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A birthday in Majorca; sun, sand, sea, & … speeches!



What do 'watchers', an aqua wheelchair, a beach clean up and 'litter stigma' have in common?

They can all empower you, if you let them-based on how YOU choose to clean up YOUR world.

One life lesson I learn in Majorca during my speaking tour, is that changing the world starts with changing your world first. There’s nothing I love more than sun, sand, sea… soul searching and speeches, in the middle of a speaking tour! Which is why I adored my time in Majorca and the opportunity to empower, help and recover  understanding in a totally new way, to my usual.

 

One thing Majorca taught me, in a similar way to Switzerland- is that the watchers - will always be there. Whether they are lurking in shadows of social media to secretly judge or be jealous or hate or learn from, admire, be encouraged or adore you, or whether they are strangers who let their own stigma litter their thoughts of you… watchers are everywhere.

 

Even in my happy place.

 

Even at the beach!

 

When the watchers come, a hush falls over the world as I know it. They are always there, watching. Waiting. They don't know, that it is their stigmatised views littering life, that makes the world so much more inaccessible, as a disabled person. It my birthday, and I am rolling down the beach path in my wheelchair, salty breeze tickling my face, the bumps roaring through my skeleton with pain as I bump and glide messily over the bamboo sand beach path.

 

Here we are, in the most accessible beach in Majorca - but that does not stop the watchers.

 

There they are, watching. Questions burning their eyes, curiosity making them look away hastily and fear makes them drag their children away when they too stand and gawk at me.

 

Wherever I am, no matter how accessible it’s always the watcher that make it that much more inaccessible. The watchers, they’re everywhere, we roll over the dunes and onto the walkway, In front of us, the ocean stretches to the horizon, it’s crystal green, and teal, like rounded glass mosaics sparkling together, washing gently onto the white sandy beach.

 

I was really ill that day on my birthday, the working holiday had drained me and I felt very ill with serious symptoms of my rare disease, yet as we bumped down the path, I already getting renewed by the salty sea air and beauty around me strength. Around me, my sister hurries to help me. We reach the crest of the dunes and smile in stunned silence, gazing at the waves, the question arises, as it always does at this point of a journey outside…“Think you can make it to the end?”

I’ll die trying.” I said, hope blossoming my features, and something in my sisters face shifts, her heart tugging, and then I remember it too - One day, I will die sooner rather than later; if my next major surgery can’t cure me. But not today. Today the sun will warm my face and sand will polish my feet.  Today I am ALIVE. Today, I am safe in the knowledge that; if I can’t sleep tonight, I will breathe in time to the memory of the oceans ebb and flow.

 

We turn a corner and gasp with glee - there it is - an accessible aqua wheelchair that goes INTO the sea! I marvel and gaze, tears in my eyes. I had only seen these mysterious things in movies or campaigned about them in work. Here it is. In front of me- ready to empower me, in a way that everyone already has access to!



An AQUA WHEELCHAIR! No booking necessary, no hire fee, just use it if you need it. We talk to the life guards who help me transfer into the long aqua chair, a life jacket on my body, and my legs comfortably resting out in front of me, and they wheel me down the sandy slopes. Back home, I had been on the 7 years, 7 miles accessible beach team with my local council; and even while together we made our sea front back home so much more accessible, - winning an age uk most accessible beach in the uk award - yet there is still so much more to be done!

 

I sit in the aqua wheelchair and the smiling life guards high five me and wheel me out to the shallows. The seas rages forward and I feel suddenly vulnerable- like I could tip over - and yet the betrayal of my favourite thing subsides as the ocean splashed enticingly on my legs, warm, comforting and I feel tears prick my eyes.

 

Gratitude seeps through me.

 

I can’t believe I am in the sea. Finally! I’m a wheelchair user who lives by the beach and is someone who used to swim in the sea quite regularly… but never in an aqua chair before and truly … it had been far too many months drifting by while my sickness made time stand still and tick away all in one all consuming chapter of chaos on my life.

 

Tears sting my eyes and the sea leaves salty residue on my skin and I laugh at this long forgotten feeling, casting my hands into the waters to my sand as my toes wiggle with joy in front of me. At that moment, a white feather, washes up onto my leg- it’s small - I so easily could have missed it. Yet by chance - destiny - I saw it before it washed away and I realised something profound.

 

This beach is nothing like home...

 

Not because of the crystal emerald waters or the mountains cocooning us, but because not only was this beach fully accessible - it was also a beach with NO LITTER. There was nothing drifting on the waves to greet us but a single feather. Where I live, you’d be swimming past litter every 50 yards or so and it’s really very distressing.

