Last weekend, my mum asked me to pick up some hinges for a kitchen cupboard whilst out running a few errands. Sounds like an innocent request and definitely not a worthy tale for a quick blog post, and you’d be right had the quick trip to the DIY shop not signified a relatively big step for me.
Having a disability as visible as mine generates an amount of attention when out in the general public. When I was younger I hadn’t quite developed the ‘ignore it’ or the ‘smile at them and they’ll stop it’ strategies. As a child, when I was out shopping with my family at the weekend all the comments from other children, the pointing and lingering stares would frustrate and upset me.
As most families, we spent a fair amount of time in DIY shops and it just so happened that a few consecutive visits resulted in worse comments and stares than usual. After this, I decided that all DIY shops were cursed and would always wait in the car when a trip to pick up some paint or peruse shelving options was on the weekend agenda. Just the thought of entering the shop filled me with overwhelming fear, certain that it was the DIY shop’s fault and another unfortunate encounter would be waiting for me. I couldn’t separate my feelings towards what had happened and where it had happened so DIY shops as an umbrella got the blame and not the ignorant people.
Then last weekend, without planning to, I tackled an old fear and if I’m honest I did it accidently! Did I do it to overcome something that had been with me for so many years? No. If I’m honest I had forgotten about it. I don’t have much need to go to a DIY shop now and I have the choice of planning my own weekends rather than it being dictated by my parents’ plans so I had forgotten about the fear. Fast forward to last weekend, there I was searching for the right hinges and having a snoop at the bathroom fittings, imagining which ones I would choose when I eventually fulfill an ambition to have my own ‘Grand Design” and build my own house. I didn’t realise what I had done until I got back into the car, bag of hinges in hand and looked at the Wickes sign in front of me.
So there we have it; a fear was tackled and it wasn’t that bad. Nothing awful happened and I’ve been left having something else to cross off my list of things that are no longer a problem and a few more shops to waste my money in. There’s a lesson here, for me, and for you reading this whether you have a disability or not. Throw yourself into the world and tackle it. If you have a fear and it’s stopping you from doing things then go in head first, because the experience won’t be as bad as you think. Now, what shall I tackle next…?!