a (small!) personal relationship for the first time in 17 years. Needless to say, it did not last longer than two months and did not end in the greatest manner (do they ever?); I am single again but I did survive it. It did a lot to boost my confidence and show me that despite my horrid physical disability, I am not as hideous as I thought!
I feel that I now know more about myself and what I am looking for should I come across a potential partner.
Somebody who will never give up on me.
(too much to ask??)
Isn't that what everybody is looking for when they actively search for somebody to spend the rest of their life with? I am not sure that I am ready to try and ‘actively’ find someone for me to spend the rest of life with, I am more of a ‘see what crosses my path’ kind of person.
I have had the good fortune and amazing privilege of meeting and volunteering for Dr Tuppy Owens the relentless driving force behind the Outsiders, SHADA and TLC, which together help disabled people to have and experience full relationships both emotionally and sexually.
I am now voluntarily offering my assistance to Tuppy in writing her autobiography which I hope is helping her in some way and I am contributing to the Twitter feed for the Outsiders. I am not that confident on Twitter yet but I am learning. I have over 700 followers on Twitter for the Adventures of Pom and so I am hoping that I will be able to help the Outsiders in return for all the help they have given me in raising my social life and my confidence.
The Outsiders has also given me future goals to aim for such as figuring out how I can attend their lunch events opening my world up to lots of people that are welcoming and wonderful.
I recommend the Outsiders to everybody, not just disabled people because it is all inclusive Community.