One-Year Blogiversary Q&A!

Exactly one year from now an emotional yet outspoken teenage girl decided to start a blog called The Wheelchair Teen. I’ve come a long way since then, and so has my blog, so thank you for asking me questions to help me celebrate the occasion by getting to know me better. I picked ten of your questions to answer, I hope that you enjoy!

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1. What were your expectations when starting your blog, and have you met them? Or have they changed over the years?

I expected that writing for my blog would be cathartic for me – I didn’t really expect anyone to read it. My blog has truly helped me to accept myself more, and I never would have guessed so many people would be interested in it. Now my expectations have shifted from writing for myself to writing to help inspire and educate others.

2. If you could tell one thing to your younger self, what would it be?

Oof, that’s a tough one. I would try to tell myself: “Please stick to one TV-episode a day, you’ll rot your brain.” But I know that would be futile because there’s no way I’d take that advice. Instead, I’d tell myself to work hard no matter what and not to push away the people who are close to me. Almost every single best friend I had in school, I pushed away because I’m bad with affection and it’s one of my biggest regrets.

3. What is your biggest dream?

I would love to travel Europe (train only. NO aeroplanes) giving talks and raising awareness about disabilities. My current dream is to publish a book and I’m also working on concept art for a comic with disabled superheroes but that one is a little more unlikely because they cost a lot to make. I guess that my biggest dream is to have a positive impact on my community, and even though I’m young, I won’t stop fighting until I feel as if I’ve made a real difference for people like me.

4. Is it better to say “person with a disability” or “person with special needs”? Is there a right or wrong answer here?

That depends. Personally, I’d say the disability one is better because many people find the term ‘special needs’ to be patronizing. Whether there’s a right or wrong answer is a little harder to explain. If it helps, I once wrote a discussion post called ‘Disabled’ vs. ‘Physically-Challenged’ and Other Such Terms where I discussed in further detail terms used to describe disabled people: ‘Disabled’ vs. ‘Physically-Challenged’ and Other Such Terms – The Wheelchair Teen

5. What is your favourite animal?

The Patagonian Mara. It’s an adorable yet peculiar mix between a rabbit and a kangaroo with a kangaroo body and legs that hop around yet a rabbit’s head. Also, my eldest sister’s name is Tamara so Maras always make me think of her. 😊

6. What have been the best and the worst things about starting your blog? What has been the biggest challenge?

The best thing is probably the incredible people that I’ve met through it. The blogging community is magnificent: they’ve seen me through some extremely tough times, encouraged me, inspired me to write, and so much more. Thank you to everyone who supports me – now that I’m apart of this community, I can’t imagine what it would be like without it.

The worst thing is how it brings out the perfectionist in me: I read every single post through about ten times to check for errors (I even spell out each word), and I check every single button on WordPress multiple times juuuust to make sure. I do a mini-freak out stress session after I hit send too, every time.

The biggest challenge is probably how time-consuming it is and trying to figure out what is going to be a good topic for a blog post or a boring one. I’m still figuring that one out. 😊

7. Is accessibility a national law where you live?

That’s a good question – I don’t know. As far as I can tell, where we live in the Netherlands things are much more accessible than London. It’s rare to find a pavement without a ramp or at least some sort of disability accommodation in buildings. When we go to London, it’s definitely a different story.

8. I’m a wheelchair user too and my typing skills are slow, so I’m wondering if you have any accessible tools you use to meet deadlines?

I used to use a speech-recognition software called Dragon Speech but I actually ended up spending more time fixing its mistakes. Now I just stick to typing with a pen in my mouth which goes moderately fast. At school, teachers accommodated me by allowing me extra time to complete assignments and more time in tests since they took me slightly longer to do. I also took fewer classes since I struggled with the workload and I couldn’t take classes like Physical Education anyway.

9. Something about you not many people know?

I am criminally shy. This morning I felt ashamed about how badly a conversation went… three years ago. As soon as I’m done talking to someone, I go over everything that I said in the conversation and stress about it. I sometimes panic around people and it just takes a lot of energy for me to be social. People who read my blog or my poetry where I tend to be rather outspoken can then be surprised by how quiet I am in real life. Words are where I feel comfortable. I’d much rather have a friendship with someone via email and messaging instead of face-to-face. (Ironic since I was so confident and crazy in primary school when I was able to walk. The combination of secondary and my wheelchair really squashed my confidence).

