Saturday, 9 May 2020

What's with the Facial Scars and Subliminal Messaging in JOJO RABBIT?



Last weekend I was asked by a friend who has a facial difference, what I thought of the use of facial scars in the movie JOJO RABBIT. Now I hadn't seen the movie, as the trailer showing a child with Adolf Hitler as his imaginary friend, had instantly turned me off.

She then aroused my curiosity even more with her statement, that maybe the healing of the facial scars was a metaphor for JoJo's changing attitude towards the Jews. Anything facially related I have to see for myself - so of course I watched it - and in fact, three times.

If you are unfamiliar with JOJO RABBIT, here is a pretty good synopsis:

A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

It is interesting that the majority of synopses I read, did not include a mention of the facial scars JoJo receives, and nor does the trailer.




I could tell straight away that JoJo Betzler was a fanatical 10-year-old Nazi youth. There were a few laughs at the Hitler Youth training camp, though Rebel Wilson's comedy did not come across well. I saw that JoJo's face was 'normal' so I was waiting on the edge of my seat for when the accident or incident would occur.

Spoiler alert!

The accident came soon after JoJo was told by the leaders to twist a rabbit's neck and kill it. He refused. They then killed the rabbit in front of him and bullied him about being weak... Now I must say I didn't see the funny side of this scene at all. It actually horrified me. JoJo ran off upset, had a chat to his buddy Adolf Hitler who pumped him up and sent him back to the throng feeling strong and courageous. JoJo grabbed a hand grenade and threw it. It hit a tree and ricocheted back to his feet, exploding.



The explosion affected the left side of JoJo's body from his face down to his leg (he limps).

Over the rest of the movie JoJo's face slowly heals and his limp recovers.

The story continues with JoJo, due to his injuries, not being able to join the troops and being put to work on jobs around the town e.g. putting up posters, collecting metal etc. After seeing a crack in the floor boards he finds a Jewish girl who's been hidden by his mother. Of course JoJo's mind is full of propaganda and lies about the Jewish people so he isn't very happy, but over time he gets to know Elsa and love her. I must say that JoJo has a well developed character arc. His mother is caught for her anti-Hitler advocacy and hung (I couldn't see the satire in that either).

I do wonder how a child becomes so brainwashed as JoJo was with a mother who was the complete opposite. How did JoJo become that way?

Anyway, back to the facial scars which is what I want to focus on.

The left hand side of JoJo's face is crisscrossed in scars. To me he looks okay - I've seen a lot worse, but I tried to put him in the context of the day.



In his bedroom, JoJo looks at his face and his mother comes in.
JoJo says, 'Your son is ugly like a monster.'
She replies, 'Hey you're no monster. Besides your scars will heal and you'll get most of the movement back in your leg.'
JoJo retorts, 'But I'll never be in Hitler's personal guards.'
And she responds with,  'Ah, you're fine as you are. I'm just happy to have you back home.'

I have no complaints whatsoever with this interaction. Rosie, his mum is comforting and loving.

In the next scene JoJo is dressed in his Hitler youth uniform to go outside. At the door he tells his mother, 'I don't want to go out there,.. I look stupid. People will stare.'
She replies, 'Enjoy the attention kid, not everyone is lucky enough to look stupid. I for one am cursed to look incredibly attractive. Now you're going to pluck up your courage, walk out that door and have an incredible adventure.'

This took me aback. I guess Rosie is trying to tell JoJo that facial scars are a good thing, but there was no denial in his thoughts that he looked stupid or that he would be stared at. Why did she agree with him? And to say she was cursed because she looked so incredibly attractive - what the???

As a child having grown up with a 'deformed' face as I was told, being stared at and pointed at, nasty comments made about me and trying to prove I wasn't stupid, on a daily basis, this hit me hard. I wasn't impressed.

I did though like Rosie's final words of telling JoJo to suck it up and go out into the world because she could have let him stay hidden at home which is more realistic of the time period.



Next when JoJo is at the rehab pool with other legless adults and children, Rahm (Rebel Wilson_ stretches his leg, saying, 'Soon your leg will only be a little bit deformed and pointless. I'm going to recommend another month off school though, because your face might scare the other kids. It's kind of ugly.'

Again the message is, that if you have facial scars you are ugly and shouldn't be seen out in public. Yes put in the time period this would have been the norm, but this movie is being shown today and that's not the message we want to be sending. Children need to be shown people with facial differences so they are not frightened when they see someone and facial differences need to be portrayed in a positive light. The subliminal message needs to be one of positivity.

