Hashtag The Lips And How It Was Born
This is how it all began...
After leaving home at the age of 24, having rehabilitated myself after becoming a partially sighted human at the age of 23, I had no idea about the barriers I would have to face in the world alone just to survive as a new “caner” never mind anything else. I realised very quickly that everything was built for people who have perfect bodies which, we all know is not real.
Even council systems…
Everything I tried to do involved having to break down a door or several to get to the end goal. They say the devil is in the detail and the ironic thing is, when one can’t see, one sees all the detail in its full glory. Getting from A to B proved to be very challenging.
From simply trying to top up a phone, (automated system too fast and of course humans can’t take payment instead for various reasons), payment systems, forms, (everything had to be done online, except everything online wasn't accessible), street lighting (when changed in various cities was too dim), cash machines (screens too faint), are you a robot picture squares on google systems, and on and on and on it went. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Every single week, I would find myself having to speak to companies about their system not being accessible, or something not being accessible to make things equal for people with sight impairment. Over the years if I was being paid for everything I would probably have raked in quite a fortune by now. What I started to realise though is that everything was becoming too heavy.
Instead of simply just living my life as an independent individual, I found that simply having to break through these barriers was my life. All this, and through no choice of my own. Because I was having to live through other peoples ideals and beliefs of how things should be billed I became really depressed and on several occasions just wanted to give up. Never mind trying to pursue an acting and singing career (easy being on a stage). I’m a great believer in energy work and realised that I didn’t want this to become a negative thing and was trying to think of ways in which I could turn this into a positive.
Rockstar and waitress
One evening I was in Edinburgh after having finished my album “Something I Couldn’t Say” and having just finished a gig, I was out with a friend to celebrate. I’d had a few drinks and was back to delete and very bold. I reapplied my red lipstick and blotted it on the napkin. As I was leaving, the waitress came up to me and said
“Have you enjoyed your meal?”
“It was fabulous darling, and your service was excellent, have a pair of lips as a thank you.”
My friend pulled a CD out of his pocket, showed it to the waitress and said to her “She is a really famous rockstar so you want to frame those.” The waitress gasped in disbelief and turned to her colleagues to show them the napkin - they all looked over and whispered towards me and smiled. I swaggered out with my friend very pleased with myself.
I realised that if these lips cause that reaction, then maybe I could #spreadthelove… I decided that for any company, person, he makes life “equal“ in any way shape or form for sight impaired people (i.e. making the booking system accessible with screen readers, or finding an alternative method to help, changing the websites to become accessible to screen readers so that everyone in the world could use them and, being equal customers, then they would be awarded “the lips.” So rather than having to become a professional complainer, love and equality was being spread around the globe instead!
Thankfully after years, things are slowly changing but If you feel a company has gone the extra mile to make you feel like you’re an equal human in any way shape or form to
accommodate site pick ups please feel free to spread the love and tweets, Facebook, Instagram, a pair of lips naming the company or person loud and proud. You can find a pair of downloadable lips at the bottom of this blog. Please remember to use #TheLips on your post, and #canerevolution.
Also, if you feel they deserve to be held up in the #Heroes Hall of Fame, please email us your story and the lips you have sent to the company and we will put them in and show them off for you.