When early retirement came knocking over a decade ago my bookshop was at the height of it's success. popular with the young, a good reputation, solvent and bizzy bizzy bizzy. closure wasn't unexpected as the Metro Centre had always coveted our site for reconstruction along with higher rents, so it was no surprise when we received notice to quit. nor was it totally unwelcome on my part so i was spared the trauma inflicted on my team who found it hard to let go.... if you are reading this all you 'The Ocracy' boys and girlies, you were brill, the best EVER !!! and i've missed you every day since.
Bassett The Wheelchair hadn't put in an appearance at this point but anyone watching would have known it was inevitable as i was in constant pain and even walking beyond the end of the mall felt as daunting as Scott's trek to the Antarctic sans ponies.
As preparation for a life of leisure i set myself Five Commandments Of Retirement. shamefully the only one i remember came in at number four :
Thou shalt wear nice clothes daily, whether
going out or staying in.
A simple action that felt laden with significance ...
i may be retired but ... i'm NOT OLD
i may be retired but ... i'm NOT LAZY
i may be retired but ... i'm STILL FEMALE
i may be retired but ... i STILL CARE HOW I LOOK
When wheels became a necessity it felt as though all the above could no longer be taken for granted and i had to fight even harder to retain my individuality, my personhood. in a wheelchair even the young-ish don a cloak of invisibility :
i am in a wheelchair therefore i am ... asexual
i am in a wheelchair therefore i am ... infantilised
i am in a wheelchair therefore i am ... non-sentient
i am in a wheelchair therefore i have ... no style
So ... it was with great delight that i stumbled upon these wonderful young fashion bloggers on the BBC disability page who refuse to accept they can't be beautiful or fashionable or stylish or YOUNG just because they are paralysed or unseeing.
Go, go Gadget Girls, i'm proud of you ...