Ultimately, my question is this: Can someone be proud of something that undoubtedly hinders them? Of course cerebral palsy has made me more resilient and shaped my personality. I would be a very different person without it, but applying Darwinian theory, if there was a fire and I was without an assistant, CP could only be a hindrance.
"This is not your country" - my neighbour said to me 20 years ago after a louder-than-usual party the previous night... An Irish friend came to my rescue, telling her that England wasn't his country either and that she should be ashamed of herself. Now, after 25 years of living, working and raising a family in the UK, the same is happening again: friends and strangers are coming up to me to remind me how much I am part of this country.
I'm imagining a world where we could walk into any salon and get our hair well looked after? We would no longer need to say 'natural' hair because it would be the new normal. We can overcome our vulnerability, celebrate our big curls and be inspired to take back our freedom. We don't have to wait for the world to tell us it's time to accept our hair.
Often we can go through life identifying with our thoughts, our habits of thinking and believe this is the truth, that this is who we are, when this is not actually the case. Thoughts are just thoughts, they are not who we are and by accumulation of these thoughts we create behaviours and subsequent identities.
I began to recognise that in order for me to move through this stroke, I needed to let go the person I knew before it, and embrace whoever may follow. That doesn't mean there was necessarily to be drastic difference, but that I must be very wary of spending my recovery chasing someone who may not completely exist anymore.
When sufferers are trying to fight but are struggling, it isn't simply a case of being "scared of food" or "scared of gaining weight", often it is also a fear of what they will lose, of throwing away everything that they think they are, the removal of their core identity, leaving a hole they have no idea how else to fill.
The battle to have the voice we think we should have is something many trans and non-binary clients I work with are grappling with on a daily basis. Some find a comfortable place quickly and absorb voice exercises and skills easily; others are clear they are happy with their voices as they are; some take a bit of time to leave old habits behind and find new ones which feel true and sound authentic.
I don't want to live my life as "Fiona's daughter". There are a few people I know at the moment who think of me this way, and it feels like such a burden. It also doesn't do justice either to me or to Mum. Mum wasn't just a mother: she was so much more than that. And I may be her daughter, but I am so much more than that, too.