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  • Writer's picturePeta

Thank you - Highlights of 2021

Today 's episode is just SOME of the best moments of The I Can't Stand Podcast in 2021.

If you have missed an episode, scroll back in your podcast feed. There is over 50 episodes to choose from.

Thank you everyone for lending me your ears and listening to my and other disabled voices. I appreciate you so much. 😘

The pod will be back in 2022!! 💫

Episodes mentioned in this episode:

You can ask Peta a question for a future episode of the podcast via:

Instagram @petahooke


Episode Transcript:

Peta [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the I Can't Stand podcast, the podcast, answering your questions about what life is like when you have a disability. My name is Peta and I'm your host. I have cerebral palsy and I love to answer your questions. This is the last episode for 2021. I want to thank you all for your support. The podcast has truly changed my life. It wasn't so long ago that people with disabilities had no ability to share their knowledge and experience. I am so privileged and excited to have been able to do that with you this year, 2021. Whether you've been here from the very start or this is your first episode. Thank you for listening and listening to a disabled voice. I really, truly appreciate it more than you can imagine. If you'd like to ask a question for it to feature on the podcast in 2022, there are three ways you can contact me. One via email at To find my website, All three by Instagram. Please stay DM me. My handle is @PetaHooke. What were the best moments in 2021? Let's find out, shall we? Without any further ado, the last time in 2021? Let's get into it.

Peta [00:02:00] As Maria von Trapp in the Sound of Music would say, let's start from the very beginning. Why I never leave home without lipstick. And if that wasn't bad enough. The lady asked me the question. So. What's wrong with you then? Despite me being used to this question. It still does hurt, but I didn't flinch. I said nothing.

Peta [00:02:38] I have to say I pinch myself when this person said yes to coming onto my podcast. May introduce me to. Carly Findlay.

Carly [00:02:51] You know, I don't think that we should only be fed inspiration porn, which is the objectification of disabled people for non-disabled people, but I also feel like there needs to be some joyous stories. It doesn't always need to be that reinforcement of negative stereotypes to prove discrimination. And I do wonder just how far we've come when we're constantly needing to trade in our trauma.

Peta [00:03:22] Then I got to speak to the superwoman that is Elle Steele. A former Paralympian and now a woman kicking butt in business.

Elle [00:03:36] It gave me such kind of insight into the fact that I wasn't the only person in the world for disability with a disability. It was such a beautiful kind of realisation that I could achieve something really amazing in my life despite my disability. And so the sport really helped with my physical abilities and I got a lot stronger. So I had less pain in those early years, and it was a really beautiful kind of relationship I had with sport and being fit and my disability. We kind of coexisted all together in this beautiful mush of happiness.

Peta [00:04:15] As I continued on throughout this year, I realised that I must speak about. A portion of the disability community that is often forgotten. What is it like to have a hidden or invisible disability? Because people with invisible disabilities are constantly being questioned about whether their disability is real or imagined and that they in fact have a disability. I believe that there is a lot of imposter syndrome going on. I hope many of you understand where I'm coming from when I say. The hardest part about my disability really has nothing to do with the fact that I can't walk, stand or transfer. I mean, yeah, it's really annoying and if I could change it, I would, but. In actuality, the hardest thing is often the fatigue, the pain, the lack of toilet access, the discrimination and the low expectations society has for me. All those I've just rattled off to you are my invisible disabilities. I think every person with a disability has invisible elements to their disability. So just because a person doesn't have obvious aspects of their disability does not devalue their disabled ness.

Peta [00:05:57] Gaining secure employment can be very difficult when you have a disability. And I'm no different. I started to apply for jobs, and I was quite happy to see that at the bottom of some job ads mentioned something about diversity and inclusion in their workplace. So I thought great. I don't mind if I'm taking a box. Even if it's a little bit tokenistic, as long as I get in front of someone and I get to speak to them both and realise I have value and I might hire me. Unfortunately, I came to realise that diversity didn't include disability in employees minds. All I seem to collect was thank you, but no thank you letters. The conversation that I had with Lisa Cox was so uplifting and fulfilling.

Lisa [00:07:03] I'm sorry, bloody grateful every day it would just be hard to be alive because I died twice in hospital or my parents were told they might have my life support site. It is a gift to me to be alive. The fact that I can I can use my voice to advocate for people who perhaps can't advocate for themselves. And the fact that I can I can use my voice in that way. I still write and speak. When I first came out of the coma, I had to point out a board of letters to speak because I couldn't speak. And that was how it communicated. So the fact that I can even be here today. That's pretty bloody awesome.

Peta [00:07:51] Back in September, I was so thrilled to be able to share a different perspective of disability that is often not thought of, that is what is it like to be a father of somebody with a disability? Over to my dad, Clive. Do you think you had lower expectations on me because of my disability?

