Butterflies

Butterflies
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.

Honesty

Honesty

I am honest when I share my experiences of living with Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia and having a dad with severe multiple sclerosis. However, this honesty can sometimes hurt.

I am haunted by the corridors in my secondary school where I was punched, kicked, strangled by others boys. I remember the long admissions in hospitals where blood poured out of my bottom and I fainted in my mum’s arms. I still visualise the beds where dad’s legs trembled and his veins were infected. I recall the faces that shouted I was a ‘nerd’, ‘lazy’, ‘stupid’, ‘ugly’ and a ‘retard’. These faces laughed at my scars. These memories invade me as I type each word and I am almost too scared to press the ‘enter button’ to publish this article...

...But I know I am not alone. There are many wonderful people who are willing to listen to my story, no matter how graphic or personal, and they do genuinely care. I know they will be there when I cannot get out of bed in the morning even after setting two alarms; when I stumble over my speech; when I fall into shards of glass and cut my face; when my potassium levels are so low I could have a heart attack in the night; when I am bullied; and when I feel like ending it all.

On Saturday 24th June 2017 I attended the Dyspraxia Foundation Annual General Meeting and Conference 2017. I was very anxious on the train down to London Bridge. My hands were shaking; my voice was dry; and I almost vomited into the toilet. However, these fears disappeared over the duration of the day. Each organised talk, each activity, every workshops and ultimately every person was inspiring. You took the time to listen to my fears, my dreams and I listened to yours. You are kind, creative and determined and I am proud to have met you.

If it means my voice will no longer be silenced; if I can prove the bullies wrong; and if I get the chance to meet many more incredible people then I will continue to be honest.
 
Dyspraxia Foundation Annual General Meeting and Conference 2017...Copyright © 2017-  Dyspraxia Foundation and Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.    

My Truthful Dreams

My Truthful Dreams

Recently I have been having some strange dreams including one about Doctor Who, another about unrequited love and a further about asking a prime minister whether she has heard of a fish and chips restaurant in Bournemouth. The images have made me reflect over what ambitions I would like to achieve in life. Here are some of my truthful dreams.

I dream that my writing will be read all over the world. I write articles including those about living with hidden disabilities, just like the one you are reading now. I produce poetry, short stories, script and have also been finalising a young adult fiction novel. If you are moved by a story, can relate to one of the characters, if I can make you cry, laugh or you become inspired then I will continue to write forever.

I dream to have a wife and children. I am very close to my parents and sister, and wish one day to have a family of my own. This does concern me a bit as I wonder whether I will find someone who will understand I have Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia and a dad who has severe multiple sclerosis. I worry that I might not be able to have children, that my body will stop me from producing. I fear I may not be a good husband or a caring father, but I would love the chance to be both. 

I dream that everyone will understand all our disabilities. I dream to be in a world where I do not have to apologise for talking about poo at the dinner table; that I do not need to say sorry for not having the energy to get out of bed; do not feel guilty that it may take a little longer to tie shoe laces, learn to drive, that I may fumble over words; that health conditions have been and will always be a big part of my life.

These are some of my truthful dreams, and perhaps one day they will come true.
 
Perhaps one day they will come true...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.    


Silence

Silence

Silence echoes through houses.

Silence ripples through streets.

Silence shatters through crowds.

Silence tries to hide our voices, but our united roar will never stop...

Our united roar will never stop...Copyright © 2008- Hakan Erenler. All rights reserved.      

Fear

Fear

I fear I will be ignored again when my small intestine inflame; just like before when a doctor branded the Crohn’s disease symptoms of a nine-year-old boy as ‘imaginary’.

I fear I will be bullied again for not being able to run, write, read or speak ‘normally’; just like before when a group of school boys laughed at my dyspraxia.

I fear I will be standing beside a hospital bed again; just like before when my dad was placed into an induced coma because he developed septicaemia.

I fear I will die alone; looking at a reflected face of a frightened boy, my own face.

-----

In the darkest of times I fear all these things.

