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Guest post: The time I complained to Amazon, and it made me feel like I could take on the world!
In a nutshell:I'm 28, with spinal and mobility issues – missed delivery – gone to neighbour – struggled with big box – pain – only tiny rosette inside – shock – annoyed – recycled - laid down – complained on Facebook - reporter got in touch – became national news online - lovely messages - happy- few negative ones - bit upset - got over it - determined to make something positive come from it all - laid down again – Scope guest blog – what the heck?!
A little context...
In brief, I have several serious spinal issues. I have always had back problems, but it became life changing when I suffered something called Cauda Equina in 2012. Since then I’ve had neurological damage to differing degrees. My legs can give way at any moment, and occasionally I can't move them at all. They can shake uncontrollably, and it usually occurs when I'm in a lot of pain. Sometimes I use a wheelchair, but I use the crutches as much as I can. Pain is a major symptom of spinal cord compressions, and having degenerative conditions. Basically, it sucks!
I find this all kind of embarrassing to talk about, but I'm trying to be open, and share my reality with you. I also experience incontinence issues and have to self-catheterize.
I suffer with anxiety and panic attacks too. These tend to rear their ugly heads when I go out somewhere. I've had so many experiences of falls or wetting myself in public places (cringe), that I get real anxiety when I have to push myself into those situations again. But it doesn't stop me from trying, and it never will!
But no need to feel sorry for me! I'm a tough cookie!
I'm hoping you don't think I’m complaining, or wanting sympathy. I’m simply listing the facts.
My family have supported and loved me, even when I've been fairly paranoid and cranky. I have seven nephews and nieces, who have been my salvation and my reason for living. Even if I couldn't do the things I could do before, like dance, my job or my university course, my role as Aunty has never changed. And without my mum I don’t know how I would have coped throughout these four years. I think she's pretty awesome, if not the most awesome person in the world!
I also have my beautiful friends who are most certainly my chosen family. I am so thankful to them just for being who they are, because in doing so they have made my life full of joy.
So, what's all the fuss about this cardboard box?
Basically, I bought a ‘Dad to be’ rosette for my friend from Amazon. The delivery went to a neighbour. I had to struggle to get it home, and it caused me a lot of pain because of the sheer size of it.
When I saw it was just the rosette inside, I couldn't believe it. The pain had been for something that could have easily been posted through the door. I thought about how someone else in a similar position would have felt, if the box had gone back to the delivery office, and they had to go collect it. The planning that would be involved to make that journey, the pain, time wasted, and then the eventual disappointment and absolute disbelief at what was inside.
How did it make national news?
I hate complaining. I hate confrontation, I hate negativity and I hate using the word hate, ironically! But I felt I would be letting myself down if I didn't make them aware of it.
I explained to Amazon I was worried about the excessive packaging they used, and how detrimental this is to the environment, especially because some people don’t recycle. I also made them aware about the complications it caused me, as someone with mobility issues. The next day, a reporter got in touch and said there could be interest in my story.
Am I glad I did the interview?
I have to admit to you, my anxiety kicked in a little. But I felt that if my story could open up some sort of constructive dialogue about excessive packaging, the environment and disability then it would be worth my slight embarrassment about sharing a picture of myself, or being categorized as a 'disabled woman'. It was a good job I considered it first because the tag line for a couple of the stories read, “Catrina Farnell, disabled woman, shops a lot online.” Great, that's exactly how I want to be described nationally, for the entire world to see! Not!
The positive messages were by far the best thing to come out of the whole experience, but the negative ones were a little harder to take. I tried to correct any misinformation, and just ignore any negative opinions, because the beauty of living in this country is that everyone is allowed the luxury of free speech (see, I'm already seeing the positive side)!
Time to get real: life before, and life after, the box...
This is probably the hardest paragraph for me to write. For the past four years one of the biggest anxieties that I have faced was the fact that I felt I could no longer make the world a better place, like I had nothing to offer. I've felt less confident and a bit of a failure, if I'm being perfectly frank. I'm very aware that I'm 28 and all I want is to do is something that helps others, but without the knowledge of how to do it, I have felt really rather frustrated. I didn't want my disability to mean the end of me being who I am, but in a way, I let it be. So I am really hoping that I can turn this into something really constructive and it might give me opportunities that otherwise would never have come my way, in order to help others. Maybe starting here on this community!
Thank you, yes you who's reading this!
I hope my weird, funny story inspires you to stand up for something if you think it is wrong, and if you get grief for it - contact me, I've got your back!
If you identify with the kind of feelings that I have experienced, please take notice of this. The one thing we can always count on is change, we can choose to make it a positive one. Those insecurities will subside, eventually, and if we channel our energies into something beneficial to others, I truly believe that we can make anything happen.
Have you got an experience you’d like to share with me? Have you made a small positive change somehow? I’d love to chat!