The Crucial Crutch!

img_2713As many of you know, I travel a lot (with work) and spend most of it in bed writing. It’s a blessed and interesting life which I am deeply thankful for despite the pain. I learn soooo much walking this strange middle ground behind doors with fascinating insights into unusual things. The back doors of planes when there is no ramp to roll the wheelchair up, hotel rooms when everyone else is off at their meetings, strangers who help or stare at me, or whatever.

This morning is day 6 of this trip and I realised by day 4 that most of the guests have eaten breakfast before I arrive in the restaurant at 9am, so I have it pretty much to myself. It is also only a few doors down from my hotel room and I meet almost no one on the way there or back.

I never go anywhere without my crutch but at home where there are wide doorways, no unnecessary furniture, almost no other people and I know my way around perfectly, I don’t need my crutch. So on days like today, it is tempting to go to breakfast without it. I knew there would be no one to bump me, plenty of room, and such a short walk.  It feels soooo good to spend that short walk, all of 2 minutes, looking like a “normal” person. It feels like a great gift! So I periodically I give in to this temptation to leave the crutch behind just this once.

Zebra Crutch!But on the whole, human beings want the best for each other and wish strangers well. So as I arrived at breakfast the waiters who I had spent the last 4 days getting to know, chatting to them like the real people they are, and trying to be the best customer I can be, were all THRILLED that my leg was suddenly better! They had never asked what was wrong with me, but we all make assumptions and seeing me with a crutch meant for them that I must have a sore leg right? So today when I hobbled in without it, one by one they all came over to say how thrilled they were that it is better!

Um…. no. In a few days time I will go home and likely never see them again, so it just wasn’t worth it to explain the whole thing, especially so many times. So I just thanked them for their kindness and didn’t pop their bubble that I am healed. YAY! I shared their happiness for me. But I was reminded, yet again, why I need to be consistent and never, ever, ever go without the crutch.

In a similar story a few months ago, my husband took my crutch out the car because he was collecting work people from the airport. He forgot to put it back in and the next day I drove to pick him up from the office so that we could join the overseas guests at a restaurant for dinner. We only realised the mistake when we arrived and there was no crutch on the back seat. We parked only a few spaces from the restaurant door and as he was with me I just latched onto his arm tightly.

We had the same response from all the colleagues as I did a few days ago here at the hotel; all were thrilled that I was suddenly healed. We then spent the next 10 minutes explaining the situation.

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 1.22.00 PMSo you see, it isn’t about whether they are right or wrong or the false hope, or the explanations. People are so used to my crutches and mobility issues and my wheelchair now, that they just see it all as part of me. Some have leaned in and been great, others have run a mile, but wherever they are in the whole scheme of things, we have found our new normal with each of them. And when I arrive at breakfast, or dinner, or at the airport or the office, or anywhere else, they talk to me the same way they talk to “normal” people. They ask about my week or my trip and share their own news. My mobility aids are no more a part of the discussion than a coat or a scarf or a handbag would be. But when I go without it people get excited and we land up talking about my health and my crutches and whether or not I am cured and it opens the door to a whole conversation that I am sick of talking about.

It’s not their fault and they aren’t rude. But the reality is, I do wish that I could leave it at home, or in the room or in the car sometimes, but I can’t…

Walks without crutches are short as anyway, but they are now only for home, family and a very small group of friends that I see a lot of … sadly 😦

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To book a talk with me and discuss my schedule you can contact me on JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@JPeaSmith

SmartCRUTCH notes!

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Last night I did a Facebook Live stream all about my crutches. It didn’t go as well as planned as I had a bunch of photos that I wanted to use in my descriptions. It turns out you can’t put photos in the comments of a video (live or otherwise) which was not only so annoying but it meant that I got tongue tied and stressed 😦

Anyway, so I said I’d add the photos here for you all to see! So if you missed the video it is HERE. And if you watched it but need the pics, here they are:

 

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Me with my gutter crutches! (note that my left wrist is bandaged! Could never do that with the other two kinds of crutches!)

