I was at an event on Saturday.
“Her Story” was a series of inspiring, bold, unique and personal talks from a range of women who have succeeded in a world not designed for women’s success.
The event was hosted by Anna Foster, BBC Newcastle Breakfast presenter. Presentations were by Dame Vera Baird DBE QC, Police and Crime Commissioner Northumbria, Julia Austin, Founder of Tyne Bank Brewery, Florence Adepoju, Cosmetic Scientist and Founder of MDM Flow, Debbie Flood, Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist and Athlete, Teleica Kirkland, Founder of Costume Institute of the African Diaspora, Laura Currer, Entrepreneur and Sexual Violence Activist, Kymberlee Jay, Former professional Dancer for Madonna, Nike Athlete and Entrepreneur, Chi Onwurah MP Labour Party and finally, Francesca Martinez.
All brilliant, I am here going to concentrate on just one lady. Francesca Martinez.
She’s a comedian, speaker, actor and writer.
And she is wobbly.
That’s how Francesca refers to her Cerebral Palsy.
I’m going to let you know about a few small things that Francesca Martinez said. Francesca, you will know if you take a look at this link to her website.
Shortly after Francesca was born, around the age of one, her parents were told that Francesca would never lead a normal life. You can probably tell where this is going…
Who the fuck wants to lead a normal life?
I want to live a fucking amazing life!
And so Francesca continued. Swinging from the beautifully insightful:
I rejected the negative framing of my condition.
I loved me.
I had no concept of what I couldn’t do.
To the beautifully funny:
This was a wonderful way to think.
Apart from when I used to play that ringing the doorbell and running away thing with my friends.
They were all miles away before I got out of the fucking garden.
You have the power to choose how you view yourself.
I chose my own perception of myself.
I am proud to be wobbly.
I am not merely accepting of it.
I am proud of it.
Towards the end of her section, Francesca Martinez said two things that I will always remember.
Here they are.
Comparison is toxic.
The moment I stopped, I started to live my life.
And finally, a tiny thought that should – really – be a call to action for everyone.
A reminder to the thin, the fat, the tall, the short, the bald, the furry, the stereotypically beautiful and the unstereotypically beautiful:
My body is a miracle.
It gives me life.
Francesca is right.
Let’s make it an amazing one!