However, in complete contradiction, I LOVE public speaking and presenting to large audiences. I feel comfortable doing it because I know that I’m good at moving people with my words. I’m horrible at improvising though so I write out everything I’m going to say from the jokes to the dramatic pauses and sarcastic “ums…”, and then memorise it completely and present it with no notes or assistance. It sounds like a horrible method but surprisingly it actually works because it helps me to feel well-prepared and comfortable. I once performed an emotional spoken word poem to my English class full of sixteen-year-old students who hated poetry and managed to move some to tears. I may find people tricky but the stage feels natural to me. 

10. What is your favourite colour?

Red. Although I like purple too so I had the walls of my room painted in purple, but most of my wheelchairs have been red.

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Thank you so much to everyone who has seen me through from my very first post until now. Hopefully, I’ll keep this blog going for many more years to come – all the way until I become a Wheelchair Woman 😊. Happy December everyone! I hope that you all have a wonderful month!

71 thoughts on “One-Year Blogiversary Q&A!

  1. I love your dream! Yes, you should pursue it! I was a middle school/high school speech teacher, and a lot of my students were the opposite way from the way you describe yourself. They were fine talking to one another one-on-one (Some days I couldn’t get them to stop!) but in front of any kind of audience, even 20 classmates, they’d freeze up.
    Memorizing speeches is a perfectly valid method. Every method has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of a memorized speech is, you never have to worry about losing your note cards, or getting the pages of your manuscript out of order. 😉
    Keep dreaming, and GO FOR IT! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Most of my classmates were like that too – they felt embarrassed while presenting but spent most of their time talking to each other during classes. I think that it’s most peoples natural reaction to public speaking. Exactly, memorizing helps me to relax and feel prepared. And sometimes I do deviate from the script but I always have it to fall back on if I start getting tounge-tied. Thank you, I’ll definitely go for that dream 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Goodness, Simone, you can write as if your pen was guided with an angel’s hand. And I marvel at your intellect; the way you prepare and memorise your speeches for the best effect is the method used by the best orators in history. I don’t need to wish you all the best for the future, you are already halfway there. I love your today’s post, as always you make your writing fascinating to read. Thank you.

    Joanna

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Happy blogoversary and here’s to many more! (yep, I wanted to crack a joke about Wheelchair Woman, but of course you beat me to it 😂. But maybe you can be Wheelchair Wonder Woman! 😉).

    “I’d much rather have a friendship with someone via email and messaging instead of face-to-face.”
    I’m much older than you and…same. It never goes away LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Roberta! Oops, sorry for stealing your thunder there XD You were able to save it in the end though! That’s funny that you can relate. I feel like being a writing/literature lover and a shy person seems to be quite common traits among bloggers.

      Like

  4. Simone,
    You are a wonderful person, I love to read you you are so sincere and full of vitality.
    You made me laugh when you said that you reread your text several times before pressing PUBLISH !!!
    It’s the big stress, I’m like you, I always have the anxiety of letting a huge mistake pass, we try to do too well;)
    you wonderfully describe how to write for yourself you came to write for others i think you understood that everything in you is beyond you, you are made for something bigger i believe you are really made to communicate
    I am going to tell you an anecdote, I have been doing theater for a few years as an amateur, and I can tell you that as a young girl I was very shy, so shy that at university they called me “the autistic” .. .
    You see 😉
    And one day I decided to do myself a little violence, to reach out to others, to express myself and to dare to take my place!
    You must take your place in this world, you will not steal anything, on the contrary you will bring your riches which are enormous.
    To come back to the theater, today I love it and I will even say that the little panics before going on stage have disappeared, because I know that I am in my place on stage, I am perfectly legitimate !!
    In theater we say that you should always be wary of the timid, they are the ones who excel most often;)
    So go for it!
    I have chills to write it to you.
    Simone, I hope to follow you for a long time, I wish us all to follow you for a long time and to witness the emergence of a very great person who will know how to influence the world with his gaze and his vision just to help and enlighten the world !
    All strong
    Corinne

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! It means a lot that you enjoy reading my work 🙂 Yes, I think that worrying about mistakes is a natural thing for most bloggers – we just don’t want to post something that’s wrong. Wow, I’m impressed that you’ve been doing theatre! I love watching shows and musicals. It’s horrible that they used to call you that at university for multiple reasons (including ableism) – I’m so sorry. I’m happy that you’re still brave enough to go out there and perform though. Good for you! You deserve to feel comortable on the stage – I’m sure that you’re geat at it. Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope to hear from you for a long time too, I love talking with you you. I truly hope that one day I will be able to emerge into that person and make a difference ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Blog Anniversary, Wheelchair Wonder Woman! May you have Many More! ❤❤❤

    I am amazed at how alike we are, despite the fact that I have grandchildren older than you. Total perfectionist, and stressing over possible missed mistakes after posting — Me, Too! Feeling at a loss sometimes over WHAT to write about — Yes! Prefer text and email conversations over face to face — SAME! Getting all tongue-tied talking with just one person, but LOVE talking to an audience from a stage — SERIOUSLY? I thought I was the only one!