 

The difference is also in the watchers. They are more polite here, more restrained. Back home, people who have gasped and glared at me for daring to exist there at all ‘scaring their children with my disability’. Back home, the watchers would tut and shake their heads as they see me stand on jelly legs to transfer from my wheelchair. Back home, the watchers wouldn’t be so polite as to hide their judgements. Back home, the watchers are littered by their own stigma. Just like how the beaches back home are littered with trash.

 

We must make the world more beautiful and safe and accessible for us all - and that starts with our people, and their mind litter.

 

When the tide turns, I remember the time. I am reminded That time stands still and runs away all at once when you are disabled or autistic or chronically ill. That a simple trip at the beach can be both harrowing story of survival and a sublime snapshot of paradise.

 

Yet as the sea crashes and rolls, the tide turning, I am reminded of the times I have powered through and won, the times I powered through and lost and the countless times I will try and try again to escape the stigma and littered thoughts of my own mind.

 

I am not worthless because I am in a wheelchair. I have hope because I have humanity.

 

I am not a burden because I am chronically ill and spend my life in that limbo between sleep and wakefulness. I have faith, because I am humane.

I am not  wasting my energy because this will be the highlight for many days bed bound in the future where times stands still. Here in these days where time runs away, I must cherish the time, the moment, the litter and the stigma, to realise the beauty of acceptance for when time does stand still.


In the seas of Majorca, I am dancing, in this perfectly beautiful place. My body absorbs everything around me: the delicious warmth of a never-setting sun, the music of waves and song on the breeze,  the luscious greenery of the mountains embracing us inside.

 

My body can’t help it: it is swaying slowly, rhythmically. It is liquid in its movements, gliding up and down and side to side as my arms flutter into the water, my legs twisting in new ways in the water. The aquatic music slides across my whole body, like the blood pumping through me with life.

 

The people, they are all smiling. They are no longer watchers, and Together, we move in sync with one another. They love how my body moves and I, theirs. My diversity no longer a challenge to their littered thoughts because they’ve done the work to remove the stigmatised trash and see the love. We are bare and sweaty and warm. Our sweat glints in the light of the sun and smells like coconuts and sun cream. Our toes are digging into the sand. And they help me stand, wobbling in the waves. We are like the leaves of the palm trees around us: we brush against each other, and our skin feels like stars holding hands – glittering energy pulsing and dancing and dancing with acceptance and hope. Together we dance in the waves. We keep swaying.

 

We are one. We are the sea. The waves. The leaves in the wind. The sand swilling in the green waters of the gentle wash.

 

I realise as I look around me at the watchers and the beauty, that I never, ever want to leave…

 

 

Back home. Things are different. The watchers here are cruel. Here, I am less able to access the love I need to thrive. Here, in my home beach, I compare too much to the perfected beach in Majorca, that I cannot see the beauty in front of me.

I go to my beach. And feel a sadness creep over me at the litter on the roads, the old bbqs on the beach and trash destroying our oceans, visible even from our sandy shores. A place of such hope, destroyed by the littered thoughts of the watchers.

 

This is my happy place.

 

But I have to wonder, is this place really my happy place, if I am comparing it the supposed perfect Majorca beach? What if the grass IS greener on the other side?

 

“This happy place… it’s THE place… isn’t it? The place of the… incident?” My mind reminds myself and I gasp… yes… many times in fact.

 

My miles of beach back home - is a bustling beautiful place too, the calling of the gulls and the constant lap and crash of waves over golden sands, but the silence that accompanies those watchers is something quite different, when I notice their judgments, whispered aloud; prior, I never believed the sea could be silent, not until that first day when I had started to lose hope, at hearing their words, and my entire world, went entirely silent.

 

It was the day the watchers scared me  away. My agoraphobia growing, everytime I became ill and desperately in need of life saving help in public, only to be greeted by the watchers who would gaslight, harass abuse or straight up ignore me, twisted and crying on the floor for hours. On a daily basis for years. No wonder I am too scared to be alone outside my flat - because when I’ve been desperate for help, sometimes medically critical of in crisis - very few watchers actually ventured to help me; mostly choosing to fill me with dread and make me far sicker in those hours trapped in an unsafe place with no way of reaching safety alone.

 

The memory hurts and suddenly my world goes dark, as a flashback hits me hard.

 

There it is. A watcher

“Why does she even bother? I’d kill myself if I were her. What a waste of air

 

And before I’ve even registered her words my world goes dark.

 

Her littered stigma that seeps like blood gushing out of an open wound, infects me with physical illness.