The next scene occurs when JoJo is in his bedroom talking to Adolf and he asks his imaginary friend, 'Do you think I'm ugly.'
Adolf replies, 'Yes.'

So again, it is reinforced and by this stage I am shaking my head trying to make sense of why. And anger is boiling in my belly!

The final referral to his facial scars occurs towards the end of the movie when Adolf is upset with JoJo because JoJo has feelings towards Elsa the Jewish teen. Right in the beginning of the movie Adolf calls JoJo 'really good looking,' and now he tells JoJo that Elsa is too old for him, he is ugly and she's going to leave him.

What message does that say to you? To me it says once again that facial scars make people ugly, and you won't be able to maintain a relationship because of them.



After this JoJo lets Elsa out of their house and she sees that the Americans are now in control and they both dance.

Now obviously I have left out a lot of the story which does not relate to facial scars. And to be honest there were many poignant moments throughout the movie. There were comedic moments and the dark humour came through more when I watched the movie with subtitles.

But as a person having grown up with a craniofacial syndrome, and been told I was ugly and stupid, and feeling that no one would love me, this movie hit me hard. My parents were told to hide me away though they like Rosie, pushed me out into the world.

Particularly during my first viewing, a knife JoJo had as part of his uniform, was stabbed into my heart. I just do not understand why the facial scars were included, or why there was the consistent message that facial scars make you ugly, a monster, stupid and unlovable. And why has no one done a commentary on this part of the movie? Is it acceptable?

To me, it is totally unacceptable. 

Possibly the healing of the scars could be a metaphor as my friend suggested - that as JoJo's face and leg healed his warming and acceptance of the Jewish people changed... but I find that hard to believe as scars and legs with therapy heal over time anyway. The character arc would have happened if his face had stayed red and raw.

It is also interesting that much of the movie was filmed with JoJo's scarred side turned away from the camera. I particularly noticed this when I was looking for photos to add to this article. There are very few publicity photos that show his scars. Why is that?



I will leave this review here but I would really like you to think more about this. When you see a person with facial scars, what is your immediate reaction?

Would you call them beautiful or ugly?

Would you call them stupid or believe they have normal intelligence?

Are they deserving of love?

Did you respond with similar answers that are subliminal in JOJO RABBIT?

Finally, I would like to implore script writers and producers to start changing how people with facial differences are portrayed in movies. Many of us living with facial differences hurt whenever you portray us in a negative light.



Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Viral Video about a Boy Singing to his Baby Brother who has Down Syndrome

A few days ago I was tagged in a post on Facebook. This often happens. My friends see things that they think I would like to see. Usually they are videos or pictures which relate to pineapples (from my book Ride High Pineapple) or Down syndrome, as my youngest daughter has DS. The post was a video concerning the latter.


When I get tagged and go to look at the posts concerning Down syndrome, sometimes I am touched by them, sometimes I am inspired by the person as I know how hard it is for a person with DS to achieve certain things in life, due to their cognitive and muscular limitations, and sometimes I am annoyed by them. 


I usually have a reaction based on the comments below the post, and also based on the person or people in the video, or what captions there are. Having a child with Down syndrome has allowed me into a window that not a lot of people see into. If I related it to a car, I don’t just look from the outside seeing the state of the paintwork or the scratches on the doors or how shiny the rims are, I sit in the seat beside the person sitting in the backseat. I can see the steering wheel, the brake pedal, the seatbelt, the chewing gum stuck in the compartment, and the dirty hairbrush in the door. You get the idea I am sure. 


So the post that prompted this blog post was a video of a young boy, who was 6 years old, holding his baby brother, looking down at him and singing to him. Of course his baby brother had Down syndrome. The boy was singing the song, 10 000 Hours. This video had been filmed, subtitles added and then shared, and it went instantly viral. This is the YouTube version:



The video to me was okay. 

I have pictures of my two eldest reading to Jessica my daughter when she was a baby. I have a picture of my son at 3, sitting with her, his face touching her face, while she was propped up in the clothes basket with pillows. I have pictures of my 6 year old holding Jessica’s bottle as she couldn’t. Now were these pictures on the internet? No. Did I have a video of them singing to her? No. But I know they sang to her, and danced to her, and played with her. I remember Jessica tummy crawling after them and stealing their toys, and her older brother and sister getting angry at her. All normal kid things.


