Monday, 24 June 2013

Keeping my head up…

This isn’t going to be a pep talk about how everyone should remain positive in life because I realise that would be tedious and untrue (everyone can’t be happy all the time). Recently, it seems that all my posts have been very Brave heart in style and I’ve been using provocative language to ‘really get the people going’ on subjects that mean a lot to me. Today,  you’ll be glad to know I am refraining from emotional metaphors and will be literally speaking about my need to look up more.

I used to blame my Scoliosis (curvy spine) for the fact I keep my head down all the time but now I have a metal rod in my back, that excuse doesn’t work. My family have been saying it for ages and it’s something I am trying to work on. However, it’s proving difficult to change my natural tendency. Looking towards the ground has become a habit ever since I began using the wheelchair full-time so changing the way my body behaves will take time and effort.

Granted, me being lazy plays a significant part because I can’t be bothered to raise my head. Also, I have to look down to avoid ridiculously placed obstacles or so I don’t hit people’s ankles (it’s usually their fault). Another factor though has been my personality. I’ve always gone through life not wanting to be noticed and staying quiet, thus keeping my head down. This newfound voice I’ve been developing of late might hopefully signal a change in body language too. No one is ever going to take seriously a ‘Wheelchair Boy’ who goes around with his head facing the ground.

That brings me on to an issue that has plagued me all my life: not being able to sustain eye contact during a conversation.  My dad is to blame. Growing up, I always thought he was being pretty rude when talking to people but now, I do exactly the same. The worst thing is I recognise the problem but there is nothing I can do. Not being sexist but I find it easier with men. Even if I’m not attracted to a woman, I don’t feel comfortable engaging in eye contact. Part of me worries that she will think I’m mentally undressing her (because I’m a perverted young man) and the other part of me doesn’t want to appear rude so I end up playing some weird game of head tennis (being topical because It’s Wimbledon).

I just thought I’d tell you all in case people start talking to me and think I’m being rude/off. It’s just another one of my confidence issues that I’m slowly but surely addressing. Not only will keeping my head up help to make me look a tiny bit more normal, but it will also help with problems my condition brings such as my speech.

I can accept Friedreich’s Ataxia is part of me but I’m not going to let other genetic faults such as not giving eye contact dictate my life. I am my own person so can control and change that part of my make up if I put enough thought into it.

Bye for now!


  1. Looking up & sustaining eye contact--challenging for all of us & great goals to strive for!

  2. At least I know it's not just me who has to overcome this hurdle!

  3. I was thinking about the same thing.....anyway thanks for sharing.. rollators is the one I like the most. :)