 

Whoever said stick and stones may break my bones but words may never hurt me were wrong.

 

That hurt.

 

I can tell my self, on repeat, upon waking, that it says worse about her, and that my life is worth living and it’s just her eugenics infecting the world like litter, and nothing I’m doing wrong. But it still hurts. It still makes me sick by spiking the injustice cycle within me that powers up the adrenaline that knocks me out.

 

 

My head tips back and I stare up at the blue grey skies, my eyes blinking, hoping the stinging tears won’t drip down my face, the roof of my world and everyone else posing so much hope- a space so vast it contains whole other worlds.

 

I get to choose what I put into this world just as much as the worlds around me keep spinning and writing their own stories.

 

Words can hurt me- but I can learn how to stop other people’s stigmatised litter from hurting the world’s people too.

 

That’s why I litter pick - not just in reality - but as a speaker and a trainer - because litter is within our minds, buried in the depths of misconceptions and societal taught bias too, just waiting to be picked apart, light shone on them, and plucked out of darkness, to see the recycled light, until that misconception litter is born new. Something fresh. Something helpful, once again, no longe plaguing the world or your thoughts.

 

So we choose the world we want to try to improve and how. And as I look to the skies my eyes stop watering and I enhale the grassy salty scent, filling my lungs with purpose and hope.

 

What if I seek to discover a new world? What if we became a team and built a new worl together?

 

We are already halfway there, after all, picking up the litter and changing lives.

 With the question posed as “why bother” instead ask

“Why give up? Why shouldn’t I be the best I can be?”

 

A world of justice and peace? A world without stigma or the littered thoughts of those who wish to harm us, trailing the golden sands and salty seas with the very trash they think us to be…

 

That’s where they came from. The bad thoughts. The stigma.

 

The trash.

 

It teaches me to clean up my environment like I would tend to my own thoughts. My own trash. My own littered thoughts of stigma.

 

It’s why, when the world is littered, I seek to justice seek; when I can’t do anything else… I litter pick.

 

That is where the darkness of humanity hides  - in those lost crisp packets and cigarettes, the newspaper and the paper cups. they humanity in us dies the moment we let our thoughts litter our lands, our stigma to litter and stain the oceans around us to drown the people who we should be at one with.

 

 The stigma comes, clawing its way out of cages so vast, and buried so deep, generations of us died before they ever saw the sun. Or so the legends tell. We must believe the legends, the hope that stand to live another day.


Another birthday, another memory, another watcher, littering my energy. I slide on my sup board, legs aching, crossed beneath me as I valence on my boards, waves lapping around me, gentle with beauty, reaching out with my gloved hands to pick up the floating debris before its slides past me. Got it! My finger tips snatch it and drag its heavy form from the depths, nearly falling in as the board jostles to keep me afloat, and i giggle at the size lf it. It’s a big plastic bag. A bin bag, ironically, while gets drained and then placed into my very own litter bin bag I brought with me specifically so I could pick at the litter.

 

But then it happened.

 

The thoughts turn grey and my head starts to feel hot and wet and cold and I wonder suddenly if my head is bleeding.

 

It’s not.

 

It’s dry, and baking in the sun.

 

Yet that does t stop my seizure. My head whips away from consciousness and I come to, held up by my husband as he attempts, with great difficulty onto the board. If you’ve ever dragged a dead weight out of water onto a boat you’ll know it’s near impossible, alone, if the stern is too high - but luckily- we had sup boards. Destiny looked down on me, blessing me with another day, and I wake, he’s holding me up by my life jacket, heaving and gasping mad terror shining his eyes. With weak jelly limbs I manage to roll on board, and he paddles, me back to shore, tieing his ankle guide rope to my board guide rope so I wouldn’t drift away. He saved my life out there, while I was trying to good.

 

A true hero with nothing but love coursing through his veins .

 

No hate in sight. No litter. Just love.

 

Yet we get to land, and the watchers are there, staring, glaring, they peek at us from their chairs and cars, and judge the worse of him, and the worse of me, all because the havnt challenged the litter stigmatising their hearts enough to see the hope and beauty of the situation they had witnessed- a hero, and his wife.

 

Why do I bother? I’m disabled & the world is not accessible to aid me to achieve my dreams” that morning as I recovered on the sandy shoreline, My heart ached as I pondered this. Happy birthday, eh?!

I had sat, with sand between my toes, trying to get nature, to melt away my woes. Serotonin all around me like vitamin d in the sunlight.

 

The overwhelming anxiety  from the watchers sickening within me.

 

Stimming in nature, saves me from drowning within my thoughts.