Clive (Peta's Dad) [00:08:16] No, I I no, I don't. I think the expectations would be that you can achieve whatever you can achieve to the best of your ability. So I never set in my mind limits to what that would be. And as you developed and matured, you keep adjusting that bar to push yourself a little bit further.

Peta [00:08:48] The universe has such a funny sense of humour. None more than a story I tell you here. The time that I got rescued from a library. Unfortunately, though, the head librarian came up to me and said, Hi, hi. I've just called the fire brigade and they're going to come and help. And time thinking, of course, because I always do. Oh, maybe this is the universe and the love of my life is going to present himself and he's going to be in a big fire engine and he's going to be gorgeous. A course that didn't happen because my life isn't a romantic comedy. What does the fire brigade do, list it as a rescue on the emergency app and have full lights and sirens? Yeah, quite cool. Awesome. Six lovely books came and they were not. Love of my life, unfortunately, they all had wives and became clear that I was going to be rescued in a library.

Peta [00:10:03] My next guest had a really unique perspective on disability. Having gained her disability through a car accident, she was determined to maintain her self-identity, it is becoming disabled, affect someone when they're used to being in control. So much so they're a black belt.

Linda [00:10:31] I realised that unless I could figure out how to walk normally again, that I would spend the rest of my life in terrible pain and just have surgery after surgery because I would wear out the joints because I had this terrible walk. Wasn't enough for me to have this rehab plan, I had to figure out how to get my foot to strike the ground from heel to toe. And I knew intellectually how to do it, but I couldn't do it physically. So I started building myself a cane that would allow my foot together with the cane, but really learn how to strike the ground from heel to toe. And I built myself this cane, and then I started writing my patents. And then when I finally did learn how to walk normally again, the same doctors that had told me in the beginning that I had unreasonably unreasonable expectations in regard to my long term prognosis started calling me a medical marvel. And I would say, You know what? I'm not a medical marvel. I'm just really well-trained in what I do, and I understand that Hannah had a mobility device that had kept my body vertically aligned instead of hunched over or leaned on to that I would never have become so disabled.

Peta [00:12:00] When I was asked to speak about ableism, I was a little bit intimidated. I'm pretty proud of that episode sitting here now. But I have to admit, even to me, I'm still working on my inherent ableism. So let me give you some examples of what ableism is. First of all, it's language and this is where I probably need to do some improvement in myself. They're common phrases that many of us use in our day to day conversations that may not be directed towards people with disabilities, but they are negative connotations about how we feel about life, for example. Turning a blind eye. Seems like a pretty innocuous statement, right? But many people in the vision-impaired community find this a very derogatory statement because to them, being blind or having vision impairment isn't inherently awful, but the phrase turning a blind eye itself has negative connotations. How many times do you read in the newspaper that a government is turning a blind eye to a particular issue? It's always spoken about in negative connotations, and that is at the heart of what ableism is in language. It's using phrases that the disability community doesn't necessarily consider to be a negative. But the interpretation of the general population is negative.

Peta [00:13:49] And because it's all been a bit serious for the last couple of minutes, me being me, I had to include one of my favourite episodes. What is it like to be drunk when you have a disability? Well, I illustrated that to you while getting drunk on mic.

Peta [00:14:13] Well, cheers, everyone, I'm about to become drunk, Peta. Full, full, very decent mouthfuls in. And I'm already starting to feel it. I've had quite a big day and when I'm tired, I get drunk quicker, so this will be efficient. All right.

Peta [00:14:42] I've just really scowled and I just say encourage everybody for responsible drinking right now. But my version of responsible drinking is not drinking, but when I drink or the thing he calls the kid, go through the pope, well, at least I'm consistent.

Peta [00:15:08] So what is it like to be a mother and your child has a disability? Were you nervous when I started kindergarten, as far as how the other mothers would approach you like, did you get the 'petty look'? It's like, Oh, she's the one with the disabled child, poor thing.

Lorraine (Peta's Mum) [00:15:30] When you got to go to kindergarten, you were so confident you were the one that was taking off in the cable car and all the kids were outside crying and the mothers were hanging on to them. You didn't want me at all, so I didn't find that at all. With the parents, the difficult times were, you got us invited to parties. I had to go along because obviously, I had to lift you on and off seats and do things like that. And that was always difficult because I was the odd mother out at lots of times with the person having the party and people not understanding why you needed to come. Yes. And also to, you know, every time Peta got a party at a park, it was just, oh my gosh, it was horrendous because then I was lifting up on and off play equipment the whole time as well. She had an electric wheelchair when she was five from the top five. Yeah, so that made a huge difference. But yeah, up until the time we got the electric wheelchair, it was pretty hard work.

Peta [00:16:32] Now it's time to hand over to one of the strongest voices in the disability community. It was such a privilege to speak to Senator Jordon Steele-John.

