Hello, It feels like 2022 has raced by in a blur. It’s certainly had several high points, but there have been some difficult times for us as a family.
Type 1 diabetes
We continue to adjust our lives around the arrival of Type 1 Diabetes in the family. Before my daughter’s diagnosis, I knew a little about this autoimmune disease, yet I had no idea about the relentless management of this condition. We are getting there, and hopefully, brighter days are ahead.
There have been a few professional highlights of the year. Filming a video diary for Paralympian Will Perry’s Dwarfism Awareness Campaign for the BBC One Show certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone of being visible. Being awarded Develop Your Creative Practice funding from Arts Council England was a dream come true. That had been on my list to achieve for a few years, and I was over the moon to be provided with the opportunity to develop my performance photography skills. I can’t wait to share what work I have created and learnt soon. Visiting ChapelFM in Leeds to see my UNION fellows was the much-needed break and creative top-up I needed in September. I even managed to do an impromptu spoken word piece, which brings me nicely to New Encounters, a bursary I was awarded by Sunderland Culture. The aim is to develop a spoken word scratch piece around the lived experiences of Dwarfism, which I will perform in front of an audience. Yes, I feel sick with nerves at the thought of this, but it will certainly push me out of my comfort zone again and a direction I had not anticipated before.
Autumn and Wintering
In September, I was delighted to Ellie Simmonds (MBE) take to the dance floor on Strictly Come Dancing – the first person with Dwarfism to be a contestant on the show. Ellie did the Dwarfism community proud, yet was sadly eliminated far too soon. At the moment, I feel like I am wintering. This is the concept of living life to match the cycle of the seasons. A time to slow down, take stock, rest and replenish, ready for Spring. A bout of COVID in November forced me to rest. Binge-watching The Crown, and reading various books aided my recovery. We became reacquainted with our local library after the pandemic as a family. It was comforting to be in that space of stories. A good friend recommended I started day dreaming again, and it’s a part of my brain that I have realised I have missed using. More so, the chance to be fully creative.
And what for 2023?
Creativity – that is my word of the year for 2023. To nurture creating, making and connecting. I’ve very much missed this over the past couple of years. To look after my health which has taken a back seat the past few years. My mobility isn’t what it once was, which I feel has made my world smaller, physically, at least. Menopause is also knocking at the door, and I would like it be able to hold a full conversation without forgetting what words I need to use. Initially, I thought this was because of sleep deprivation caused by managing my daughter’s Type 1 Diabetes, but a few other symptoms has made me realise otherwise. There was a great workshop at the Little People UK convention in August, that made me realise there is a need for more research about this issue and Dwarfism too. There are also professional projects on the horizon. One or two of my ideas I am determined to make happen. In the first half of the year, I will be finishing my DYCP work and performing my New Encounters scratch piece. After that? I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. Make sure to sign-up to my newsletter to keep up to date with the latest Hello Little Lady news. Wishing you all the best for new year. Steph