It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable and then confident with my body as a disabled woman. At first, I felt completely disconnected to this new version of myself. I mourned the loss of my old life and could do nothing but look backwards with desperate longing. As the realisation sank in that this was my situation, and it wasn’t going to go back to how it was I began to accept.
I looked for guidance on how to act, how to be. I tried to mould myself. But it felt wrong. Empty. Something was missing. Where was that magic, the sassy me. There was no representation in the media for someone like me, a disabled woman who was full of life, cheeky, interested in fashion, sexy, sassy, and independent, experiencing midlife. There are plenty of midlife role models and now, luckily, we have some amazing disabled women, and men, coming into the spotlight, but there are still no midlife or older disabled women, and this is a hard enough stage of life to tackle regardless without the additional complications of being disabled.
Women at my age struggle with feeling invisible, fading away, feeling insignificant, that it’s all over. Add into that a disability, especially if it’s one you’ve acquired in later life as opposed to one you’re born with, and you’re in dangerous territory. It left me feeling lonely and cast adrift with no one for support. I started to post about my own struggles to find my way back to being confident and people responded. They seemed hungry for it. That was when I knew I wanted to focus on supporting others in the same situation, so no one ever had to feel as alone as I did.