It’s the last day of May, the sun has finally joined us (in England, UK anyway) and I have a great new Twenty Questions for you.
In fact this person is so great that I’d assumed I had already interviewed her moons ago when this series first started. Apparently I hadn’t, so you’re in for a treat today.
I ‘met’ Caz at InvisiblyMe early into my blogging adventures and instantly felt I’d found a new ally. Her dark humour and witty sarcasm are the main qualities I look for in a friend.
We also both had red hair. Destiny really.
My Questions/Caz’s Answers
1. What made you decide to write a blog?
I was too tired to try scuba diving or swimming with sharks so I figured I’d give blogging a go instead. Actually, it was shortly after my first stoma surgery, which was my third big operation. I was feeling a bit lost, having been let go from the job I loved because of ongoing surgeries and finding my social life had totally evaporated. I wanted to share my experiences because I’d been so encouraged by reading the experiences of others. I wanted to say I’d tried; I never thought I’d manage more than 2 weeks let alone a few years, so I’m as surprised as the next person that I’m still blogging now and boring the socks off my readers.
2. What do you want your blog to achieve?
I want to achieve a few things, though whether I even come close to any of them is another matter. I want to raise awareness, particularly of chronic illness, invisible disabilities and chronic pain. I want to encourage living as best as we can whatever our health, by focusing on the things that we can do rather than the things that we can’t. I want to cultivate a sense of community while offering a bit of support and advice.
3. What is the most difficult thing for you about having a disability?
Tricky question because I find quite a few things difficult. Invisible conditions can be challenging when you feel others don’t understand or uneven believe you; years of being fobbed off by doctors and specialists, years spent starting to doubt myself, took a toll. It’s years of wondering whether everyone looks at me and thinks I’m a lazy waste of space. We know how we feel and that there’s something wrong with our health, but when it’s not immediately obvious to the eyes of others, we can be faced with ignorance, misunderstanding, prejudice and stigma, whether that’s in society, in our relationships, our families, employment or with medical professionals.
4. What is the biggest positive about having a disability?
The kick-ass online chronic illness and disability community, which has been absolutely priceless. It sounds like a mushy cliché, but I’ll be eternally grateful for the amazing people I’ve met online and the friends I’ve made.
5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Chocolate. But the back-up plan would be potato because that’s a multi-purpose cheat that allows for mashed potatoes, crisps and chips forever more. Is that my tummy growling?
6. An apocalypse is imminent, you have 30 minutes to prepare, what 3 items do you pack?
Are you kidding me? I rush to A&E in minutes with my small bowel twisted and I still manage to pack 101 items in a rucksack that looks prepared to spend a month in the Himalayas. I do, of course, always forget my glasses, inhalers and other truly essential things. I guess tech would be out of the question because there’ll be no electricity or WiFi, unless the zombies can work the phone lines.
1. Stoma bags. Not having those would be the real apocalypse. 2. A big bag (of potatoes). 3. A big box (of books).
7. When making tea would you pour the milk or water in first?
I stopping taking milk in my tea when I was 19 and worked in the US for 6 weeks. We had these packets of fake milk that curdled, smelled funny and sat on the drink like pond scum, so those put me off for life. Prior to this I used to have a trowel-load of sugar and ample milk. Water always goes in first. Isn’t this featured in the law somewhere, under ‘respecting the prestigious nature of tea”?
8. What is your favourite way to relax?
Snuggling up with a blanket, cuppa tea, chocolate and a good book. Heaven.
9. If you could interview any human, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?
Kurt Cobain. Let’s end the conspiracy theories once and for all. Did you really commit suicide? While we’re at it, we should probably check in with Elvis and make sure he’s not still roaming the beaches in the Bahamas with a beard and sun hat.
10. What would be your dream job?
A badass FBI agent, but I’m not an American. More realistically, I’d always hoped to use my self-taught Psychology degree to become a Clinical Psychologist. That’s not going to happen now because of my health, so that’s been regulated to Dream Job territory. I’m going to have to start signing my name Caz BSc MSc DPsych WbE (wannabe).
