Everyone has the Right to an Ordinary Life

Everyone ha​s the right to an ordinary life (and opportunity to do extraordinary things) by Pete Richmond.

Some people seem to be weighed down by stories about them that they don’t own or recognise. If we accept that our values and sense of identity are tied up with the stories we have been told and the stories we have made for ourselves, imagine if your input was secondary to others? Surely having control over one’s own story is fundamental to having real control about what happens in our lives?

We are all sometimes characterised by labels we haven’t chosen. Some people may happily identify themselves as a “job seeker” or a “hard working tax payer”, but I’d hazard a guess that most wouldn’t choose either term to define themselves.

A common denominator in high profile abuse cases often seems to be a label overriding other aspects of a person’s life. Categories like “autistic” and “challenging” become a defining feature resulting in people being placed in specialist facilities. The enquiry into Winterbourne View dedicated a lot of time investigating people’s stories.

On poorly investigated unexpected deaths in care institutions has highlighted how having a disability or specific mental health needs can appear to make some lives less valuable than others. Having one’s own story (not merely case records) affect how we think, feel and act. Who we think we are and who we think other people are, is dependent on the stories we have been told and the stories we have made ourselves. Our presentation, shared some of our experiences of supporting people to live the lives they choose and who see their human rights as paramount.