I ignite the string and watch fireworks fly into the darkness above. They divide into red rockets, blue Catherine wheels and green sparklers. Puffs of colour dazzle the night.
‘What can you see?’ my sister asks.
At first all I can see are fireworks, but as each one flashes in my eye I can also see mortarboards hovering in Cathedral light; walking sticks digging into mountain passes; skiing across Canadian ice; sailing across burnt horizons.
I see us.
Just like fireworks, we brighten the cloudiest of skies.

Just like fireworks, we brighten the cloudiest of skies...Copyright © 2017- nickgesel. All rights reserved.    



You punched my face in the school toilets; you dismissed me during my work experience placements; you branded me as a ‘retard’ and a ‘loser’ in the highstreets, but you did not realise that like the sun in the horizon I would always rise.

You said I would fall from my bicycle and cut my face, but you did not realise I would cycle for nine kilometres around Stanley Park, Canada.

You imitated my lisp and teased my handwriting, but you did not realise my voice and words would flow over Radio Verulam and BBC Three Counties Radio, and would be applauded by professionals.

You laughed I would fail every subject, but you did not realise I would win ‘The Fletcher Prize’ for academic excellence and graduate with a First-class honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.

You predicted I would always be alone, but you did not realise I would go to the cinema with friends; play games of Articulate and Tension with my family; and could always turn to the hidden disability community in the darkest of days.

You finally remarked I would always be a failure because of my hidden disabilities, but you did not realise every victory of ours proved you wrong.


It is currently ‘Dyspraxia Awareness Week 2017’ but whether you are reading this during the occasion or long afterwards I hope the message remains the same.

We are not dangerous, lazy, stupid people; nor are we ‘retards’, ‘losers’ or ‘nerds’. Instead, we are beautiful, bright, determined, creative, empathetic and humorous people who go on to be musicians, artists, actors, comedians, writers who achieve great success. 

I also took the opportunity to ask many others with dyspraxia and their loved ones about some of their victories. You told me you compete in county level rugby; play the drums in bands; travel around the United States of America; have passed your practical driving tests; and won certificates for your spellings.

These are our victories and I am so proud of you.

Stanley Park, Canada, January 2017 Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.    

A List Filled With Happiness

A List Filled With Happiness

I have recently finished reading Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive, a powerful and honest account of depression. Haig concludes with a list he calls, ‘Things I have enjoyed since the time I thought I would never enjoy anything again.’ Here are some of the things on my list filled with happiness. What is on your list?



My pet goldfish, Chloe and Millie


Going on long walks

Music that makes me cry, especially Hans Zimmer’s ‘Solomon’; The Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘Arrival of the Birds’ and ‘Transformation’; and Two Steps From Hell’s ‘Heart of Courage’

The patch of blue in the sky on the cloudiest of days

Laughter split over pints of Coke with good friends

Playing ‘Articulate Your Life’, which is the only game that fills me with nerves of excitement

Taking photographs and videos that will last forever

Making short films by using life’s memories

Ty Beanie Babies

Watching magic being performed

Reading unforgettable novels and poetry

Speaking on the radio


Raising awareness for hidden disabilities

Travelling, especially to Iceland and Canada

Spending time with my cousins, Rufus Lakin and Tilly Lakin

Hearing about other people’s successes through determination

Shiny one and two penny coins

My local Chinese takeaway

The wind brushing up against my cheeks

Singing out of tune in the car

Beautiful sunsets that paint the sky red, orange, purple

The Northern Lights


Water clinking against ice in a glass

Bubble baths

Chicken nuggets

When a good day feels like a week

People listening with the intention to understand

My loving family

Talking to you

The Northern Lights in Yellowknife, Canada, January 2017 Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.    

To My Hurting Mind

To My Hurting Mind

You lurk in the shadows of alleyways; the seats at bus stops; the books on classroom shelves; and the walls of my home.

You turn my mouth dry; speed up my heartbeat; make my hands and legs tremble; hurl the vomit over the floor; and leak the diarrhoea out into the toilet.

You doubt my abilities by turning my stories and poems into jumbled words; laugh at my lisp when I speak out loud; and make the car collide into the kerb when I learn to drive.

You force me to hide beneath the bedsheets; guilt me by saying the food I love to eat is rotten; the novels I enjoy to read are boring; that I am wasting every day by doing nothing; and that I do not deserve to be supported.  

You trick me to think I am hated; that strangers want to hurt me; my friends want to leave me; that my family is ashamed of me; that I am a retard; that I should do everyone a favour and end it all.

You are my anxiety; my depression; my fear; my stress; my self-loathing; my guilt; but you will never win.

My hurting mind, I will harness you to write stories that will last forever; I will speak poems that will dance across the page; I will meet new friends and hold onto the ones I have; my family will always be proud; and I will do everyone a favour and live.

I will do everyone a favour and live...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.    


I shut the door on Mum and Dad shouting in the kitchen and enter the garden.
A purple and striped red butterfly perches on the bird table we have left out. I creep over and my trainers crunch the pebbles below.
I lurch over the creature and my fingers stroke its papery wings. Its heart beats within my nails. I smile for the first time in a long while.
The butterfly drifts into the sky and I am left alone in the garden to remember our brief time together. I pray for it to come back another day.

Its heart beats within my nails...Copyright © 2017- lilyz. All rights reserved.