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I’ve always lived with there’s a them and Us.

As I sit here days before the release of my second novel I am reminded of the feelings my main character went through in the story and how elements of them still hold true today.As the only disabled pupil in a mainstream school she fought for years to “fit in” and was severely bullied for being different.In addition when realising her sexuality was different from the rest she felt ashamed and hid her true self from her family and friends for a long time.These feelings come to me as I read newsfeeds reporting multiple deaths as a result of a gunman in an Orlando Gay Club and widespread Vilance in France between opposing football fans. When you consider how the worlds geographical borders are crossed more than ever before due to waring nations and ever changing immigration laws, you would think we lived in a world highly educated in the basic principles of tolerance, compassion and understanding. Why then  in 2016 am I sat here writing about more people being killed just for being gay, and why are the football programmes filled with stories of opposing fans fighting each other just because they are on opposite sides. At the end of the day it’s simple, you should be able to love the person you want to be with whether they are black white, male, female, and have tolerance for others if they choose to follow a difference sporting team than your own.On a more personal level I have spent most of my life being integrated in the mainstream after leaving special school at 13. I found the transition both a step up for my basic education but also feeling like a fish out of water being the only disabled pupil amongst 500 non disabled pupils.The school made countless efforts to make the building accessible but what I really needed was a bridge between “them and me”.  The fact I had separate lessons due to the building not having a lift put a wedge between myself and classmates and I was made to walk up and down the corridors in my physio therapy calipers whilst the others had fun on the field playing netball and hockey. I am referring back to the late 1980’s of course and thankfully I have witnessed how main stream schools have adopted a more inclusive environment and a lot of disabled pupils can now happily attend mainstream school with little or no obstacles .So lots of clear lessons have been learned but even now things are not that easy to be fully integrated. When I first emerged onto  “The Scene”  I tried so hard to “fit in” be accepted as one of the gang . As most of the socialising happened around going to pubs I found myself  drinking too much and getting a bad reputation .I had the mentality of “I need to keep up with everyone to fit in” which of course wasn’t true but yet I was hell bent on changing who I really was just to fit in. My body couldn’t cope with the amount I was drinking but I didn’t care because I had a so local life and found a peer group I finally fitted into.i really had hoped that we had come a long way since the 60’s and 70’s when gay rights really started to snowball into action, and in some respects we really have.In Uk a gay couple can now legally marry and adopt children amd there are laws within employment to stop homophobia in the workplace.Disabled people are celebrated more and more in the media through sporting achievements and mainstream soap characters. But still there are plenty of nations where it is deemed as illegal to be Gay and in some cases if discovered it is punishment by death, and some countries employ vigilantes who seek out Gay people and torture them if captured….in some countries still today if a young baby is born into a poor family they are deliberately  mutilated in some way and put out in the streets to beg for money . Young girls in single figures in years are married off  and forced to get pregnant often dying in child birth, why is this ok? In the words of the song…”we’re all human” Being gay isn’t a lifestyle choice, like a hairstyle or the clothes you wear, it’s who we are, just like being born disabled isn’t a choice and in the words of Bob Marley, get up stand up..for your rights.. Let young girls be children.

In summing up it is sadly very clear to me that the work of such iconic personalities like Harvey Milk needs to continue yes our generation is very fortunate but we need to keep educating and demanding change. Some may say why as an author/ poet am I speaking out about these issues  why not stick to creating my fiction , simple, I’m a human being first and foremost these issues affect me greatly as a disabled female gay person, but more simply as a human being who wants to see more love and acceptance in the world….Love people love….not hate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My charity work

Im participating in a 24 hour silence to experience first hand what it’s like not to have a voice on behalf of children living with non verbal autism.

https://www.facebook.com/sally.edwards.31/videos/10155979497353496/imageAbout to begin our handcycle Marathon on Sunday 5th June 2016 for Behind The Mask Foundation.

I continue to give back to the many causes I feel passionate about. currently all proceeds collected from sales of my two books will be donated to The L Project. I am in the middle of writing anew title Behind The Mask which is a novel focussing on the subject of mental health.All proceeds from sales for this will go to behind the mask campaign.

It’s better to give than receive

image

Right from the start of my adventures as a writer I felt very strongly that the  work I did benefitted others. Proceeds to my debut novel are going to the LGBT charity the L Project so will the follow up novel released later this summer and the next one to be released is called Behind The Mask. Proceeds from the sale of this will go to the Behind The Mask Foundation. Just over three years ago I became friends with Michelle and aware of her journey of living with PTSD and her recovery.I was delighted when I volunteered my time to anything I could when she set up her foundation which is a peer support and counselling service which can be accessed by people online , meaning they don’t have to leave their own front door to get help.Along with my partner we were asked to be part of the fund raising team.This exciting role means we get to do lots of exciting things whilst raising money and the profile of the foundation. On Sunday 5th June my partner and I will be taking on a 26 mile hand cycle challenge in my local gym.As both of us are wheelchair users this is an enormous challenge but my theory is that mental health is not easy to live with and there are many challenges living with it, so why give ourselves something easy to do to raise funds?. We all experience some form of mental health issue in our lives be it directly or know of someone close who is suffering, and there is such a stigma around the subject. I have had my own struggles and am close to others who have their own battles .My reasons for doing the challenge are personal as this is a significant date in my life therefore it has meaning.