When Jessica was growing up, my kids didn’t go, ‘Oh she has Down syndrome. We should treat her differently.’ No way did they say that! In fact if she was having something different, they protested. They wanted her to be treated the way they were. 


It’s only been since my eldest two have been in high school and they’ve seen me battling the barriers and prejudices in the education system that I’ve talked to them about the prejudices and attitudes in society.

Siblings are a sister or brother first. They don’t know how society feels about Down syndrome. They don’t know that by treating their sibling the same as a ‘normal’ sibling, that they are being inspirational to some adults in the world. 


If Down syndrome wasn’t seen as such a terrible thing to be born with, and if obstetricians didn’t put in people’s heads that it had to be tested for because they believe that a person with DS won't never lead a successful life and will be a burden. And if society embraced differences as a whole, then people wouldn’t be seeing these videos as inspirational and they wouldn't be going viral. When I was looking at the post on Facebook I read through the comments and there were women saying they were crying, and everyone else felt all warm and fuzzy inside.


Me, the practical one wrote, my own comment, which was totally different to the ones already posted. It was my comment which triggered this blog post. I told them that the boy would have no idea that the baby had DS. He was just singing a song to his baby brother. A song his mother would have taught him. 

Obviously his mum knew what she was doing. In teaching him and videoing it, and releasing it out onto social media, she hoped people would see it, and comment, and feel all warm and fuzzy, and probably in the hope that there would be more acceptance of Down syndrome in the world. I can’t blame her for wanting to do that. If I am honest I post things about my daughter achieving things, just to show others that Down syndrome does not stop her from leading a good life, from doing the things she loves to do, from going to regular school with average kids, and from being happy. 


Now I have to say here that my daughter is happy because she knows her family loves her and she is valued. A valued person will go on to have a good life. Knowing you're valued gives that inner self-belief that a person has a place in the world, and even if they are knocked down by disbelievers, they will stand back up again and keep going.


I would like to leave you with a piece of friendly advice. If you see a post or a video of a baby with Down syndrome, look to see what it is. I have to reemphasis that I am impressed with many of things that people with DS are achieving. For example, I look at the gymnast who I know has worked doubly hard to get to her goal, because of the syndrome’s extreme low muscle tone. I look at the business owners who are working and making a genuine living. 

From the moment my daughter was born I have watched a young lady with DS who lives near us. I had never noticed her before the birth. I noticed she lived in a unit, she went to work, she shopped independently, she was out exercising… basically she was doing what average adults do, and what we were told our daughter would never do. This lady soon became our role model. 

If the post you're looking at is something showing a child or adult with DS achieving something that regular or average people do, that would be difficult for them to achieve because of the prejudices and barriers in our society, share it. Definitely share it. But if it is something like a 6-year-old boy singing to his little brother or sister, which is something all kids normally do, unless they are jealous, then think about why is it being shared? Is it being shared because there is so much prejudice and wrong beliefs out there in society that the author feels the need to put it out in the world. 


Just a thought.

Monday, 14 October 2019

World Mental Health Day 10 October


A few days ago it was World Mental Health Day. I thought I needed to write a response to the day as it is a personal day for me.

The purpose of World Mental Health Day was a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide. In particular it encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light, in an effort to reduce stigma and make a way for more people to seek the help and support they deserve.

World Mental Health Day Australia Website


So why is this day significant to me? To put it simply, because I have suffered from anxiety and depression since I was a child (though as a child I did not know that's what I was experiencing).

Growing up, my anxiety and depression went hand-in-hand with how I was treated by other kids and adults. If you are unaware, I was born with a rare craniofacial syndrome, at a time where anyone with a severe difference was hidden away. My parents rebeled against this and pushed me out into the world. It wasn't easy for them, and it certainly wasn't easy to me.

I have vivid memories of situations where my pulse was racing, fear was coursing through my veins, and I fled instead of fighting. I developed acute social anxiety which haunted me for most of my adult life. In high school my obsession with perfection led to more anxiety and I began to avoid exams and assessments I didn't think I was ready to take, or weren't completed at my high personal standard. None of this particularly worked for me, and without help, these behaviours followed me into my teaching career.

Teaching is not easy at the best of times, and you are expected to be self-confident, out there, be able to talk to anyone. I struggled to begin with because of sabotaging thoughts, and at times during my 25 year career in the classroom, would need mental health days to try and get my anxiety under control.

