At Greenbelt this year, I went to a panel discussion called, ‘Will I still need a Blue Badge in Heaven’ (sorry I can’t find a link for it). The upshot of the conversation for me was, who says only disabled people will (need to) be changed in heaven – it will be totally different for us all.
This conversation was pertinent to me, because being at Greenbelt there is potentially a lot (i.e. far too much for me )of walking about to do, and a whole new group of people, who through no fault of theirs, do not understand your limitations, because they are not visible. For example, being at Greenbelt with lots of exciting people to meet and talk to is not so much fun when you don’t have the energy and can’t talk for very long. I was really only there because my beloved was helping run the Social Media Surgery – but I coped as best I could, by only being on site a minimal amount of time.
All of which brings me round to the digital world as Paradise.
You see, for me, it is – well it’s getting there anyway. Because the digital world is a great leveller (well it is if you have internet access, but perhaps the digital inclusion/exclusion argument is for another day…) I am fortunate that we have internet connection, and I have a phone that enables me to keep connected to the world. For to me that is my world. In all the places I can’t go, I can peep into; when I can’t get out to see people, I can communicate digitally; though I can’t hold a physical conversation for long, I can type my ideas (as slowly as I need to and taking the time I require to form sentences properly!), and people can read them – and respond. So for those for whom the “outside” world is difficult, the digital world opens up so much.
So, how can those who have a foot in both camps, help those of us for whom digital life is our main reality?
- Talk to us – you maybe don’t realise how much of a life enhancer your interaction is. Otherwise it’s just me and the TV all day – and that never responds to me!
- When you’re at an exciting event, think of us – don’t drown us, but what useful snippets are there? – and don’t assume everyone can get to these events, there are many reasons why some can’t – be sensitive, please
- Don’t assume that the digital is not the “real world” – for some of us it is. And because of that conversations and issues take on a whole different level of importance.
- If we disappear, we’re probably having a physically bad day – please don’t abandon us
- Forgive us if we have nothing interesting to say – sometimes life is like that when you have no outside stimulation – sometimes putting the washing out really is the highlight of my day!