If you can support behind the mask in any way you can reach them at

behindthemaskfoundation.com

this is also the place to go to donate to our event on Sunday or to simply donate to the foundation

thank you

Sally

x

Poetry Corner

 

The Flood

I watch as they take you behind the velvet blind, I hear the furnace burning if only in my mind .they force the doors shut tightly on my very right to grieve, life goes on around me people come and people leave.all too quickly they tell me it’s time to stop your tears but they forget the love we shared so deeply for all those years. They can’t just tell me to stop crying you were taken away too soon just because I smile away doesn’t mean I’m “back in the room”. My tears were only starting to fall like a solitary dripping tap forced to put a plug in my heart and not speak of you at all. Many years I’ve hidden behind the wall I’ve build up inside my soul like a concrete dam built long ago it stands strong and it is tall. But now it’s time to unlock the door and let my feelings in so I watch the waters flowing and for a while I sit within, I sit inside the river made of gallons of my tears these concrete walls have burst open and I’ve let the flood come in so I will swim in this ocean it’s ending place Unknown I will trust in my instincts and just go with its natural flow its path will have many different twists and turns but I will swim with the tide for too many years I’ve sunk in misery but now I rise

pictures fill my vision of you holding me so young, reminders come in music with all the songs we have sung
I have a destination that I will eventually reach where these waters of my sadness can settle on a beach I’m not ready yet to let this go but its grip on me is unraveling tenderly and slow I want to get to the place where I cry for you no more and to my long painful grief I can say to it there’s the door

Sally Edwards 2016

My kingdom
I enter the small black box room I hear the familiar sound of my wheels rolling over the surface of the polished sprung wooden floorboards I smell the old musty paint which is chipped and crumbling off the deep red walls.the high positioned windows create an all too familiar pattern of rectangular shaped beams of light along the length of the room. Little has been Changed except the odd modification to the entrance and the addition of modern sound equipment mounted onto one wall. A modest sized understated room in a multi functioning premises, a gallery, a place of work, a place of many different crowds and congregations which ascend on these walls for a multitude of merriment and artistic demonstration.the very act of stepping into that place once again seems oh so simple to the unknowing eye but for me it plunges me back head first to a landscape of many different colours and shapes and secret pathways this is just not one simple place this was the epicentre of my kingdom the humble plant pot where my seed was sown and my roots allowed to sprout and blossom this tiny, humble sanctuary nurtured the roots of what is the chore of my existence and the diet in which I feisted on was so rich and plentiful taking one tiny incredible after another which cooked up,a dish or delicious self discovery, overflowing with floods of self expressionism in a way I had been banished from before . My kingdom was a playground for other like minded souls searching for an unspoken dialect from which they could communicate communicate deeply within themselves and outwardly to me in my kingdom I discovered a whole new world where my unique dysfunctional distorted skeleton had a new range of movement a voice, a presence to be taken notice of and for once I encourage this instead of desperately trying to blend in to the environment unnoticed. Week after week my people would come like a congregation attending a church in Sunday this was my church, my place of worship, to rejoice in my new found pleasure in this place, I was troubled, frightened brave experimental and finally after what seems like a lifetime I was true to myself as I allowed others to find many different ways to embrace me lift me aloft I had been searching for the courage to embrace me, and hear I had found me physically different, yes, deeply misunderstood, without question,I had been caught up in a web of denial, deceit ands suffocated in a blanket of cotton wool Which I had been choking on with no where to breath. Imagine then for a moment the devastation I endured as this kingdom was cruelly taken from me snatched away by men in suits in a kingdom far away much larger than mine with no apology and little explanation.in my kingdom I was free to twist and turn and leap and curl and unravel in any way necessary for hours on end I would invent new ways to spin and glide sweep and slide using the surfaces of the room , and the many different unique yet beautiful mounds of flesh muscle and bone of others each exchanging an endlessly evolving intimate language of dance. Over time I mourned for my lost kingdom as I packed up all evidence of my settlement and slammed the door shut refusing to speak a single word of you. Muted by the grief I felt for the loss of what I did what I learned what I had become I drifted off into a wilderness deeper and deeper I ventured until I was hopelessly lost. I abandoned the ruins of a kingdom taken down by enemy forces there was no ceremonial exchange no flowers nor wreath laid down to mark the spot where my universe crumbled no carriage clock or golden hand shake.

