Divergent

Divergent_(book)_by_Veronica_Roth_US_Hardcover_2011

So this is the book that actually changed my life last year. Yes, you heard right – it changed my life.

There were other things that happened around the same time that influenced the change, but this book was the trigger. Thanks Veronica Roth.

Many people may disagree with me, but this book almost accurately portrays our modern day Western society. Okay – the book may be an exaggerated version of today; but really, when you think about it, it’s not so different.

In the book, Divergent, people are placed into ‘factions’. It is assumed each person can be boxed into a particular category. That category determines their contribution to society. The five ‘factions’ in this book are as follows:

. Dauntless – The brave

. Amity – The peaceful

. Erudite – The intelligent

. Abnegation – The selfless

. Candor – The honest

Think of our modern day Western society. We are each labelled; whether by ourselves, our family, our teacher, or strangers. We all tend to bring judgement on each other according to what we see:

. The mother with lots of children = doesn’t understand contraception, or (in Australia) trying to bludge off the government.

. Older female with no children = selfish, or infertile.

. Male with ‘feministic qualities’ = homosexual.

. Male who doesn’t cry = not in touch with his feelings.

. Home-schooled child = socially awkward.

. Schooled child = brainwashed.

. Person with tattoos and piercings = rebellious, or looking for attention.

. Person with a disability = unable to properly contribute to society, or ‘abnormal’.

The list goes on.

I admit, I have done it. Everyone has.

Really, we are all like Tris in the Divergent series. She is labelled a Divergent in her society, because she doesn’t fit in to any one faction. We need to remember that none of us do. As much as society feels more comfortable placing people in boxes, none of us belong in one.

So don’t label yourself as dumb, or less than anyone else. Each of us is unique and we all have many talents that are needed in this world we live in. If you want to be a full time mum, be one; if you want to be a Math teacher, be one; if you feel higher education isn’t necessary for what you want to do in life, then don’t do it; if you want to travel the world, then work toward it; if you just want to paint, then paint.

Don’t let labels determine your life. Shake them off and be you. Because that is who you were born to be!  

Ode To ‘Ugly’

ODE TO UGLY
Why do we humans have such an obsession with perfection?
I have to admit, I too suffer from this obsession. Often choosing the nicest looking apple, the most unblemished bunch of flowers. But then most of my life I have chosen the dented can in the supermarket aisle, or the broken chocolate bar – like I’m going to save them from a life time of rejection.
I don’t know.
One of my daughters has cerebral palsy. Most people look at her and see disability – looks different, moves unusually. I understand – sometimes I look at her that way too. But what if I hadn’t been brought up with the idea of perfection?
What if there were no ‘normal’?
What if the scars on my daughter’s body were not labelled ‘imperfections’?
What if I were to have a Facebook page full of photos of what the world considers ‘ugly’ and ‘imperfect’? Would I only have a few ‘likes’ – only family and friends who were being kind to me?
What if the photos were of Hayley’s scars, my stretchmarks, my husband’s slightly crooked nose, a wilted half dead rose?
Would that make me negative? A pessimist? Depressed?
Or would it be that I can see the beauty in something usually perceived as imperfect, maybe even ugly?
I don’t know.
Maybe.

What is ‘normal’

What is normal?

 

Normal is actually just the ‘norm’ for that culture.

The dictionary’s definition of normal is: being approximately average or within certain limits.

‘Normal’ is dependent on the population or culture you are in.

 

A Queensland gynaecologist, who has travelled overseas for research, has found that although it is ‘normal’ in Australia for women to experience some pain during menstruation, in places like Asia it is actually ‘abnormal’ to experience this.

 

In a Muslim culture, it is ‘normal’ for a woman to wear a Burqa or hijab, yet in Australia this is abnormal – and to some even almost abhorrent.

 

Why do we think of ‘normal’ as being closer to ‘perfection’ than abnormal? Why do we think of our ‘normal’ as being the correct way?

Because we have this idea of normal, we start to think of things like Aspergers as abnormal. What of the person with Aspergers? To him/ her, it is normal to think and act that way. To him/ her neurotypicals are abnormal.

 

When my second youngest daughter was officially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy I was so upset, I told the doctor ‘I just want my daughter to be normal’. To which the awesome doctor replied, “What is normal? There is a spectrum of movement of which we are all on, some are closer to the middle than others. But no one is perfectly ‘normal’.”

That really helped me. My daughter’s movements don’t come as easily to her as others, but none of us have ‘perfect’ movement.

 

I would like to challenge our idea of ‘normal’.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts.

Travel

From time to time, I will be blogging about our travels around this beautiful country of Australia, in particular how we manage to get around with our five children – one in a wheelchair. Our second youngest has Cerebral Palsy, and our mission is for her to be able to experience anything and everything that an average DSC_0198able bodied person can experience.

Travel

Well, today we went for our first 4WD as a family – yes all seven of us! We managed to squish into our new 4WD, and trip around our local Queensland country – Darling Downs area. I passionately love the bush, whereas the rest of my family love the ocean. Pity we live closer to the bush, hey?

Back when we were a family of five, we owned a Hyundai Terracan and did plenty of bush bashing and camping. Unfortunately, when Hayley was born and later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, we traded in the 4WD for a bus, which we later converted to hold her powered wheelchair. We thought our camping days were over.

A few years later, I came across a blog by another Aussie family who were not only travelling Australia (in a camper van), but also the world! The most amazing thing (to me) was that they also have five children, and one of them has Cerebral Palsy. I decided then, that if they can do it, so can we.

Fast forward a couple years and we now own a camper trailer, and just purchased a Nissan Patrol 4WD. Our goal is to become debt free and for me to build up enough strength to carry Hayley on my back in the areas a wheelchair can’t travel. Then we are planning on doing the ‘Big Lap’ around our beautiful Australian land.

Back to today’s first 4WDing experience as a family of seven though – Hayley slept most of the way, two year old Jessica kept pointing out the ‘quoot’ cows, and the three older kids played ‘eye spy’ and ‘scissors, paper, rock’ rather loudly. Hubby drove most of the way, and me – I just enjoyed the ‘serenity’ of the Australian bush.