11. You’ve just won 10 million pounds (congratulations!), what 3 things would you do with the money?
1. Move home so my folks can live somewhere more comfortable and pleasant. I’d also like the house to be bigger, partly for the ridiculous amount of medical supplies and partly for the golden retriever I’ve wanted for years now. My cat won’t be happy, but I’ll be delirious.
2. Get the surgery I’ve been waiting a few years for done privately before it’s too late.
3. Launch a political campaign to become the next Prime Minister so I can sort out the NHS, benefits system and widening inequality. Apparently it costs £2.6 million to paint the walls blue and hang some flags, so I imagine just making my flyers could easily run into the six figures.
12. Where in the world would you most like to visit and why?
Japan – I used to talk of wanting to go as a teenager for the culture, aesthetic beauty and history. Thank goodness for technology because the closest I’ll probably ever get now is walking it on Google Maps.
13. What one thing would you change about yourself?
I’d like to stress less. It only became a problem when my health really tanked in 2015; in came guilt and tidal waves of anxiety as my stress levels went off the Richter scale. The more I have to do, the worse it gets; I’m not well enough to get it all done so I’m always falling behind and the stress cycle continues. A more realistic change is probably new teeth. I’d love some new choppers that are straight and a little whiter so I can finally smile properly in a photo and not gurn with my lips closed.
14. If you could play any part in a film, past or future, real or fiction, who would you be?
Wonder Woman, but that’s less about playing the part than actually just being her. When I’m feeling particularly weak and poorly, I like the idea of being this strong, capable woman of unnatural proportions who’s fit, robust and healthy. The bigger boobs and thicker hair wouldn’t go amiss either.
15. If there was a pill that would freeze you at your current age and you could live forever as you are now, would you take it? And why?
Hell no. I feel like my life has passed me by and I desperately want to go back to before my health went so far down the metaphorical toilet. There’s nothing wrong with being 32 though, even though life is rather different to what I’d ever expected. The problem is just that my health is worse than ever at this moment. Then again, I’m sure I could look back at this in 5 years and say “oooh, I wish I were 32 again”!
16. If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?
Tricky one. Maybe Angelina Jolie before her never-ending divorce. I admire her as an interesting, intelligent and powerful woman with talent and a kind spirit when it comes to world matters. At least, that’s what I imagine her being like but I’ve never had a cuppa with her or bumped into her in Sainsbury’s. And it wouldn’t have been bad if I’d had to spend the day with Mr Brad Pitt either. You know, if I really had to.
17. If you could time travel, where would you go?
Either the 80s for the awesome cheesy music, or the swinging 60s for the funky flares, platforms and free love, baby!
18. If you were made Queen and allowed to pass one new law, what would it be, and why?
Fully free, open access, available-to-all healthcare. No hoops to jump through, no postcode lotteries, no limits on tests and treatments. Every single person in this world should have the healthcare they need. No higher powers should get to dictate who gets helped and who doesn’t.
19. What personal trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
Being so boring – I get into trouble answering these kinds of questions! At least I probably help a few folks overcome insomnia by sending them to sleep with the drivel I write.
20. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
An FBI agent. My parents let me watch too many episodes of the FBI Files and countless horror films as a young child. But I turned out all right, I think. I am obsessed with American crime thrillers when it comes to books and TV though, and I do own an FBI baseball cap, still secretly yearning to be an agent.
Oh Caz you have explained those long life milk cartons perfectly! When the fridge at Art School broke I resorted to black tea, but I’m back on the milk now. Just a dash though.
Also, let’s set up a little detectives agency. I’ll be your Watson. Or Robin if we’re going undercover.
Thank you Caz for a thoroughly entertaining interview. One day we should have a real cuppa together over a nice long rant about the world.
Caz is a UK-based blogger & freelance writer living with multiple chronic illnesses and chronic pain. She’s also
chronically boring an awesome badass, but she enjoys the small pleasures in her days like reading, snuggles with her cat & ridiculous amounts of tea.
If you’re a bit nosy like me you can catch up with my precious Twenty Questions.