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How much better are the SmartCRUTCHES!!!

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Some direct comparisons (note the velcro and the bolts that kept coming undone!):

Even the base is better and more stable (the SmartCRUTCH is on the left):

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Seriously, look at that wear and tear (there is none after 2 years, being chucked around and smashed through customs and baggage handlers through HongKong, Los Angeles, Cape Town x6, Perth (Australia) x 5, Dubai x6, Rome, Tuscany, London x2, Johannesburg too many to count, and that doesn’t include everyday use, being dropped and stomped on hundreds of times, chucked in the back of the car even more times… and so the list goes on!

And they come in 3 sizes, here are the middle and baby sizes:

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And finally, the gorgeous ZEBRA crutch for EDS!! WOOHOO!

Check out SmartCrutch and The Ehlers-Danlos Society for details and don’t forget to tell them I sent you!! 🙂

Zebra Crutch!

To book a talk with me and discuss my schedule you can contact me on JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@JPeaSmith

My Smart Crutch Crush!

Crutch Options

As many of you will know, I ditched confentional crutches for good reason, use a SmartCrutch wherever I go, and it has been life changing for me! I am not paid by the inventors or producers or any of the companies who sell these crutches, to use, talk about, or advertise them in any way, shape or form. I talk about them a lot because I believe in them, and they are in most of my photos because they go everywhere with me. They have become somewhat of an extra limb for me. They protect me, and they give me the ability to walk a little most days.

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I am also a little biased, and proud, that they are locally invented and produced, right here in South Africa!

I decorate them, I travel with them, I walk with elephants with them, and they have become a part of me!

So it is my honour and great pleasure to announce that I am now partnering with them to help get word out there, to show them off, to recommend them, and to help anyone with questions on how to get them, how to use them, how to decorate them and how to make the most of them.

The best way to do that is to ask me directly, so please join me this Thursday (May 25th) at 8pm Johannesburg time (7pm London time, etc…

I will be unveiling the new Zebra SmartCrutch in honour of May being EDS Awareness Month, I will be showing it off, and answering all your questions! SmartCrutch USA  will be joining us for the Facebook Live Stream, as will the inventors and producers of these amazing products!

So put this in your diaries, or even better, respond to THIS event on Facebook, and follow my Page so that you will find us easily. We look forward to seeing you there!

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To book a talk with me and discuss my schedule you can contact me on JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@JPeaSmith

What does EDS FEEL Like?

Sometimes things are just easier said than written. I’m so uncomfortable in front of a camera but I am getting used to it with Facebook Live because I get to say things that would take forever to write (or read). As part of EDS awareness month, on Monday I did a video on the new criteria for EDS and why they are still a good thing for me, how they empower me, even though I technically now “fail” the test.

Today I got to speak about what EDS feels like. This was particularly meaningful for me because I could bring my actual voice into the whole thing and people could hear me as I speak instead of just in their own version of my voice in their heads. But I also talk with my hands a lot and so I got to explain things like the ways in which our bodies move and why that hurts, in a way that words on a page could never do… using my fists and my arms.

I’m not sure I’m getting any better at it yet but I am learning to feel more at home now that I have stopped trying to do all the things that people say you “should” do on Facebook Live streams (like introduce yourself and brag about who you are and what you do etc). I pretty much just get into it and I am enjoying that.

So HERE are this week’s episodes and what EDS feels like. Please watch and share for EDS awareness month!

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PS: If you want to win a signed copy of my book “The Lion and the Peacock”, and a pair of my Zebra earrings, then watch the video or sign on for details in this month’s “no spam” newsletter by signing on HERE 🙂

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To book a talk with me and discuss my schedule you can contact me on JPeaSmith@KingsRoadChronicles.com

Where you can find and follow Jennifer: 

@JPeaSmith

Beating Anxiety!

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Following on from THIS post a few days ago, I am going to be hanging out on Facebook Live a lot over the next few months and “Beating Anxiety” is going to be a regular feature. I get asked a lot about how I conquered my own anxiety, and the details of my anxiety journey, so especially if you have read my book “The Lion and the Peacock”, you will be interested in asking lots more I’m sure!