    You are AWESOME. I am so looking forward to reading your book. Please don’t spend too much time trying to make it PERFECT! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the congradulations! Wow, we really are quite alike despite the age difference. I haven’t met many people who aren’t that comfortable being social yet also love public-speaking. And I think that perfectionism may be a common trait among many bloggers, but you really shouldn’t worry about it since I’ve absolutely loved everything I read that you’ve written. Don’t worry, I’m trying not to stress too much over the book like I normally would. First drafts are just about getting everything down. The stressful editing stage comes afterwards XD.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Bloganiversary. I enjoyed reading your post. I think you communicate very well through the written word. Try not to be so hard on yourself. when it comes to your blog post. I don’t think anyone knows the perfect combination to a post, but I somehow think you are on the right track.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the advice – I am trying to be less hard on myself. I think that writing down how worried posting sometimes makes me feel, helped me to see that I shouldn’t be stressing about it so much. I hope that I am indeed on the right track though 🙂 Thanks for commenting and have a great day!

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    1. Merci Louise. Je suis heureux que vous ayez trouvé mon message émouvant et amusant. C’était amusant de célébrer mes progrès et de porter un toast à beaucoup d’autres. J’espère que vous passez une bonne journée aussi!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Blogiversary! 🥳🤩
    🎊🎉🎊🎉🎊🎉🎊🎉🎊
    Also re-reading blog posts millions of times… yep!
    Every word must be carefully written… including the sarcastic comments! 😆
    I definitely can NOT speak, like public speaking. But I’m VERY outgoing with friends (and enemies/people who bully my friends), especially with books and such. So much so, actually, they think me “weird, but in a good way”.
    Interesting…
    Anyway, yay you! A whole year?! 😱😁🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅🪅
    (I has new emoji!! 😉🪅)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Zoe Nightshade ❤ That is interesting. Socially, we're sort of opposites. Sometimes I wish that I could have your fiery outgoing attitude when it comes to dealing with people. I'd probably have more friends then. Yep, a whole year! It's not much compared to most seasoned bloggers but I've been through a lot this past year so I'm still proud of this accomplishment. (by the way, love the new emoji!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Blogiversary!! I didn’t know the Patagonian Mara was called that! I have seen pictures of them before but never knew what they were called. They look really nice! I hope you will get your dream some day. Trains are a great way to move around Europe imo. (Though, I’ve only been to Germany by train and to lots of places in the Netherlands, I don’t think I’ve been anywhere else by train from NL, though I have been on trains in other countries before, staying in that country, if that makes sense). I can totally relate to the first paragraph of question 9, I too am shy and was even more so in school. I overanalyse conversations and am bad with social rules unless I know the specific rules well. I loved reading this blogpost and learning a bit more about you. How cool your favourite colour is red! I don’t think I know anyone who has told me their favourite colour is red (not that I know the favourite colours of all the people I know!), so you get to be the first 😁.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I’m honoured to be the first red-lover that you know! 🙂 The only other country I’ve travelled to by train is Belguim and we travel within England and The Netherlands by train sometimes. I just really don’t like areoplanes – so travelling by train would probably be better. I’m happy that you enjoyed reading more about me in this post and I understand that you were able to relate to the first part of question 9. Being shy is hard but I find that surrounding yourself by people who are patient enough to understand that you may find social situations a little harder helps. Sorry it took me a little longer to get to your comment. Have a fabulous week! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Wolfie. Your support over these past few months after I returned to blogging has truly meant a lot. Your delightfully cheeky attitude in your own writing and your companionship when we talk has really helped me through my difficult time with studying. Wow, I didn’t even notice that little “oof”! I wonder who it is too? XD

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  9. Aww i loved this post! your blog is just going to continue growing and i’m so excited for you! i love super heros and i’d love to see a disabled super hero; will definitely be something different but SO cool!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thanks so much Zainab! I love superheroes too – they’re probably my favourite characters. So I’m also really excited to create disabled ones. I think that they’ll be different to what you’re used to but I think you’ll still love them ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy Blogiversary Simon! You are such an incredible inspiration in this community. Thank you for being so genuine and lovely. Your site has definitely been eye opening for a lot of people. The Patagonian Mara sounds interesting. I’m heading to google now as I’ve never heard of this animal before! How cool.