However, I have come to realise that in each of these situations there has been someone there to support me; a member of my family, a close friend, a caring teacher, a kind stranger. Thank you for being there for me.

I need to remember what my mum told me, that even on a cloudy day I should always look for the patch of blue in the sky. Then maybe my fears will wash away.

I should always look for the patch of blue in the sky...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.     


To My Bullies

To My Bullies

You bullied me.

You punched and kicked me in the corridor, but you did not realise each mark you left behind made me stronger.

You took the piss out of my lisp on the school bus, but you did not realise my voice grew in confidence.

You pointed and laughed at my dad for walking with a stick at parents’ evening, but you did not realise he would end up in a nursing home due to his severe multiple sclerosis.

You said I was alone, but you did not realise I had close friends, a caring family and supportive teachers to watch over me.

You said I was ‘lazy’, ‘stupid’, a ‘nerd’ and a ‘retard’, but you did not realise it may have taken me a little longer but I always broke your stereotypes.

You said I would not achieve anything, but you did not realise I would go on to raise awareness for hidden disabilities; have experts call my creative writing readings ‘professional’; to win ‘Radio Presenter of the Year’ at the Trident Media Awards 2017.

You thought I would not amount to anything in my ‘pathetic’ life.

You were and always will be wrong.

Jake Borrett at the Trident Media Awards 2017...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.        

Sand

Sand

I lie on the sand with my eyes close, listening to the waves swishing in and out, tickling my feet.

...6...5...4....

I count down the numbers inside my head, sparking images of her face.

...3...2...1...

I realise that no matter how long I wait, no one will come for us.

...0....

Her feet are carried away by the waves, but I lie on the sand stranded. 

No one will come for us...Copyright © 2015- Zukiman Mohamad. All rights reserved.  


An Image of a ‘Normal’ Boy

An Image of a ‘Normal’ Boy

When most people look at this image they see a ‘normal’ twenty-two-year-old boy. They do not see his Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia. They do not see his younger-self being told by a doctor that the pain in his small intestine is ‘imaginary’; they do not see his low levels of potassium in hospital; the blood; the pills; the bullying in school; the tears over the exercise books; the anger; the embarrassment of having a dad with multiple sclerosis; the self-hatred. They also do not see him winning ‘The Fletcher Prize’ for outstanding achievement; defying expectations by attaining a First-class honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from University of Hertfordshire; the smiles; the laughs; the travels; the courage; the confidence; and his belief to raise awareness for hidden disabilities.

You do though, you see it all. Thank you for supporting the writing blog since it went public three years ago on Friday 28th February 2014. Most of all, thank you for being there when I needed it the most.

You do though, you see it all...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett. All rights reserved.    

Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin’s Canada Adventure (December 2016 - January 2017)

Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin’s Canada Adventure (December 2016 - January 2017)

I have wanted to go travelling with my cousin, Rufus Lakin, for a long time, so when he decided to have a year studying abroad in Canada it gave us a good opportunity to do so. Our Canadian adventure took place between Wednesday 28th December 2016 and Tuesday 17th January 2017. I have been to Canada once before in 2006 with my immediate family, but this was the first time I travelled on an aeroplane by myself. Whilst it was a scary experience making sure I caught the right ‘Air Canada’ plane, I made sure to have enough time to get through check-in, security and boarding before my nine and a half hour long haul flight to Vancouver.

Vancouver
I arrived at Vancouver International Airport at 4.05pm on Wednesday 28th December 2016 where Rufus was waiting for me. We spent a total of nine nights in Vancouver, including one night at an Airbnb and the rest at Best Western Plus Sands Hotel. Looking back on this adventure I am amazed by and thankful for the amount of memories we created together. Here is a list of the activities we got up to in Vancouver. The list includes:
          Exploring Downtown Vancouver and English Bay
          Bike riding around Stanley Park
          Watching the sun set over Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Park
          Visiting VanDusen Botanical Garden to see the Festival of Lights
          Ice skating at a local community centre
          Ringing in 2017 by watching the New Year’s Eve firework display by the waterfront
          Briefly watching the Polar Bear Swim, where people can swim for a kilometre in English Bay for New Year’s Day
          Going to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park at night to see the bridge, its canyon lights as well as the tree tops and cliff walk
          Visiting the Steam Clock at Gastown, Vancouver
          Watching an ice hockey game, where the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 3 goals to 2
          Exploring Granville Island, including its marketplace
          Having a day-trip to Whistler to snowshoe and to have a go at bobsleigh
          Entering into a poker tournament at Edgewater Casino