Like a wounded animal I escape the spotlight and delve deeper and deeper into a world of dark cold self doubt feeling like any old apple left out in the elements my chore had rotted away and was bruised beyond any recognition even to myself. Until such time by sheer coincidence I was pulled by a force unknown to me to try something new with the echoing sound of my kingdoms doors shutting behind me still I tread carefully onto a new landscape with ideas in my head and a fire in my belly eager to make people sit up and notice me again I was somebody I liked being somebody back then and I wanted that feeling again not for the validation of others but for myself who was I anymore can I be that person I used to be or is there someone new desperate to get out. So now I am not master but servant of my new kingdom the apprentice not leader anymore many hours of study await me any maybe in time I will have inherited a new kingdom of my own to dwell so I exit the small black box space and smile as I say goodbye to the past and embrace what lays ahead in my future

Sally Edwards 2017

Pride
Pride in the name of love those words are so true
who has the power to dictate who should love who
rainbow colours fill my eyes on a warm July day
people dancing all around so much to celebrate
pride in the name of love is what it’s all about
and love will beat your hatred of this there is no doubt
the rainbow blood that flows within our veins boils at the scenes, of gunshot wounds on victims and terrifying screams this is the work of God you say to condemn us all to hell but the God Ive known from childhood would spread love to all men..we stand strong together across oceans far and wide and defy your evil actions and comfort those who cry
love is love no matter what and this will never change we have faced so much discrimination and we shall do yet again
But I will continue to feel pride in the name of love so your callas act of murder will not scare us away because love is love is love at the end of the day so stand with me now family as we hold our heads up high and repeat after me pride in the name of love…pride pride pride!!!.

Sally Edwards 2016

Uninvited Friend

Who gave you permission to walk up to my door, what right do you have to inflict me with misery my god I am so sore.
You show me no mercy but I refuse to give in, as you Paralyse me with spasms and send a shockwave of pain within. As my skeleton is creaking under all of the strain I refuse to sit here weeping and walk into my dark place again. A place so vast and Lonely a room of self loathing and hate, I will rise up again from this nightmare like the Phoenix from the flames.
I will show you to the door as you my uninvited friend are welcome here no more be gone don’t come back again.
The burning that rages down one this body of mine,farewell to the slashing blade that cuts deep from side to side .
Yes my spine maybe somewhat crooked and my shoulders may constantly seize, but my mind is fully functioning and strong enough to succeed. I will win this battle I’m fighting I will not surrender control, of my body mind and happiness you will not darken my soul. I need to learn to listen to the most precious thing I have my own existent is Held preciously in my own hands so even though I’m hurting I can sit here and smile, and you my uninvited friend are no longer a friend of mine.

 Sally Edwards 2016


Ode To A Woman

Woman has beauty, woman has grace, woman cries tears with a smile on her face.

Woman is fragile, woman is strong.

The last one standing when all else goes wrong.

Woman has colour, woman has scent.

Woman has voice, let’s celebrate her song.

Naked and vulnerable in your arms I yearn to belong.

Woman is daughter, mother and child.

Woman has class like a vintage wine.

But above all else, woman is divine.

Sally Edwards 2016


The Journey

By Sally Edwards

When I set out on this journey of literacy and Rhyme,with no goals nor expectations or any concepts of time, my thoughts were clear and simple my methods covered before, the need to represent us I feel more and more. with no drivers seat or compass to guide me on my way, my confidence grows stronger as I cruise on this highway. you can fill my head with poison you can punch me with your words, but my journey will continue with courage in every verse. I will not let your jealousy your envy prevent this adventure’s speed
I don’t do this for my pockets greed I do it for a need, a need to express myself a need to shout “I’m here”. I do it with conviction no longer filled with fear so continue with your vendettas don’t stop regurgitating your lies, I will carry on my journey graciously and smile. for I believe in my reasons as I realise my destiny, I will watch you fall around me as you run out of steam and as each day I turn new corners I will continue with my dream. for my journey is never ending and will always evolve, and nothing and no one will crush my passion nor my resolve . as the next chapter awaits me I walk with confidence and free,I hold my head up high for I am real I am me.


Sally Edwards 2016

Personal Appearance

I am delighted to announce that I will be on the authors panel at this years Lfest in Uttoxeter Staffordshire.lfest is taking place between 15-18 July.For tickets and further information please log onto Lfest.co.uk

I am delighted to announce that I will be appearing at Hampshire Pride 2016 .I will be reading from How To Love and available for a discussion and questions afterwords. I will have a stall selling copies of How To Love and some Merchandise .The event takes place on Saturday 27th February at Winchester Discovery Centre from 3pm.If you live local come along to this exciting day and come and meet me for a chat.

Butch Losses

I wanted to put into context my reasons for starting to write. I am sharing with you a film made by a lady named Janet Jones. The film is called “Butch Losses”.

I had the pleasure of meeting Janet at LFest three years ago when I was invited to participate in a Q and A session at the screening of the film. This was the moment I had the thunderbolt of a realisation that there is very little, if not nothing in the way of exposure in the media of LGBT people living with disabilities and illnesses or conditions.

This realisation was the birthing place for “How To Love” and the many other novels which will follow. I hope that you enjoy Janet’s film.

WARNING : There is conversation of a sexual nature, adult themes and the occasional use of bad language within the film, so sharing with younger people is not advisable. Janet is an inspirational individual and if it wasn’t for our meeting my writing career may not have happened.

Janet still supports me in my career and I was delighted to giver her a character in “How To Love”. If you have read the book, I wonder if you can guess who she is?