Monday, 6 February 2012

An informal CV

An informal CV

My name is Claire Smith and I love to learn, and love to share it with others too. What I am looking for is for someone to invest in me, to nurture and direct my talents. If I can be taught something new, I will be up for it. If I can be involved in cool projects and have a go at working solo, I will be up for that too. I get told all the time I am approachable, and I see this when I talk to new people.

I have a wish that I can teach others so that they can share in my enthusiasm for scientific topics. I do it now to a degree; I am STEM Ambassador and will find ways of keeping technical topics fun and interesting for anyone who will listen, I explained special relativity to my Nan once, with the aid of pictures on an envelope and balled up gloves.
My body is fragile, and I only really work at a proper pace between 12pm and 4pm most days (I have a certain amount of energy to use each day and can horde it for a longer day).
Before 2006 I was working four different types of youth work and play work jobs and had a decent social life too, now that I can not do this amount of work, I now know that it is more important to create quality work.

I am still learning how to use my body, to get the most out of it; it’s like a new life that still has L-plates on it!

I love doing my Open University degree, no lectures at nine in the morning and using energy I have on work instead of getting dressed suites me fine, but there is something missing from all of this.
I don’t get to talk about the subjects with other students over coffee, I don’t get to speak to professors about their latest books, I think this means I don’t get to take part in life as it goes on.

My social life in Manchester is pretty good, besides my small group of friends, I have taken part in Greater Manchester Skeptics events, and I once delivered a small soapbox rant on the “cure alls for fibromyalgia”.  I have volunteered for Manchester Girl Geeks, and will probably do it again soon.

I want to continue with my degree, quantum physics and its branches fascinate me and I study mostly out of joy for the subject. I want to continue to volunteer but I really want some paid work, I want to contribute but worry with my lack of work experience in this current climate will mean I will have no chance of getting work, (I hate seeing my sister working in a call centre, they’re hell, I know, when she should be starting her career after graduating) that the words “reasonable adjustments” will send employers running of the other direction.

The best thing about me, if I do say so myself, is that my health is improving year after year as I get a handle on my body. This means that with long term employment, a supportive environment and plenty of understanding an employer will get an amazing, hard working, always improving Claire.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Skeptical about cure-alls

OK so here is what I have ran into and what people have sent me, sites that claim to cure all, that claim to lower you pain, free you from fatigue and financially bankrupt you, that usually are just people on a power trip, people who are misguided, people who are just plain greedy. is a favourite:

Anne Hillebrand

*is not a medical professional but a former sales rep

It is wonderfully ironic that Anne has a buyer beware section in which she claims

Frequent use of bold lettering and all caps.

"A lot of text with many of the words in red and/or highlighted in bright yellow.

Empathetic language showing how they understand what you’re going through and how much you are suffering.

Lots of personal stories and testimonials from people whose lives have been changed by using this product.

References made to research proving their claims, but no links provided to the actual research."

Which all point to her site! (See picture)

NEXT ONE: I ran into  natural solutions to stop pain & fatigue...the disclaimer says it all:
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice or medical care of a qualified health care professional and you should seek the advice of your health care professional before undertaking any dietary or lifestyle changes. The material provided on this website is for educational purposes only. 

So please be aware when searching for help with your fibromyalgia. The best page on help is the UK page: fibroaction & NHS Conditions Fibromyalgia

Monday, 11 October 2010

How roller coasters and llamaless people really can help you remain the fabulous babe or dude that you are.

How roller coasters and llamaless people really can help you remain the fabulous  babe or dude that you are.

Our lives are naturally be full of ups and down, the roller coaster a perfect analogy. Perfect in that the people who can ride have those ups and downs.

You head over to have a ride on the roller coaster, it's called "The Ride of Your Life", you are excited to see what heights it can reach and thrills it can give you. You queue for ages, only to realise you aren't "this tall to ride". There are always going to be those of us who can't ride for heart conditions, pregnancy, back problems etc. It's not just you who gets turned away you notice, so you don't feel as bad as you would if you were the only one, while you think everyone else is having fun.

So disappointed you walk away, but while the world and his wife queue for the "Ride of Your Life"
The line for the tea cups, the shooting galleries, the haunted house are all freed up, and you are "just right" to have your own thrills there. When you've had your fun, there is a little park area with ducks and a bench. You find your friends and share similar stories of the rides you've taken and the rejoice in the differences you've experienced. You are glad you are old enough to not throw a tantrum, once upon a time you'd have wailed and moaned "if I can't go on the Ride of Your Life then I'm going home!"
The next day you skip the rides and head to the park to take in nature and peace. You spot your friends and ask "what's happened, why aren't you on the Ride of Your Life?"

They reply, "Because it wasn't as fun as we thought it'd be. We'd like to take a break and spend some time with you, even have a ride on the tea cups before the fair leaves town"
So what I am trying to say babes and dudes, is that although you may feel you don't fit in a "normal" world, there will always be other opportunities open to you, and you can even make those opportunities yourself.
It's not even about compromise, some may see it as having less of a life, you should see it as having a different one, and we all have different lives to one another.