We are lucky to have managed to visit many amazing places in ten days. One of my many highlights of Vancouver was completing the nine kilometre route around Stanley Park. One of the last times I was on a bicycle was in 2006 and although I was very rusty at first in the end we managed to complete the full distance and saw many beautiful views along the way.

I often find taking part in different sports more challenging due to the coordination impact my dyspraxia has; but throughout my adventure in Canada I did not let my dyspraxia stop me from attempting and enjoying cycling, ice skating and later snowmobiling and skiing. I am proud to have given each activity a good go.  


One of my many highlights of Vancouver was completing the nine kilometre route around Stanley Park...Copyright © 2016- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.               


Yellowknife
We spent a total of four nights in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Whilst we were out there it dropped to temperatures of -38 degrees, so we were thankful to have hired very warm ‘Canada Goose’ clothing and ‘Sorel Boots’, and to have booked a room at Yellowknife Polar Suite in the centre of town. As well as dealing with the cold Rufus and I had to cope with the tiredness of early starts and late nights. Nevertheless, between Friday 6th January 2017 and Tuesday 10th January 2017 we completed the following activities:
          Travelling to a cabin in order to witness the beautiful Northern Lights with ‘My Backyard Tours’
          Driving snowmobiles during the day across Great Slave Lake with ‘Aurora Adventure Tour’
          Being treated to the Northern Lights for the second night in the row at another cabin with ‘Aurora Adventure Tour’
          Driving our own dog sled through a winter wonderland with ‘Beck’s Sled Dog Kennels and Tours’
          Snowmobiling at night through the woods and across a frozen lake with ‘North Star Adventures’

I enjoyed pretty much every moment of the hauntingly beautiful Yellowknife. However, one common theme to the tours we went on is the lack of toilet facilities. We were recommended to use the toilet in advance of going on the tours. The problem was that the night time snowmobiling and Northern Lights tours could last up to four hours, so my Crohn’s disease did cause me to sometimes feel uncomfortable. Saying this I always made sure to bring an extra pair of underpants with me and to not allow my Crohn’s disease to spoil my enjoyment as we drove through the snow.

The beautiful Northern Lights...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.        






Kelowna and a Final Reflection
Rufus and I spent the last part of our Canadian adventure in Kelowna. We stayed on campus at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus where Rufus is completing his year studying Human Kinetics or rather Sports Science. I got a glimpse into what it could have been like if I had studied at a university away from home rather than commuting to University of Hertfordshire. The people I met during my time in Canada were all friendly, with Kelowna being no exception. The activities we completed between Tuesday 10th January 2017 and Tuesday 17th January 2017 were as follows:
          Experiencing student life at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
          Having a nostalgic meal at Earls Kitchen and Bar Restaurant, where I went to with my immediate family when we travelled to Kelowna in 2006
          In a group of four, we spent the weekend at ‘Big White Ski Resort’ where I learnt to ski all the way to one of the green runs; as well as doing some tubing and ice skating
          On our last day, we climbed Knox Mountain Park to gain a view of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake

The time in Kelowna went by very quickly. While Rufus was in some of his university lessons and on my travels back home to England on Tuesday 17th January 2017 I had a good amount of time to reflect. I believe the travelling we did in Canada has given me more confidence, proving that I am strong and brave and willing to try new activities for the experience. As we took our seats on the bobsleigh in Whistler and went down the slopes at seventy miles per hour I realised that attempting new things is good, and that we should never let our hidden disabilities stop us; I should never think less of myself because of my Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia. Thank you for an incredible adventure Rufus and thank you everyone else for being there for me.

I should never think less of myself because of my Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.