In The Spotlight - Emily Nicole Roberts
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Dear Emma Heaven readers,
My name is Emily Nicole Roberts. I’m from Swansea in South Wales mush! Now that you know that, if it helps, you can read the rest of this article in my accent!
I’m 23 years old, but STILL think that a washing machine is automatic! In college I wouldn’t wear an outfit more than twice, because, “DURHHH people have already seen me in that mun!” I also used to think that speed bumps told blind people who were driving, to slow down in their cars…
Yeah. I know right?! Don’t ask!
I think it’s important to note here - though you’ve probably already noticed from the title photo - that I use a wheelchair in my everyday life.
*My friends and family will read that and sigh “yeah, we know”.
This is because I have a condition called Cerebral Palsy (CP). Embarrassingly enough, I had to learn more about CP, because a stranger once asked more questions about it that I couldn’t actually answer... *bit awks like*.
Point being, yes, I am disabled; but growing up, I was just a little girl who sat in a little wheelchair. To my parents, I was simply Emily Nicole, their daughter/diva hahaha!!
I remember my mum saying to me in my teens that “the world didn’t revolve around me”. And I was genuinely shocked and appalled.
In my eyes though, growing up with a disability? Well, I was just being myself and that involved wheeling around the house and not doing cartwheels.
See, my ‘disability’ is actually my ‘ability’, because it’s all I have ever known. Just like walking can be seen as innate to some, rolling down hills and struggling to get back up them is what everyday life is for me!!
My life has been plenty of things, but boring isn’t one of them…
From going to NOT wanting to look at your reflection in a mirror to posting Instagram pictures (that all look the same, let’s be honest) in a floor length is quite the leap… Metaphorically.
I went from ideas of self-loathing to self-love in about a year, although I still doubt myself and have MAJOR meltdowns thinking that my blonde hair looks far too brassy. Every. Other. Day. Sorry Mum!
The difference is, when growing up, I feared what a future as ‘the disabled girl’ would mean for me. My natural reaction was to hide away, and shy away from life because I felt worthless.
After all, the ‘teenage me’ didn’t want to live inside of her reality, a reality which she’d wrongly exaggerated as the ‘pits of hell’.
The adult me?
Hmmmm, I am loud, gobby, unapologetic, and POSITIVE.
Now, instead of worrying about what I can’t do, I make sure that I remember what I CAN do and then JUST DO IT. No, I’m not sponsored by Nike!
I bought a camera last year and decided to start filming my life, a bit like an influencer, but no, I didn’t want to encourage people to go vegan. At least not yet anyway…
I only want to be an influencer if I influence positive reform.
I wanted to - and still want to - encourage others AND myself to see our abilities.
Not being someone to do things by half, naturally this began by showing the World Wide Web the great things I COULD achieve, despite any preconceptions or stereotypes.
My disability is a HUGE part of my life; without it, I mean let's be fair here, I wouldn’t even be on YouTube, because quite honestly, my makeup skills are EMBARRASSING; but yeah, my ability is ALWAYS ALWAYS the focus.
I make videos that my ‘teenage self’ needed. Accessible, online content, to tell her that there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and SHOW her how to put jeans on without throwing them at the wall. Twice!
I have achieved SO much in the year when I became real and raw - both virtually and in reality.
In no particular order, *obvs*, I now create content for the BBC, I spoke to Greg James on Radio One last year, and Boris Johnson the British Prime Minister on Zoom last month.
This was a result of being myself, having a disability, and making sure that I live a great life, while empowering others to embrace themselves too.
I hate talking about myself because of my personal history with ego (hahaha) but I am SO grateful for every opportunity I’m given, such as this one, to change people’s minds about ‘people like me’ and themselves!!
We can achieve more than we realise: self-acceptance *for me*, and self-belief were just the last two pieces of my puzzle.
Remember that this life you’re living is yours, regardless of words or negativity that may be a stumbling block - only YOU can decide what YOUR jigsaw puzzle depicts in life.
As cheesy as it sounds, don’t let people put you in their ready made boxes.
Be loud, be proud; celebrate your victories and failures - anything and everything, because it’s YOURS.
Emily Nicole Roberts x
For more inspiration and entertainment, you can follow me on my social media platforms.
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