Lydia tells us more about being part of the Steering Group:
In my introduction blog, I commented that I have been able to grow and develop various skills during my time on the YDRF Steering Group, including giving presentations and even learning how to set Zoom up for live captioning. The opportunities being part of the forum has given me has also increased my confidence in myself, and I’m really grateful for this.
During York International Women’s Week, Hilary (from Community Voices) and I had the opportunity to lead a workshop about the experience of disability through the lens of being female. I was excited to take on this workshop for two reasons: one because I have previously accessed support from Kyra and I wanted to give something back, and two because I wanted to challenge myself to do something new. I hadn’t done a presentation about disabilities before in this sort of context, so I was excited but nervous. However, I was delighted to find that the words came easily, and there were plenty of prompts on the slides that we had put together.
There was one particular point in the presentation where we were talking about the journey of acceptance that comes with a disability. This was explaining that we are each on a journey of acceptance and some of us are in different places on this journey. At the beginning of the journey, when it is hard to accept the label of disability, I found myself fighting against my body to try and get better, which meant in practice it was making my conditions worse. The pandemic was really the catalyst for me being able to come to terms with my disabilities, because it gave me the opportunity to acknowledge them in a way that I haven’t before, for example I wouldn’t have classed my asthma as severe until I was given the label of extremely vulnerable. I’m finding that I am now much more comfortable with myself (not saying that I am always completely happy when my body decides to go wrong!), and I have been more willing and able to reach out for help without feeling embarrassed.
When I explained this in the context of the workshop, it was like something unlocked in me, and in the participants. It was almost like I had given permission to people to share their own story of their disability journey.
Despite the nerves around public speaking, I really found the workshop so helpful, and I feel like I would have more confidence in my ability to do something like this again! My advice to anyone who is struggling with the idea of public speaking is to just have a go! You might just find that you are more capable than you gave yourself credit for… and just this week, I went on to attend another meeting where I explained more about YDRF and what we’re up to at the moment!