There is a little ambiguity as to when, but I suffered a trauma either before, during, or after my birth. It occurred on the left side of my brain (which controls the right side of the body as well as speech), resulting in my speech being affected and me having little to no control of the right side of my body.
Growing up was particularly difficult. Because of my disability, I often received insults, with the majority of people simply assuming I was stupid; this is something I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. I left school at 16 and landed my first job as an assistant/gardener in a Royal Masonic care home, where I worked and resided for a number of years. I eventually became fed up, though, not having too much time to myself and constantly feeling tired from the large amount of work I was responsible for.
In 1993, while attending a freemasons meeting in London, I suffered a fall and severely injured my back. Much to my dismay, I was signed off sick by my doctor, and let go by the care home in which I was previously working. I had to move back into Mum and Dad’s, and I was in a pretty bad place, mentally. One day, however, I met a lady online, and the first words she ever said to me have stayed with me to this very day: ‘Don’t like your life? Change it.’
So, I did. I got myself a flat, and decided to start my journey into education. After receiving a distinction and a pass with commendation for my IT Practitioner and System and Network foundation courses respectively, I studied Engineering at London South Bank University. You see, learning keeps me switched on and somewhat alleviates the constant pain my body is in. In order to deal with the trauma, my brain forms new pathways as I continue to learn; during my childhood, I did some rather embarrassing things because of my brain not being able to process certain things correctly! That is why I am now on completing my MA at Greenwich – it is a form of pain relief for me. Hopefully in the future, I will pursue my PhD, too.
Little did I know, the lady I met online would become my best friend today. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her. Telling me to believe in myself when I was at my lowest, has helped shape my current outlook on life. I aim for the top, in everything I do. And I don’t let my disability hold me back!