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Words Are My Wings…

December 19th, 2014

Sarabjit-Parmar-cover Writing has saved my life in a way no one could imagine. The day I was born I was just the same as every other baby. Kicked, screamed, cried and crawled. But one thing was puzzling, you could never tell when I was happy or sad because I never smiled, frowned or articulated any facial expressions. When I learned to talk, my speech was also unclear.

Throughout my childhood I saw many specialists who were also baffled by my condition. After many tests, at eight years of age, I was diagnosed with Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease that affects approximately one in every 20,000. My parents were warned that my condition would deteriorate and I would eventually need a wheelchair. I carried on with life as normally as I could, even though I knew I was different.

At eleven years of age I developed scoliosis (curvature of the spine) leading to me walking with a limp. Soon my ability to walk greatly decreased and I used to randomly fall. It was age fourteen when my whole life was turned upside down – I became wheelchair bound. This was the toughest battle I have ever faced. I lost my friends, extended family members treated me like an invalid, and days became hard to get through. For a while I became angry; I threw myself into writing poetry, at least this way I could express my feelings. From that day on whether it was writing stories, articles or poetry, words became my wings.

After completing a comprehensive writing course with the Writer’s Bureau, in 2007 I attended university (for three years) in a different town – Derby. It took a daily two-hour taxi commute. Some days I would have to be awake at 6am and be ready by 7am for the cab waiting at my door.

University is a challenge in anyone’s life, but for me, it was an even bigger challenge. Here I was in a town I didn’t know with people I’d never met. What if no one understood my speech? What if people thought I was a horrible person because I couldn’t return their smile? What if people saw my wheelchair but not the person in it? Still, I fearlessly battled my way through each obstacle, managed to overcome every challenge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Writing and Creative Writing.

In my final year at university, I wrote a daily diary of the highs, lows, ups, downs, good days, bad days etc. This resulted in a 50,000 word manuscript, entitled Climbing Mountains: My Final Year at the University of Derby. After many, many rejections, this book was accepted by a USA publisher and has now been published – the ultimate dream has come true, I’m a published author.

In the face of my extreme adversities: if I can chase my writing dreams and make them happen, why can’t you?

 

Climbing Mountains by Sarabjit Parmar is available to purchase from Amazon

 

 

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