 

I pick the flowers in the dunes, threading them, onto little sticks.

I pick & roll pine cones within my palm, picking the edges, bending breaking, loving.

I twirl grass around my fingers,

I stroke the sands beneath my feet & draw into the cool softness, the affirmations I hope to believe.

 

You are worthy”

“You have hope”

“Believe in the power of yet”

 

Stimming in nature always helps me- especially flower threading at this time of year.

 

It’s ok that I get lost in these thoughts & I don’t hide from them-but I don’t let them control me when I could appreciate the now. My fears are valid -Once upon a time, my body would run free upon sandy beaches, jump among waves, dive with the fishes, climb trees for a laugh as I walked among ancient mountains of mystery.

 

Now it seems that those days of easy accessibility are a thing of the past- & it’s ok.  These ancient parts of nature that make my soul feel awake & at peace, also gift me with the wisdom to manage expectations.

 

 That beauty will always be there; just like how the sands have been there for millions of years, carved out from stone, the trees that create the luscious forests of my dreams have been growing taller & stronger, weathering all types of storms- & those mountains can not be moved- so what if I can’t access them as easily, like I once did? They’re still there, always seeping with Hope & joy. I’m as strong as they are-weathering the chaos of humanity.

 

If I access them from a distance or with a wheelchair, I’ll still be happy.

 

Like the sun which has been around from the dawn of time, spinning around, seeing so much growth & change within our tiny civilisation down on earth- I know accessibility, with time, will grow- & so will I.

 

Managing expectation & being grateful for your body & mind, despite the hardships & disability is really tough.

 

I stim into the sand, swirling my fingers to write a message of hope for all to see - even those watchers - and they do see it, and instead of horror or fear or pity, I see hope too, blossoming their features.

 

On the day that changed everything, I don’t know how long I’ve been there trapped oin the beach with no access to help, but I know it’s too long. Shadows pass me by as the sun yravels across the sky. I lay on the sand, unable to move, trapped there, burning as watchers walk around me and harass or ignore me. As the sun begins to dim, I drag my trembling fingers through the sand to write a message, in the hope a watcher would help me. Out here, in the harsh light of day, my message in the sand looks small, smaller than I thought. But it’s big enough. Simple, too. Simple is good. That’s the one thing I’ve learnt from my years on the beach with the watchers - “I’m alive & so I am hope” I want to write, but instead I write “please help me, I am disabled”, in recognition of my vulnerability.

 

No matter the hardship and disability and illness I’m alive and have hope.

 

I faint again, landing on the soft sand, and when I wake I’m so exhausted, I fall asleep... I dream of a place where the sky is blue. I dream of a place where the air doesn’t stick in my throat and make me cough, I dream of clean clear seas and smiling happy people. I dream of watchers who are cautious to learn and help, I dream of the change I wish to empower.

 

I dream of Majorca.

 

And I dream of the beautiful hope my home has for in the future.

 

I dream until the humming lifts me from my doze. A dog sniffing at my feet, a cautious watcher helping me to my feet, and offering me their phone and some water. My hands are filled with shells and the softest sand, I’ve scooped up, turning them over and over, grinding them together. We have to have faith in the turning of the tides. Stimming and litter picking helps keep the faith – but so do the watchers, if we give them half a chance. It was then, as if by fate, a white feather finds its way onto my hands, and I marvel and cry, at the message and the lesson taught. We all have hope. Even the watchers who litter stigma, have hope to empower and cleanse the world with love. Heres a watcher in front of me, who I had seen pass me by some hours earlier, who had frowned at me, and ignored my screams for help, only to return, and decide that they would help. they would recycle the litter of stigma, and instead cleanse, and become a hero.

Indeed, watchers are everywhere, and that’s why we must keep the faith.

I look at the white feather, sat in my aqua wheelchair and marvel at the life lesson before me. Indeed, Majorca was a happy place, but my beach, my home - surrounded by MY watchers - is where my soul awakens. My beach is where I rise from the ashes and awake renewed. At home, is where love is all around me, no matter the watchers and stigma that makes it hard.

 

The watchers will come for you, but so will the hero’s. Why not be a hero? Away from here, away from the watcher, away from this endless beach, with its endless shells and endless litter, and endless beauty.

 

I’m my own hero, not pushing my limits and respecting my needs. I’m my own hero ignoring the rude judgments of watchers as I allow myself to take off the mask and step out into a brave new world.

 

Back home, I’m reminded with every sparkle of my loved one’s eyes as they help me wobble onto the sands, and giggle as the surf splashed our ankle followed by my delighted squeals, that the people in this far from perfect place I call home - are as beautiful as the beach in Majorca.

