Last week I was honoured to be invited to join The Broken Puppet Theatre Company in two events that were to ‘Go Blue’ in aid of awareness for M.E. and invisible illnesses. On the Tuesday, otherwise known as ‘Bluesday’ we donned our blue outfits (and wigs in some cases) and headed to a tea party at Furrifingers incredible puppet making workshop.
In support of the event I made some puppets for everyone in attendance using the Snoof pattern by Adam Kreutinger of PuppetNerd. It was a thank you to these wonderful people who have invited me into their own tribe despite the fact that I have so many health problems myself. I have Fibromyalgia and anxiety (both wonderful invisible illnesses!) amongst other things and life can sometimes feel very lonely despite being surrounded by my wonderful family who I am eternally grateful for. This group of creative people have welcomed me, like they would with anyone, judgement free and accepting of my limitations. So the army of Snoofs was just a small Bluesday gift to them and they seemed to have a lot of fun playing.
Which one is your favourite? We had some delicious cakes (thank you Clare) that were very blue!! We created some online content which went out across all of our social media platforms and hopefully in a fun way spread a little awareness of M.E. and invisible illness out into the world.
Then I slept and built up my spoons because on Friday I joined The Broken Theatre Company once again but this time at Derriford Hospital where we had a table full of ‘games’ the objective being that we could give people an insight into what it is like to live with an illness like this. The tasks at first seem easy, no problem at all, but add some glasses that obscure your vision or give you the wrong tool for the job and all of a sudden the task that should of taken next to no effort at all is taking up all of your concentration, taking longer and is sometimes just next to impossible.
These ‘games’ were devised by The Broken Puppet Theatre Company and Sharon Tiday who is the founder of Campaign For Disability Awareness. It was a pleasure to meet Sharon, she is so knowledgeable about these illnesses and is a real advocate for getting people the help that they need. It was great to see how the team interacted with the people who were brave enough to give the tasks a go, making everyone feel at ease. I was way out of my comfort zone but they made me feel like a real part of the team and I left the hospital on Friday feeling like we might just have made a difference to the people that we spoke to, that they might be a little kinder, a little more patient or have more empathy for people because they can’t always see just from looking at people what they are struggling with. Perhaps that is lofty aspirations from just one afternoon sat in the hospital but that is exactly why these events are important because the more awareness there is in the world the more acceptance and the more kindness we can spread. Despite trying all these funny glasses on, I found the event eye opening and I hope that I get the chance to join in again in the future.
My disability is invisible, I thank the whole team for raising awareness for people like me, for people with any invisible illness.
Huge thank you to The Broken Puppet Theatre Company, Furrifingers, Sharon Tiday and Kindness_Is_My_Art (Chris) for ‘Going Blue’ and for the photographs shown in this blog post. There are many more across our social media platforms. I have tagged everyones Instagram so please click on the names to find them.
Thank you for reading my blog,