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Meet Ouch's guest bloggers

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Vaughan | 00:01 UK time, Tuesday, 1 May 2007

There are a lot of great sites out there in the disability blogosphere, and the number has grown hugely over the past couple of years. Here on Ouch, we've recruited some of the brightest and best of these bloggers to post regular entries about themselves, their lives and their thoughts.

Donimo

Donimo"I'm a cripster and a visual artist, with chronic pain from head to toe and a lot of fatigue. You could say I put the 'ill' in disability. I have a whole collection of 'impairments' (as you Brits say) that make daily life a challenge, and blogging and creating art essential.

In the blogosphere, I'm part of a crew of folks exploring life with chronic pain. I try to embrace this difficult body and examine how pain impacts my relationship with myself and the world around me. Through blogging and creating I've come to a deeper understanding of the art and reality of living with disabling pain. Pain Clinics like to tell people not to focus on their pain, but some of us are doing it differently.

So, I focus on it and blog about my adventures with ardent advice-givers; doctors with Arrogant Specialist Syndrome; gimp life in the slow lane in a driven, modern city; weird medical tests; pain in my head and back and legs, and anything else I want to spotlight. It works for me."

• Visit Chronic Holiday and Body of Work

Jenny, AKA Giraffe-a-licious

Jenny, AKA Giraffe-a-licious"I’m Jenny and I’m a 23 year old aspiring writer who blogs as Giraffe-a-licious. Journalistic writing rather than creative; I can’t write stories or poetry for toffee. Mmmm ... toffee.

I live in the East Midlands with my parents and younger sister. I’ve had M.E. for 10 years and am eager to grasp every little bit of independence I can get, even if that just means getting myself to the local shop to buy a Wispa!

I have a great interest in both film and sport (frustratingly spectating, rather than participating). I’m a Christian and I also have a slightly irrational love of giraffes - hence my chosen blogging name. I’ve only been blogging for a few months but very much enjoy holding forth on any subject that takes my fancy."

• Visit Ponderings and Ruminations

Mark Siegel

Mark Siegel"I'm a 34-year-old attorney and policy consultant living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I work for a state agency which focuses primarily on issues related to health care and employment for people with disabilities. I have spinal muscular atrophy, a congenital neuromuscular condition.

I have been blogging at The 19th Floor for nearly five years. My preferred topics include progressive politics, disability issues, and my many geek obsessions. However, I promise to keep my Ouch! blogging on-topic and respectable (i.e. no extended critiques of the latest Lost episode and very few mentions of my fondness for fishnet stockings). I would also ask my new BBC readers to forgive me when I use exotic, foreign words like 'apartment' and 'gasoline'. I am an American and, well, I just don't know any better."

• Visit The 19th Floor

Bipolar Works

Bipolar Works"I’m a thirtysomething woman who has experienced bipolar disorder (manic depression) all of my working life. I have held down several jobs in two careers and gained three higher education qualifications, but it has not been easy. I have climbed up the career ladder only to be eaten by a few snakes, but I have learnt to become a master of reinvention and quickly bounce back.

Whenever I encounter a problem in the workplace, I use my knowledge and creativity to rise from the waters like a lotus flower and nudge my employer gently back onto the right track. My mission is to empower others with a mental health condition with advice and support in order to survive the workplace jungle."

• Visit Bipolar Works

Wheelchair Dancer

Wheelchair Dancer"I am a dancer in the second year of my professional career. I dance with a physically integrated company on the West Coast and spend the rest of my time in New York City. Dance is my third career, but I have just about got it right, now. Dance is more than work; it is my passion. The feeling of freedom, of just pure movement, of dance ... is, well, indescribable. I nonetheless try very hard to write about it (and other disability issues, including intersections with race, gender, and class) on my blog."

• Visit Wheelchair Dancer

Jemma Brown

Jemma Brown"hello I'm jemma and I'm very new to blogging. I only stared my blog at the begining of July, so im fairly new to it all. I'm from Gospot, in Hampshire, in south England. I'm a full time student studieng for A levals. in my spare time I'm really in to camping, hikeing, and I'm a guide leader. I also do Duke of Edinbrough. My disability? I'll leave you in suspence about that one for the minute. oh and one last thing - I cant spell to save my life so please forgive me!"

• Visit Diary of a Monkey

Elizabeth McClung

Elizabeth McClung"Who am I; that is the question? I'm seven months into the nationalized health service shuffle for an undiagnosed degenerative heart and neurological condition/disease which keeps me in a wheelchair and mostly housebound. Most of the panhandlers call me 'Red' (the hair), while people in my building call me 'plucky' or run away (it's not contagious!). I've lived and completed degrees equally in Canada, the US and the UK. Right now I live in the Canadian city which prides itself on being 'British'. I miss Terry Wogan. And I haven't had a decent gyro/doner since I moved.