Once every two weeks, I will also be doing a Facebook Live under the heading of “BEATING ANXIETY!. Topics for discussion and Q&A will include medications, how to choose a therapist, self help books, safe places, safe people, and cropping your world.

Here is the schedule for the next few months ( I will update it regularly with new links and updated information as we go!) :

  • Monday, May 8th – | New York: 2pm | London: 7pm | Johannesburg: 8pm |Sydney 4am |I will be doing a short Facebook Live to remind you all that an hour later I will be speaking on “Anxiety and Chronic Illness” Live from The Mighty Facebook Page at the following times: (so tune in for both if you can!) | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 5am |

 

  • Thursday, May 18th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, May 29th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, June 5th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, June 22th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, July 3th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, July 20th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, July 31st – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, August 17th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, August 28th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

So pop those in your diaries or go HERE to watch this short introductory Facebook Live. At the very end, it will give you the opportunity to turn on notifications for my future Facebook Lives. You can also simply “Like” and Follow my Facebook Page and the following places to get updates and changes. Please remember to share any of my Posts across my social media platforms.

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Becoming Empowered!

 

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Following on from THIS post a few days ago, I am going to be hanging out on Facebook Live a lot over the next few months and “Becoming Empowered” is going to be a regular feature. I get asked a lot about how I remain positive through my chronic illness and other struggles and these questions have forced me to think carefully about the answers. I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you!

Once every two weeks, I will be doing a Facebook Live under the heading of “BECOMING EMPOWERED!. Topics for discussion and Q&A will be around the space of what motivates me, how I find inspiration, how to self-care, how to choose what knowledge we keep or reject, how to use your voice well, managing friends and family, finding a routine, and life balance.

Here is the schedule for the next few months ( I will update it regularly with new links and updated information as we go!) :

  • Thursday, May 4th – “What is Empowerment?” | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, May 15th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, June 1st – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, June 12th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, June 29th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, July 10th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, July 27th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, August 7th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, August 24th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

So pop those in your diaries or go HERE to watch this short introductory Facebook Live. At the very end, it will give you the opportunity to turn on notifications for my future Facebook Lives. You can also simply “Like” and Follow my Facebook Page and the following places to get updates and changes. Please remember to share any of my Posts across my social media platforms.

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Telling Your Story!

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Following on from THIS post a day or so ago, I am going to be hanging out on Facebook Live a lot over the next few months and “Telling Your Story” is going to be a regular feature. I believe that we all have a story to tell, whether it is a few words to the closest of friends only, a private Facebook profile, a small blog, or even a book, we are all unique and we are wired to share our journeys. Many of the questions that I get asked about life are about where, how, and to whom we should share, and the answers are both simple and complicated. So hopefully these open Q&A sessions will answer some of them for you.

Once every two weeks, I will be doing a Facebook Live under the heading of “TELLING YOUR STORY!. Topics for discussion and Q&A will include: “How much is too much to share?”, “Can I write about people who have hurt me?” and “Who should or shouldn’t see my Facebook?”. It will also include issues like “How to tell our deepest secrets safely” and “Should we even share at all?”.

Here is the schedule for the next few months ( I will update it regularly with new links and updated information as we go!) :

  • Thursday, May 11th – “Telling My Story”| New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, May 22nd – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, June 8th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, June 19th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, July 6th – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, July 17th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, August 3rd – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

 

  • Monday, August 14th – | New York: 3pm | London: 8pm | Johannesburg: 9pm |Sydney 4am |

 

  • Thursday, August 31st – | New York: 5am | London: 10am | Johannesburg: 11am |Sydney 7pm |

So pop those in your diaries or go HERE to watch this short introductory Facebook Live. At the very end, it will give you the opportunity to turn on notifications for my future Facebook Lives. You can also simply “Like” and Follow my Facebook Page and the following places to get updates and changes. Please remember to share any of my Posts across my social media platforms.

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman