I was so excited when I got a phone call asking if I would be interviewed for Sky News. The chance to talk about Cancer and Colostomy’s on actual real-life national news, yes please! The premiss behind the segment was looking at how social media gives people a chance to express what they are going through and interact with campaigns like Cancer Research UK‘s #NoMakeUpSelfie and Colitis UK & Bowel Cancer Research‘s #GetYourBellyOut. My part was recorded a few hours before through Skype (so clever) and inserted into the segment. I didn’t know which part of the interview they are going to include and a wide topic became quite a specific issue so I wanted to discus what they didn’t have time to show. Why Are Campaigns Such as ‘No Make-Up Selfie’ Amazeballs? I think one reason is the ability to engage with the charity. You can send a photo and the charity can post their own pictures like this one that Cancer Research posted on Facebook in March. I was fascinated to learn how the money raised was being spent. It’s an easy way to get involved and do something positive for charity. I am never going to run a marathon but I can take a photo, have a giggle and text donate £5 with minimal physical training required. It’s also a bit of fun. We are used to presenting our best-selves on social media, it’s fun seeing everyone strip that back and show it like it is. Why Use Social Media to Discuss Delicate Issues? When first having a colostomy I felt very isolated, ashamed and embarrassed. It is through speaking about it, explaining, hopefully educating and experiencing the lovely support from people, that I have become more accepting. Don’t get me wrong, I still get embarrassed but have decided rather than shrink away from the embarrassment to power through it and gain strength from it. I haven’t done a Colostomy-Selfie but for #GetYourBellyOut I posted this picture and donated. Even showing some scarring took a lot of courage and was a real break-through moment for me. What About the Poor People Who Don’t Want to See Colostomy’s? Ahh, those poor people, unable to scroll down or look away, must make life very difficult for them. Ok, seriously. Sky News asked this and it’s something I have seen people saying online. I understand not wanting to see it. I wouldn’t have wanted to see it before I had one and this is exactly why we need to see them. The more we see something the more normal it becomes. If people were posting pictures saying ‘look at me wearing glasses’ you would think, so what?! It’s only because traditionally ostomates have hidden their bags that it seems novel to see one. “Showing A Colostomy Doesn’t Change Anything?!” This is something I keep hearing and I couldn’t disagree more. I did touch on this in the interview. It has helped my confidence and acceptance hugely. It has given friends and family an insight into what it is and as a result they have been even more wonderful and supportive. And really it goes back to the point I just made about people having to get used to seeing ostomy’s. “Bethany Townsend only got this huge publicity because she’s pretty” I agree, but that is what makes it perfect. When I looked at her picture I thought,”wow she’s beautiful” and that’s the point. It is her beauty that you notice and the bag becomes inconsequential. It’s there and part of her but it’s not what defines her – her beauty and amazing figure do that. To be fair, I am sure there is a lot more to Bethany and she is defined by more than the way she looks. For me, Bethany’s bags not being what I was looking at was liberating in reminding me that I’m not defined by my bag either.
I find it hilarious that people can’t believe she’s pretty, like only ugly people get sick
Being pretty and having a colostomy aren’t mutually exclusive!
The BEST Thing About The Colostomy-Selfie That they have started these conversations. When else would a colostomy be discussed on Sky News? Or Facebook, Twitter, numerous blogs etc… Whether people like it or not and want to discuss it or not, it’s out there now and I am hoping this is a massive leap in the move to helping ostomy’s become a more understood and talked about, normal way of life. If you missed the segment on Sky News don’t panic you can watch it here…. It’s about 10 minutes in. Sky News – Digital Generation 13th July 2014 Shockingly no one recognised me walking down the street after it aired, guess I am a little way off TV superstar status my mother-in-law thinks I now have! 🙂 Please let me know what you think. Would you do it? Have you done it? Do you like / hate it? Click on comments and let me know. Follow this blog! Just add your email address and press FOLLOW, click on the email and you will get an update every time I post – it also gives me a warm glow when people follow, I genuinely love it! 🙂 You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.