The beginning of my depression I can't pin a date to. I know as a teenager I was pretty mixed up, but aren't most teenagers? My face was changing and my facial syndrome was becoming more severe. I desperately wanted a boyfriend but no boy would be seen with me in that way. Plenty of boys were friends but for me I needed more to know my self-worth. In my mind, no boy loved me so I was worthless.

The first black hole I remember was seven years into my first marriage. The marriage had been volatile since the days of dating. Anyone who knows domestic violence, would have seen the signs and predicted what was going to happen. Me, Miss Naïve, and wanting desperately to be loved, saw some things I didn't like, but my desperation was way more important than how he treated me. Remember I had no self-worth.

By 7 years I had itchy feet and wanted to leave. I remember voicing this at my cousin's going away party. It took 3 more torturous years to be able to, and when I did it was with my bare teeth. I was caught up in that domestic violence cycle and trapped like a fly in a spider's web. I tried to leave on multiple occasions but was brought back, and then the treats to end my life if I dared leave again began. My mind spiralled down into the deepest darkest blackest hole I've ever been in. I could not see any sunlight or any way of getting out alive. So my mind decided that suicide was going to be my only choice, and I started thinking about the options and planning what I would do and when.

At the same time we were going for marriage counselling, and I would curl myself up in a fetal position on the couch and listen to my husband say that everything was my fault and he wasn't going to change. An idea came into my head and I asked the counsellor if she thought it would be an okay idea if I went home for the weekend for a break. Now my husband would never have allowed this and I expected him to disagree, but he said that was okay. He would let me go.

Upon appearing on my parents' doorstep the tears began to drip down my cheeks and I told them what was happening. I had put on such a façade that they had no idea. My dad gave me the biggest hug and told me that I wasn't to go back.

It wasn't easy not going back. My ex- tried everything he could to win me back, but with my father's help, I stood strong. With parental and friend support, and medication, eventually the depression eased and I saw the sun, but I was a very messed up lady psychologically. I had completely lost who I was on top of the depression.


I met my current husband soon after and bouts of severe anxiety raised their heads throughout our marriage. After my first child was born and we found out she had my craniofacial syndrome, depression hit me again. It was post-natal depression. She wasn't sleeping or breastfeeding properly, and I felt a lot of pressure to breastfeed. I wasn't coping with my kaleidoscope of emotions, childhood triggers that had never with dealt with, and the fact that I wasn't being perfect. I did eventually recover.

I think the next major bout of depression was after my third child was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome. I plummeted upon hearing the diagnosis and scared about what this all meant. I think it took about a year to finally accept life as it now was. I would have smaller relapses after the first year, so my doctor put me on medication to help stop the rollercoaster ride I was on.

My last major bout of anxiety and depression led to me leaving my 25 year career - teaching. The kids were having surgeries and again I was trying to be the perfect supermum, ignoring caring about me, and giving, giving, giving. A challenging class was the final straw as they say. I fell down that black hole again and my doctor told me that he would not be signing my back to work papers, which he didn't. I ended up leaving with TPD. Because this wasn't my choice, I lost my identity and grieved the job I loved. I felt like a failure.

As part of my treatment plan, my doctor sent me to see a psychologist. I had wanted to see a psychologist on a number of occasions but only crazy people see them, don't they?! I thought it would be embarrassing to say I was, so I would pick up the card on the reception desk, then put it back down again. Well, now I had no choice.

Going to see the psychologist was the best thing I have ever done in my life for myself. She went right back to my childhood and we unpacked my life. There were so many lightbulb moments and tears. I began to understand myself, and forgive myself for choices I had made. Buried secrets came to the surface as well. At each session, weights were taken off my shoulders, and I felt lighter. It was an amazing experience.

I then decided I would tell people I left teaching because of anxiety and depression, to help spread awareness, and to encourage people to go and get help.


If people ask me, 'Are you okay?'' and I'm not, sometimes I will say, 'My head's not in a good place at the moment,' or sometimes I will say, 'Yeah,' even if I am not. And that is true I am sure for others.

When you are in a hole, it is very hard to get outside of your mind to ask for help. I can totally understand why people do commit suicide, as I've been so close. When your mind is wrapped in 'this is all too hard' you don't care about who might be left behind or who you might hurt - you just want the pain and agony in your head to stop. But if you are feeling this way, I must encourage you to reach out your hand to someone. I have found sitting in the sun, or watching the waves at the beach, or just having someone talk to me about a positive event that I am going to be involved in, all help switch the switch in my mind from negative back towards positive. It brings hope for the future.


