Or, otherwise entitled
I’m probably going to have another rant…sorry!
Acronym for ‘not in my back yard’
“A person who objects to the siting of something perceived as unpleasant or hazardous in their own neighbourhood…”
Source: Erm, can’t remember, but it’s somewhere on the internet (obviously!)
Blimey, this journey of ours is one humongous learning curve!
We all know that people ‘turn’ when things don’t go their way. We’ve probably done it ourselves at some point too. However, I never anticipated discovering another darker, more disturbing side to people….and I want to share this with you, as it doesn’t get much press.
And that’s NIMBYISM.
But specifically the NIMBYISM that may affect Special Families, just like ours.
At one time, we assumed we had a relatively cordial relationship with all of our neighbours around Broccoli HQ.
Erm…seemingly, not so anymore!
Many of you’ll already know about our experiences, so you’ll know it was unpleasant then and, two years on, we continue to experience hostility and some behaviours which could very easily be deemed as domineering.
I’ll never forgive. I’ll never forget. But I categorically refuse to allow this to eat me up.
(n.b. All the rest of our neighbours have been absolutely amazing and incredibly supportive. This ‘issue’ just relates to one household – but there’s usually always ‘one’, isn’t there? *sighs*)
Anyway, our experience all started with a much needed ground floor bathroom for Hannah…
Broccoli HQ is a ‘compact’ (ok, small) residence and it just wasn’t fit to meet Hannah’s needs. So, our local authority offered to help us out by building a ground floor extension.
…and what a relief that was. I was suffering with chronic back and pelvic pain as a result of all the physical care I was providing and wasn’t sure how much longer I could go on.
Numerous professionals, including an occupational therapist and architect liaised closely to ensure the extension would be fit for purpose – both now and in the future – including where it would be sited on the ground floor.
But this room wasn’t going to be featured in some swanky magazine. It wasn’t going to be a luxury Ayurvedic spa. Oh, no siree! We weren’t having a fountain in the middle of the room spurting a constant supply of chilled champagne (sadly!). There’d be no peacocks wearing golden necklaces leisurely strutting around the place, or lady attendants providing warm towels and spraying fancy fragrances as you entered.
Nope. This room would house un-frilly, not particularly aesthetically pleasing, big stuff – like a changing table, shower chair, special potty chair and a toilet that would wash and dry the nether regions of a grown up girl who, maybe, wouldn’t be able to attend to her own personal hygiene needs in the future.
In addition, all health and safety aspects required consideration – which included escape routes/wheelchair access/fire protection. The plans were drawn up, submitted for approval and dispersed throughout the neighbourhood. Everything was decided for us and was within the law.
There’s often a ‘but’ isn’t there?
The plans were opposed by one household.
Oh, they weren’t happy at all. They had a right sulk. This new ‘thing’ simply wasn’t acceptable…and certainly not in their back yard!
Well, actually, it wasn’t IN their back yard. But you get my drift, right?
This opposition was softened by stating that we could have the extension (gee, thanks, TOO kind!), but nowhere near them.
Erm, well, actually, there wasn’t another option, as this would’ve meant rebuilding the entire house!
Dur! *rolls eyes at the stupidity*
But after a stressful period of anticipation, the opposition was completely overruled and building commenced.
But, let’s get some perspective here. In the grand scheme of things, this stuff REALLY shouldn’t matter, should it? We’ve been through FAR worse than dealing with piffy little things/people like this. Nevertheless, it hurt. Actually, it hurt a lot. I perceived this as blatant discrimination against my child…my vulnerable little girl who never asked for anything, but needed much. Thankfully, she was (and is) blissfully unaware of all the toxicity and resentment oozing through our walls.
But what I want you, Dear Reader, to know is, that our case isn’t an isolated one.
I’ve learned that it’s happening all over the place.
We know this because our builder shared his experiences. He’s completed countless bathroom extensions for disabled children and adults and witnessed a plethora of discord and opposition…and just general nastiness.
We know this because others have shared their experiences or those of people they know.
We know this because professionals have informed us that people just don’t get ‘it’ and objections/conflict/even jealousy! ought to be anticipated.
And if it’s happening in our area, it must be happening in others.
Now isn’t that sad?
Whatever happened to compassion, to humility, to tolerance, to empathy?
So, that said, here’s my response to all the NIMBY’s out there:
- I don’t know of any Special Families who want to rile or upset their neighbours. Not one. They actually have FAR more important things to be getting on with than having to deal with the likes of you.
- I don’t know of any Special Families who really desire this kind of extension to their home…this is a necessity, not a frilly luxury. Its aim is to meet the most basic needs of people and their carers– to be as safe as possible in an environment (THEIR OWN HOME!) where one can bathe/be bathed, can brush their teeth, can wash their hair comfortably, can have their nappy or pads changed, can use the loo.
Now, NIMBY, answer me this: Doesn’t EVERYONE have that basic right?
- Through your actions, do you take pride in knowing what you may have done to someone more vulnerable than you? Have you gloated? If so, shame on you. Really. SHAME. ON. YOU!
- I’ve always been comfortable with change. In life, change is inevitable. However, many people just don’t ‘do’ change. Change is an unacceptable, alien concept. Change is something to stridently oppose…just because. And you’re probably one of those people. But, by adding an extension to one’s home, we’re not encroaching on anyone’s land. Sure, we may change someone’s view if our houses are squashed together, but we should never, EVER be made to feel like we have to explain or apologise for our children having the things they NEED.
- Try carrying a child who throws herself backwards, with force, spontaneously, up and down the stairs, repeatedly, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Try not falling down the stairs whilst doing this. Try, whilst on your hands and knees, changing their nappy on a hard bathroom floor for YEARS. Try washing a resistant (and very strong!) child’s hair – the only way being by resting their head on the lip of the shower cubicle whilst ensuring they don’t wriggle too much and bang or cut their head. Try lifting a dead weight in and out of a bath, twice daily. Try this, just like I did for years and probably many, many other families just like ours do and will do. Then come back to me and we’ll have a chat to see how you got on.
- Special families have enough to cope with 24/7, 365. They really don’t need the aggro of sulky/abusive/rude/difficult neighbours. They may actually find it quite unpalatable to hear your voice over the garden fence, bragging to your friends or family that you know of someone who “got one of these overturned” and you’ll be doing the same. As far as I know, most Special Families just want to get on with their lives in peace and the very best way that they can.
Oh, and just to conclude dear NIMBY, I strongly suggest you don’t snigger at our plights too much – be aware that karma is an extremely powerful thing. I sincerely hope that one day, you or your loved ones never have to have “one of these” built or require specialist equipment or adapted rooms due to an acquired disability, cancer, chronic ill health or old age.
…but you may do!
And, when that time comes, I really hope that YOUR neighbours have more compassion than you ever did.
Let’s see, eh?
Suck it up buttercup!!!!!!
So, that’s just about it, my lovelies.
Blimey, I got all serious again, didn’t I? Oh, but writing this felt SO GOOD! 🙂
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.
“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”
Until next time
This post is dedicated to all the professionals who supported us through this experience. Thank you!