Last year I fenced epee at a competitive level. There were only guys to train against. I kept hitting their groin in training (an accident but a legal target). They like seeing me more now that I'm no longer fencing. I took up boxing when I found a coach who had taught people in wheelchairs. My boxing coach calls me Liz. Please don't call me Liz. I want my coach to get me an amateur match. He says that I could end up 'pissing blood' and brain damaged. That would sound scarier if it didn't already describe my not so great days.

Right now I spend a lot of time taking medical tests and shopping online for corsets. I am not sure why those two things seem connected. You are never too old to decide to be a goth; plus skull hairbands are really useful for keeping hair out of your face when you wheel. Besides fashion and shopping therapy, disability blogs and bloggers have been my greatest support. They've helped me understand everything from why public transit leaves me in the rain to what to expect from home care workers. Blogs matter."

• Visit Screw Bronze!

Dave Hingsburger

Dave Hingsburger"I would best be described as fat, fifty and four wheeled. I have worked for over thirty years in support of people with intellectual disabilities, and as a result of surgery I became a wheelchair user a year and a half ago. While I still hobble around short distances on foot, my chair is my primary means of getting around.

I have written over thirty books on disability issues, as well as for disabiliy zines like Mouth Magazine in the US. As a Canadian, I travel internationally speaking on disability issues ranging from sexual rights to privacy rights and beyond.

I live in Ontario with Joe, my lover of thirty-eight years, and the relationship is kept strong by a combination of good food and sex."

[Drawing of Dave by Jamie Hamm, an artist with Down's Syndrome.]

• Visit Chewing The Fat

Lady Bracknell's Editor

Lady Bracknell's Editor"I am - in no particular order - a passionate advocate of the social model of disability; multiply-impaired; a disability rights activist; a public-sector employee; an irritable old bat; the proud possessor of a variety of very funky walking sticks; and a blogger. Oh, and an MBE. Which would explain the hat. In case you were wondering.

I am not brave, tragic or an inspiration to all who meet me. Really."

• Visit The Perorations of Lady Bracknell

Nicola

Nicola"I hail from darkest Berkshire but am slowly edging my way north in search of the right to say ‘aye’ without sounding stupid. I am a student in the sense that I have a library card and buy gel pens with considerable frequency. Happiness is, quite clearly, instant mochacino and The Politics Show on a Sunday. I’m disabled. Obviously."

The Goldfish

The Goldfish"The Goldfish is a struggling novellist who blogs about the arts and culture, disability, feminism, philosophy and psychology. Her blog, Diary of a Goldfish, also hosted Blogging Against Disablism Day in 2006 and 2007."

• Visit Diary of a Goldfish

Zephyr

Zephyr"I'm 28 years old and I've had arthritis for 22 years. I was diagnosed at age 6 with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JRA). I've had both hips replaced and I'm on a wait list for ankle replacement surgery or foot fusion surgery. My doctors have classified me as severely and permanently disabled. In between flare-ups, I work part-time from home. Since I'm unable to work full-time, my leisure activities and interests define who I am moreso than my career status.

I'm a Gemini with Aquarius rising, so I blame the stars for my flightiness. Actually, I blame the stars for all my faults. I love karaoke, music, reading, writing, and gardening.

I'm a very community-oriented social butterfly, and I belong to many different communities in Vancouver: the pagan community, the LGBT community, the polyamory community, the BDSM community, and various sex-positive groups. I am trying my darnedest to be an activist for the Disability Movement, but ironically, it's difficult and challenging due to my health problems. For the moment, all I can do is use my words to educate people on the internet, so I'm looking forward to becoming an Ouch! blogger."

• Visit Arthritic Young Thing

Seahorse

Seahorse"I am a 34-year-old writer, who didn't write for quite some time after becoming disabled.

Following a long period of not insignificant meltdown, I took the plunge and started a blog. I have also recently embarked on single motherhood.

I seek out beauty as 'an antidote to ugliness in everyday life'. Photography, writing and art are all helping me accept life with a disability and move away from 'interventions' that have been not so helpful.

Inspired by other bloggers and Ouch regulars I am increasingly finding my voice as I do battle with health and social care buffoonery.

'This is a campaign. It will have good days and bad days. And it is written by a seahorse, which is a challenge in itself I can tell you'."

• Visit The Beauty Offensive

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