So I would like to leave you with three tips for maintaining your mental health:

1) Take time for you

This is so important and I learnt this the hard way. You don't get a gold star or a special seat in heaven if you are supermum. Supermums burn out and fall in heaps, and then are of little benefit to anyone. Your desire should be, a well balanced mum who takes out from the family to do some fun things for herself.  Take that art class, meditate, go shopping on your own, visit those friends … You need to be you, just as much as you are a mother, or wife, or worker etc.

2)  Exercise and eat well

Go for that daily walk. I remember when I was seeing my psychologist I was accountable to her for walking, and even though I didn't feel it helped my psychological state, the research says it does release happy chemicals. Eat well as much as you can. I put on a lot of weight as I was self-soothing with food. Easy to do, but I good idea not to. While you out and about let the sun shine on your skin as Vitamin D also helps you to feel happy.

3) Take the medication and see the psychologist

A wise friend who was a nurse told me, 'If you broke your arm, you would go and get it fixed. You have a problem with the chemical imbalance in your brain, go and get it fixed.' That made total sense to me. This is where the stigma of mental illness comes from. People think because it is your brain that it isn't as important as a bone fracture or your heart - that is absolute rubbish. And people who seek help are not crazy - in fact they are smart.

Look at this picture for more ideas:



If anything in this article has triggered you please ring Lifeline on 13 11 14    or visit your local GP to get some help. xx


To see more about Jenny, visit her website at www.jennywoolsey.com.


Saturday, 12 October 2019

World Sight Day 10 October



Today is World Sight Day. A significant and personal day for me.

So what is it?

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness which focusses global attention on blindness and vision impairment, and is held on the second Thursday in October each year.

The day was established by the World Health Organisation in 2000. World Sight Day is the main advocacy event for raising awareness about blindness and impairment.

http://worldsightday.org.au/about/

Did you know that 90% of global blindness and visual impairments are preventable? This is mainly because people do not get their eyes checked regularly and leave it until damage has begun.



So why is this day significant for me? To put it simply, I am visually impaired. People ask me if I am legally blind and the answer is no, not quite. There are very strict guidelines and my right eye sits just outside of the definition. But even though I am not legally blind, I need a white cane to keep myself safe, and I also require other low vision aids such as magnifiers and binoculars, and a GPS to see and get where I need to go.

I recently spoke about my vision impairment and how for most of my life I have hidden it as much as I could. You can watch my talk here:



Now, as you heard in my presentation, my visual impairment was caused by complications in my facial reconstructive surgery. My optic nerves were damaged. Optic nerves are like cables carrying information from the eye to the brain for processing. They consist of over a million nerve fibres and give the brain the information it needs to see clearly. Once optic nerves become damaged,gyv they turn pale and grey, and there is no cure. Optic nerves cannot be repaired.

Read this article to understand - Optic Nerve Atrophy

In my case there was prolonged pressure and swelling of particularly my left optic nerve, which severely damaged it, rendering the eye useless. I have extremely dark and blurry vision and a black blind spot, and cannot read at all - I am legally blind in that eye. In my right eye my visual acuity was affected, I have no depth perception and I became colour blind. In my right eye the optic nerve damage also led to a condition called hemianopia which I have written about in a previous blog post. Hemianopia is where you only see out of half your eye. See the picture below. This is similar to how I see out of my right eye.


Apart from the corrective glasses for my right eye, there is no cure. Because of my lack of peripheral vision in my right eye I cannot drive, and I need a white cane for my personal safety.


I was resistant to having a white cane. It was only last year, after struggling for just over 40 years, that I decided to get help. With my husband's deteriorating health I had been venturing out alone, and experienced  some scares - from falling into the train, to nearly falling down a very long flight of stairs, to being scared by people bumping me on my left side. I was also always stressed wherever I went where there were lots of people, as I would always run into people or spend the whole time flicking my head from side to side, to flicking it to the ground then back to the front. I didn't enjoy being out and about and would become quite anxious.

I am sure you would agree that I needed the cane.

So why was I resistant? Why have I left it until in my 50s to get one?