 

The people, here at home - are wondrous stars - they are my loved ones and they are all smiling. While strangers are watchers, my people are winners. Where some people might be watchers, but they won’t always be. Where some people were watchers, they are no longer watchers, and Together, we move in sync with one another as we build a better world. These new watchers, wait to see how they can help, a cautious smile on their face as they watch our journey onto the sand, and seas. These watchers tip their hats and smile encouragingly. These watchers, watch me, not to spread litter, but to spread the humane love of a cleansed world, free of stigmatised litter. These watchers back home, they also love how my body moves as I dance and find freedom not in spite of my disabilities and I, marvel at theirs. Their journey to overcome the stigmatised litter is as hard as my journey walking on jelly legs down the dandy dunes and into the sea, propped up my loved ones on either side. Here, back home, My diversity no longer a challenge to every watchers littered thoughts because they’ve done the work to remove the stigmatised trash and see the love. Some watchers will litter, but we must remember that some won’t. We are bare and sweaty and warm, as they take my arms to help me, after asking for consent. We smile and giggle as we stumble and fall. Our toes are digging into the sand. And they help me stand, wobbling in the waves. Together we dance in the waves. We keep swaying.

 

We are one. We are the sea. The waves. The leaves in the wind. The sand swilling in the green waters of the gentle wash.

 

The similarities between the societal beach of my dreams in Majorca, and back home, are not all that different after all; we just have to empower each other to challenge their own misconceptions to reduce the littered thoughts that cause harm and stigma.so often, I  go to the beach in my chair back home, unable to use access ways, and instead combing the beaches with my eyes as I sit after I wobble on jelly legs to sit on the shores back home in England - and my eyes comb the sea for beauty and hope, knowing I cannot yet swim in the sea like I dream to.

 

Dreams change when you are sick.

 

I had already achieved a dream of leaving my bed, and being well enough to have a bath. I charged my dream of cleaning my teeth and brushing my hair in the same day. I achieved my dream of resting in beautiful surroundings for my mental health. I achieved my dream of  venturing outside of my home and sitting on the sands to recover in beauty.

 

So I was still happy, but still, my eyes gaze the coastline, watching the point where the waves meet the beach, searching for those elusive scraps of hope.

 

 

It helps me remember that

We will sit or even swim, in the seas again.

 

We will marvel as the sand trickles through our finger tips.

 

We will pick litter and smile that we made a difference today. Either way, the sun is always there & I’m learning to let go of my expectations & let my body move freely through nature and enable my mind to wander through the darkness; to dance where it empowers me; no matter the accessibility. No matter the litter. I control the litter because I can learn to try and control my mindset with something more open.

 

There’s always hope to free litter from our world and our thoughts, so we must never give up on creating those legends ourselves.

 

We are the legend.

 

We are the world.

 

We are the hope.

 

 

I had a Wonderful time in Majorca, soul searching to tailor speeches on the beaches, because I’m a poet and didn’t know it…😁…


sharing stories and song, with soul and spirit on another stage of life, alongside ‘Abba’ and lots of magnetic, high vibrational folks, exploring how autism and disability is treated outside of the UK was wonderful. Nothing I love more than sun, sand, sea and… soul searching for speeches! Very different to my usual, but adored it and it was still so helpful too! Loving life and feeling blessed for these opportunities… I’ve always learnt outside the walls on the classroom and I am at my best working outside the box too-so the beach? Was PERFECT to tailor speeches and treat as working holiday amidst my speaking tour!

 

Indeed it would have been magical back home to tailor speeches and work among nature too-but in a different way, that’s all.

 

It turns out, whether it be in Majorca, or home - my happy place - is in fact, wherever I go, because I have learnt to surround myself with love, even if the love is just found in my thoughts.

 

The watchers will watch, and they will wait. The watchers will litter the world with their thoughts of stigma.

 

But you? YOU will clean the oceans of stigma with your efforts and energy and humanity, because that’s what you want to do.

 

They watch. YOU win, in a a way that works for you - even in a society that is inaccessible or seems so hopeless and sad when compared to the societal beach of our dreams .

 

I check my pulse, and it beats happily a reminder that I’ve answered my own question- I’m alive-so why not, make my soul feel alive too?

 

That’s why I bother and that’s why I win.

 

That’s also why you bother and one day, you’ll learn that this effort is what makes you win, too.

 

Trying your best is everything, especially when you feel like nothing

 

Happy belated birthday to me!

x <3 x 

 

 

 

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