Jordon [00:16:45] And I physically are inaccessible place in space, digitally inaccessible place and space is a form of discrimination. Yes, and it results in. And I say this absolutely knowing the meaning behind it if it results in a form of cultural and social apartheid. Let us just think for a moment if every building without wheelchair access instead of being, you know or as well as being neutral and accessible, also had a sign that said no blacks allowed. Because that's what it that's what it is for us, right? It says you are not welcome in here. In fact, you cannot come in here alone if you welcome or maybe use the back door, you know, or maybe we'll just put you in a special area. Yes. And that not only feels like. It also narrows our job optimisation, narrows our social opportunities. Over the last ten years, something like four per cent, the housing stock building in Australia has been accessible, meaning that it limits our ability to buy a home or to find a way to live themselves sensible and inclusive. But it also means that it makes it difficult for us to, you know, get around to our main place and have a drink on a Friday.

Peta [00:18:10] I wasn't planning on doing the next episode, but. By demand on my Instagram, I spoke about what it was like for me at school. Looking back, I don't think I advocated for myself very well during high school. I didn't want to rock the boat. I didn't want to be different. A lot of people in my family went to my school and I didn't want to be the exception. Just because I had a disability. If I was the person that I am today, starting at that school, I would have advocated for myself a lot more and recommended a lot more things to be put in place to make sure that I or someone like me would thrive at the school. I just don't think the school had the tools or

Peta [00:19:06] recognised what it would be like to be the odd one out. The only one with a disability in the entire school. If you're a teacher, what part of the education system? I thought I would include some suggestions on how to make school more inclusive. From the perspective of someone that has a disability. I'm going to go with the obvious first. Please make sure the student attending your school can access all areas of the school. I found it really awkward in myself if I couldn't access something, I felt like it was my fault and I was being, mean, convenient. Sitting here now, I know I wasn't the inconvenience the step was, but it didn't feel like that at the age of 13 and 14, I felt like I was the odd one out and having to ask a whole class of 30 fellow kids to move just because I couldn't access the room made me feel really awkward and singled out.

Peta [00:20:19] Now it's time to hand over to one of the most important episodes I think I've ever done. Trigger warning for this one, I have to say some pretty derogatory language in order to explain my point.

Peta [00:20:36] So, for example, if the person said. Oh, my God, I feel so retarded. I locked my keys in my car. I would respond to the person. Can you explain what you mean? What do you mean? That way, you're on the front foot. You're not being aggressive, you're just simply asking a question asking them to reassert why they used the word. Sometimes I find the response is, oh, well, I'm just, you know, I'm an idiot for locking my keys in my car. Again, in that context, when comparing the word retarded to idiot, it can be caught triggering for me. However, I normally follow with this statement. So what you mean by retarded or idiot is you feel silly that you locked your keys in your car? I prefer the word silly. And I think it's a great suggestion for all of you to use as an alternative because silly can involve everyone. All of us can be silly. It's not a word that relates to one particular culture, race or ability, it's an overarching statement. If they sort of go back at you and saying I'll stop being the politically correct place, I would follow it back with that statement by saying, Look, I understand there's been a lot of changes, particularly in the last 10 years. However, the R-word is really triggering and detrimental to people with disabilities. And the reason for that is it harks back to the treatment that people with disabilities experienced throughout history. Basically, for the whole of human history, the word retarded or negative connotations in and around disability has been occurring.

Peta [00:22:49] And finally. Because I am who I am. I wanted to end on a positive note. What other sort of opportunities that are in store for people with disabilities? And why is media representation so important? It is so great that the mainstream media do broadcasts the Paralympics. Because it's such an important narrative that just because you have a disability doesn't mean you can't achieve. It is my hope, though. That with increased media coverage and representation, society will realise that there are more options of living a life with a disability than being a Paralympian. Some of us are really funny. I mean, think about how great. Our reality show would be. Of someone with a disability. People are fascinated to know how I get out of bed every day. To sort of illustrate just the day to day life of disability, I think, would be really interesting. And I believe Australia would watch it. In my opinion, the media has a massive opportunity sitting right in front of them on a platter. We are really good content and not because of our disability, but because of our personalities. So many of us love our lives, a funny, intelligent and want to educate people. I hope. For my children's generation on my grandchildren's generation, it will be a no brainer. To illustrate the diversity in our community that it will only be seen as a positive an opportunity and just better content for consumers. Because I do believe media is the key. To move the needle towards less discrimination. Less ableism and ultimately equality.

Peta [00:25:21] Well, they have it. That was The I Can't Stand Podcast for 2021. There are so many other episodes that I wasn't able to include in these highlights. So if you would like scroll back in your feed and have a little listen. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. If you celebrate Christmas and a safe and happy new year, I will be back in your ears in 2022. So until then, have a good one, guys. Bye! xox


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