    I think a disabled superhero is exactly the representation we need. Young kids need to learn that being a role model and leader isn’t all about physical strength. It’s about what’s in our hearts and how we can serve others. It’s about being a good person in and out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Exactly, that’s why I’m working on making disabled superheroes. I really like superheroes, and I’ve already read comics with disabled superheroes – and some were good, but there were also so many mistakes made with their representation. So I wanted to make disabled superheroes correcting all of the mistakes I’d seen other people make when they made them. Aw, thank you so much for calling me genuine and lovely. I’m so happy that my site comes across in that way. I hope you enjoyed researching the Patagonian Mara! Thanks for always being such a support and a great friend ❤

      Like

  11. Happy Blogiversary! Here’s to many more. ☺️✨ I really hope you continue to pursue your dreams. They are amazing and so inspiring.

    Also you and I are so alike in the way we cringe at our selves for conversations we had literally 3 years ago. Why do we put ourselves through this? 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought I was the only one who couldn’t let things like that go! I think it’s because my good memory is a bad combination with my social awkwardness. Thank you for wishing me a happy anniversary! I don’t know if I will achieve my dreams but I certainly won’t stop trying too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed reading your four nominations and four tags post. Thanks for nominating me – I will accept the award but it might take me slightly longer to get to because I also have other nominations to attend to. Thanks for thinking of me though, and if you’re patient enough, you will eventually be able to read my answers. Have a great rest of the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Congrats on your blogiversary! I definitely relate to being super shy, but enjoying public speaking. I think it’s because public speaking gives you the opportunity to discuss things that you’re passionate about, but in smaller conversations I feel like I need to over analyze everything I say, especially if I’m talking to someone new. But I’m glad that you find joy in public speaking! It’s such a powerful tool 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Emily! I never even thought about it from this angle but you’re probably right – I find it much easier to speak to people when I’m talking about things that I’m passionate about. That’s also good advice for what to talk abou when I’m struggling during small-talk.

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  13. Congratulations, Simone!! One year is a long time and you’ve already written so many informative posts! ❤️✨I was a little surprised to read you’re quiet in real life. I relate so much to not knowing how to behave socially but loving public speaking!! I never understood how that particular part of my brain worked but I’m glad you feel the same way. You have a wonderful dream and it seems as if you’re already on a steady path to it! The Patagonian Mara sounds interesting, I’ve only ever read a vague description of it.
    I find affection hard too, I’d prefer email friendships too but I’m also paranoid about online safety and whether people are who they say they are. So I usually just spent hours with imaginary friends 😂
    It’s absolutely fine to be a perfectionist as long as it doesn’t affect your health. I bet a lot of us could relate to that mini-freak out stress too!😂
    Incredible and heartfelt write as always!! Keep writing and inspiring! Looking forward to reading more here!✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Most people are surprised to find out what I’m really like – I’ve always seen writing as a sort of reverse mask because, instead of helping me hide my identity, it helps me to be myself more. Yes, the internet can sometimes be a big and scary place. It’s good to take precautions when you’re talking to strangers. Luckily, most of my email friendships are people I used to know in real life who moved away or who I don’t see in person as much anymore. For some reason, we become much closer than we were in person because it’s much easier for me to open up through words. I have imaginary friends too! Although for me they’re more like characters in my head who take over my brain and lead me away to different worlds. I use my imagination to escape from myself so I’m never apart of it – I just take on a different person’s life in a different world and try on their shoes for a while. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Loved reading it!! Sending all my love to achieve your beautiful dream!!
    I think everyone can understand the part in which you’ve mentioned about the challenge you face in WordPress. You are not alone!
    Quite surprised to see you are shy! Even I feel comfortable with text messages over face to fave conversation. I’m happy to hear that you feel confident to speak in public now!!
    I look forward to reading more from you! ❤️
    Happy blognaivesary 😊💜

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A fun post to read, giving me the opportunity to know you a little better! I didn’t realize you lived in the Netherlands, or that you typed your posts with a pencil in your mouth. I greatly admire your persistence. We’ll look forward to your return, early 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’re doing good, better than good even! Keep on working on that book and that comic and you’ll get there. (For sure I am talking to myself about perseverance there too.) I read recently that it took producer Allan Scott 30 years to get the show “The Queen’s Gambit” on TV.

    Paraphrasing a few famous authors here, if we believe in something and care about it enough we can put the effort into to making it a reality.

    Like

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