To put it simply, I didn't want my life to change. Having a cane makes you stand out, pointed at and stared at. As I say in my presentation, I had battled being accepted by society growing up, and was teased for looking different. Once society deemed me as 'you now fit in', I wanted to stay that way. In primary school I would sit in the front row and in high school the only help I accepted was a wooden stand for putting my typing book on, so I could read it. Apart from that I sat up the front if my friends were, but if they sat at the back, I copied off their books. I refused to wear glasses because glasses weren't cool and not many people wore them, and those who did, were teased.

When I went to university, I began to wear glasses as I didn't know people well enough to copy off them, but only when I absolutely needed them - not all the time. In fact it was only maybe 5 years ago, when glasses were becoming trendy, that I began to wear my glasses all day - and what a difference that made. I remember my ophthalmologist being stern with me, saying, 'Jenny go and find a pair of glasses that you really like, and wear them all the time.'

But still it was hard. I could only see so far. I couldn't read menu boards and was too self-conscious to say anything, so I would only go to the takeaways I knew the menu of, and I would order a limited range.

Now I have my white cane (which is actually pink), the world has opened up to me.



So how has it opened up the world to me?

Because I no longer have to pretend, my mask has been torn off,  and I am able to say, 'Please help me.' or 'What does that say?' Most of the time people get out of my way, so I'm not bumping into people and not having the number of scares I was from people coming up close on my blind side. The cane enables me to check the depths of stairs, and it shows me where stairs are that don't have yellow paint lines on them,  and the depth of the entrance to the train, so I haven't fallen. My cane identifies obstacles. cracks in the path, and curbs before I reach them.

Once I made the decision to get my cane, which I have named Seymour, it took a while to get used to being stared at again in public. It triggered uneasy childhood memories. Fortunately I've had no bad names thrown my way so that has helped me to keep going. I've heard lots of parents talking to their children about what my cane is for, and that has to be a good thing for diversity and inclusion for the future generations. It would have been so easy in the first couple of months to put the cane away, or just use it around friends, but I knew that wasn't when I needed it. I specifically needed the cane when I was out alone, and in busy places. I also found that when I didn't take my cane, I either walked into something or someone, or I stumbled down and over curbs and sidewalks. It became a no brainer in the end.

I have noticed that when I am out and about I rarely see another person with a cane, which I always think is strange. Where are all the visually impaired people? I think there are many people who like me, don't want to show the world that they can't see and are pretending they can see better than they actually can.

So to end this blog post, I am going to give you a few pointers that I have come to realise from my white cane journey:

1) Be positive about getting help
If you need the help, you need the help. Today's society is a lot more accepting in many ways than the world was when I was growing up. Yes, there is still a lot of prejudice and bullying, but I have found with the 'coming out' of my visual impairment, people have been kind and accommodating.

I definitely have my 'woe is me' days, and it infuriates and frustrates me that I cannot drive, but I can't change things, so I can choose to live my life with a negative attitude, or I can be positive and grateful for the vision I do have. And hey people jump out of my way most of the time, and if I put my imagination to work, I can pretend I am a queen or Moses parting the Red Sea. That's something to be positive about!

2) Put your head up and be confident
No matter what your difference is, or your disability that you are coming out with, put your head up and be confident. You deserve to be in this world and you are perfect just the way you are. Embrace your difference and own it. When I was having my orientation and mobility training with the Guide Dogs, that is one of the first things they taught me. Stand up tall, look ahead, and walk straight. I believe walking this way is important. I don't walk with my head down, wanting the world to not notice me, or help me as I once did. I also believe I am less likely going to be a target of crime if I look confident.


3) Live your best life
I could quite easily sit at home and pick the fluff from my navel, and not go anywhere unless someone is willing to take me... but I made the decision that I wouldn't. You only have one run at life, and I want to have experiences and see things. One of the activities on my bucket list was parasailing and this year I was able to - and I absolutely loved it! This past month I took my eldest two children to Sydney for a sightseeing holiday. It is a matter of deciding what you want to do, and then how you are going to do it, with the adjustments or help you need.


*

To finish with, on World Sight Day, I must encourage you to visit an optometrist and have your eyes checked. Most problems that occur with eyes that aren't related to trauma as mine were, can be treated or if not, they can be closely monitored. I shake my head when I see people who need reading glasses, trying to make their arm as long as possible to read something - go and get some glasses!


To find out more about Jenny visit her website at www.jennywoolsey.com






What's with the Facial Scars and Subliminal Messaging in JOJO RABBIT?

Last weekend I was asked by a friend who has a facial difference, what I thought of the use of facial scars in the movie JOJO RABBI...