A phrase I hear too often is "at least you are better off than.... Llamaless, Lipless, Legless, Larry-no-legs with a loofer" well maybe not that phrase entirely but you catch my drift!
We shouldn't have to feel grateful because someone else is much worse off, we should be able to say, "You know, I think I may go lend a leg to Larry while lends me his loofer!"
Make your opportunities, rediscover your abilities and celebrate the difference in you life.
Claire Smith

Thursday, 23 September 2010

30 things

30 Things You May Not Know

1. The illnesses I live with are:
 Fibromyalgia, Joint Hypermobility, Asthma, Depression & Anxiety
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:
 Fibromyalgia 2008
3. But I had symptoms since:
Some since birth, some since my teens.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:
Having to rely on other people, & government systems that are as unreliable as myself.
5. Most people assume:
That I am too young to be disabled.
6. The hardest part about mornings are:
 Having to get up because I am in too much pain to lie there, when I am very fatigued. 
7. My favourite medical TV show is:
Helicopter Heroes count, I like the real ones!
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:
My laptop. Social life & Uni work would be none existent without it!
9. The hardest part about nights are:
Getting to sleep or going out cold before I can take my meds, or brush my teeth.
10. What do you take?
 17 tablets a day, 2 inhalers.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: It is called alternative for a reason, it is an alternative to rigorously tested, safe, reliable treatments...
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I live with both, invisible means that people treat you as though you can do anything, and visible, they treat you like you can't!
13. Regarding working and career: I have neither, but I use what skills & energy I have to help others I am working on getting a degree in physics, so I can play with particle accelerators!
14. People would be surprised to know: How much pain, physically & emotionally I am in everyday.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:
Realising my limitations, I am still new to a lot of this, I am still young & want to do things, a lot of them I just can't.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Have a social life: I love my sceptic meets & geek nights & improv.
17. The commercials about my illness:
In the UK there are none. But I am glad that no one is trying to sell me anything for it. I trust my doctors.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:
Seeing my family & youth work.
19. It was really hard to have to give up:
regular sex, beer & my savings!
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:
 I read so much more now!
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:
 I would get up early, go earn some money, go for a run or swim, rock Oli's world, have a beer & spend all night dancing! (as long as I didn't have to pay for some of it in the morning!)
22. My illness has taught me
To respect myself & other people.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: You are too young to be disabled!
24. But I love it when people:
Come over to see me, take me out for lunch, don't need me to explain that I can't do certain things & make me laugh my socks off! (This is for my family, my best friends & kind random strangers)
25. My favourite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Carpe Diem! Corny but it gets me through.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:
Don't be afraid to ask for help, to tell people what you need & don't need, to have a bad day. The everyday stuff shouldn't be a chore
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:
 That actions speak louder than words. (*Is cleaning/cooking for you* is better than "I am always there for you")
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:
Oli has done so many things, I always consider them the nicest, because he works the hardest.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:
I was visibly vocal about being disabled!
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:
That you may have a longer concentration span than me! I hope you enjoyed it, your prize is a sweet....knowledge that you know more about what I, & other disabled people go through daily!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

I am not a Nazi, I am just a Clairepie Smeff!

I am not a Nazi! To my family and friends who believe in Gods & the supernatural: I would never want to see any harm come to you & yours, regardless of what you believe in. It's not how human beings should treat one another. I donate to charities & volunteered in the past. Remember when I have helped you out, I have done it because I  consider you as equal a human being as I do myself. That you, regardless of what you believe, deserve love, good health, respect and human rights. I am sorry that the Catholic Pope has got it wrong about atheists & humanists, I hope this doesn't cause any bad feelings between us. Please know he is wrong because he has judged us all, when he doesn't know us all. Your atheist & humanist supporting friend, relative & fellow human being Claire x

Friday, 10 September 2010

Paul Dirac doodle 2

Just a quick and out of focus doodle of Paul Dirac, if I find a way of drawing him better I'll send him on adventures with my fave steampunk astrogirl. Who is a secret atm! But I've got picks of her drawn up.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Just a little resolve

It would be OK if everyday was normal,
Where independence was a natural occurrence,
Where people walk alone
& shop in the market
Without a need for another clinging to their pocket.

There are things so lost of healthy people
Like the freedom of choice & time
The freeness of dancing alone in a club,
To the freedom making words to rhyme

The reality:

Wanting to go & fix some caffeine
From a real coffee shop, from a real bean
Means waiting around until you can be wheeled,
To your destination in the urban field

For example, a trip to read books,
Can be lost on the non-dexterous
Or you need someone to look
Or some to carry & hold, such a fuss.

Off to the cinema
Where life is at best, a fix f' hypoglycaemia
Means a trip on the bus, did you get your right stop?
Did you fall when it wobbled?
Did you fit, did you flop?

Having someone around to help you to the show
Mean not getting lost or a sugar overdose
Means someone to hold you when you body ticks
Means someone to hold you when the bus kicks

(The time you have to bust a move
Becomes the time you have to bust your groove,
But don't let this get your down, Claire
You can sit & dance away in your chair.)

How to resolve:

They are times when you feel alone,
In the bad way when your pain has over grown.
But there are others going through the same
And enjoying your own company will keep you sane.

Instead of walks alone, the sweet silver song
Your carer, paid or otherwise, does not belong
In your thoughts, they are all yours to sing
Aloud and inside, & think your own thing.

You don't have to say a word
If you want the peace & quiet,
Mumble your needs to them
And no fuss or maddening riot.

Dreams of flying can be real
If you only stop and feel the breeze,
If you can't make it out that day
Open the window & breathe your cares away.

Maybe stop & dictate a poem
on your speech software & think, a-low-en.
Please embrace your talents, for knitting
Embrace the things that you can do sitting.

Dream wild dreams of letting go
& write/draw/read/sing & let it flow.
This is the best way to find YOU in your ability
Someone who helps you out is lessening your disability.

So grab for independence
It's OK if you need a hand,
Solitude around people
Can be found.

*songs I was inspired by today
R. Rogers/O. Hammerstein II - You'll Never Walk Alone
Foo Fighters -Resolve