Get Ready for Face Equality Day!

Gender equality, race equality, disability rights, minority rights, etc., are all familiar concepts that inform the political, economic and social spheres of our society.

Few, however, have heard of Face Equality. That is about to change as Changing Faces, the UK’s leading charity for people with conditions or injuries that affect their appearance launches the UK’s first Face Equality Day on Friday 26 May 2017. Continue reading

A Very Bloody Breakfast

When I started blogging two years ago I vowed to post something here every Thursday without fail, and no matter what the circumstances I’ve kept that promise to myself.

This morning, as I was preparing breakfast for my daughters, I clumsily cut my finger with the breadknife.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I take blood-thinning medication, the cut wouldn’t have been much of an issue because it was small, albeit deep. As it was, blood gushed from my wounded finger, my vision blurred as the room started spinning uncontrollably.

“I’m fainting,” I whispered to my husband who’d just come into the kitchen.

“No, you’re not,” came his answer as he hurried to stem the blood, “but you’ve probably cut off a nerve ending, which is why it hurts so much.”

A few hours later, and with an industrial-strength combination of painkillers in my system, I managed to get myself out of bed and into the shower, but I am still feeling the throbbing pain in my finger and my nausea refuses to settle.

The blog post I’d planned for today will have to wait until my head stops spinning.

Suffice to say, I’ll be staying away from the kitchen knives for a while.




It’s Cleft Awareness Week (6-14 May), and I must confess that I’ve been a shamefully idle activist lately. I’ve been far too preoccupied with trying to find ways to stream episodes of the US TV series The Handmaid’s Tale (based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood) than working to raise awareness about cleft lip and palate.

Here in the UK, Cleft Awareness Week is organised primarily by the Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA), a national charity supporting people and families affected by cleft lip and palate, and it does a fabulous job. Continue reading

What ‘Born Whole’ Means in 2017

_dsc6313When I started this blog in June 2015, the aim was to raise awareness about what it’s like to live with a facial disfigurement and disability.

My core message was that we are all born whole, no matter what we look like, how many chromosomes we carry, our physical and intellectual limitations, etc.

Nearly two years on, I remain passionately committed to the original aim and message of the blog and yet world events as well as my experience of raising two strong-willed daughters of mixed heritage, compel me to broaden the range of topics I blog about.

Far from representing a departure from my initial ideas for this blog, I see the growing range of blog posts as an expansion that falls within the overall concept of born whole, for it’s a concept that is relevant not only for people with disfigurements or disabilities but everyone.

With the election of Donald Trump, the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the growing presence of far-right parties in mainstream European politics, racism, xenophobia and misogyny are becoming normalised.

As a result, we find ourselves living in an increasingly unpredictable and frightening world. Borders are closing, and the division between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is becoming sharper.

hand-1549136_640‘Born whole’ says that everyone’s life matters, whatever our nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, appearance and ability. Unfortunately, our societies appear to be moving away from what hard-won inclusion we’ve achieved, and towards intolerance and isolation.

Ultimately all kinds of xenophobia boil down to the same thing: fear and ignorance of those who are not like ourselves.  So, in whatever small way we can, we must all do our bit to fight that fear and ignorance, not with sticks and stones but with open hearts, open minds and a healthy dose of humility.

But to do so, we must become conscious of our own prejudices – we all carry some no matter how tolerant and accepting we believe ourselves to be – and work to break them down.

If we accept that everyone is born whole, then we must also accept that no one’s life is worth more than that of another human being.