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A look back at 2015

Happy New Year badasses!

2015 was a crazy year for me with mega highs and terrible lows, I wrote 116 posts on this blog with over 2 million views, here’s a look back at my So Bad Ass year.

January

I started the year by giving up the razor, which I led me down a hairy path of self awareness and body love. I travelled around the country doing talks for Pelican Healthcare, Sunday Assembly London and Crohns and Colitis UK talking about confidence, invisible disability and overcoming tough times.  I got mad about the show Too Ugly For Love, talked periods and got another hernia named Harry.

sunday assembly london sam cleasby public speaker about confidence and body positivity plus size

 

February

Well, it all went a bit crazy in Feb after I wrote a post about the lady who tutted at me for using the accessible toilets.  This post went viral and went around the world being shared and viewed millions of times! I went on a ton of radio shows, in nearly every newspaper going and even went on the BBC Breakfast couch to talk about poo!

This led me to start the More Than Meets The Eye campaign to raise awareness of invisible disabilities.  I worked with Scope to push the message that we aren’t alone and get people talking about the life of people whose illnesses or disabilities can’t always be easily seen but affect many parts of their lives.  It was a brilliant campaign that I am very proud of.

sam cleasby bbc breakfast ibd blogger

March

March found me slagging off Katie Hopkins (standard) and having a crazy time with the media surrounding what became known as Tutgate!

I wrote a really popular post called ‘Ive been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis – Now what?’, talked about Feminist Underwear, Aiming High in life and had surgery to repair an Incisional Hernia.

April

I went viral again in April (I need to be more careful!!) with photographs of my #StomaSelfies going in the Independent and all over the internet.  This led to some lovely comments and positive messages and also some dicks deciding to be horrible and others to attack me for ‘sexualising disability’!  I also wrote a post called ‘Crohns and Colitis – More than just a poo disease’

I went on a girls holiday to Magaluf in April, it felt like a real breakthrough in my recovery, that I was able to go on a wild jaunt with great friends and not have my illness get (too much) in the way.

#stomaselfie sam cleasby stoma ostomy photo shoots sam cleasby

 

May

In May I got myself a literary agent!! I was over the moon and it was a dream come true, it has been a long slog and we are still working together to hopefully get a book out to market.  It was also World IBD Day and I did a talk at the Seven Hills WI about body image.And my son got all his hair cut off to raise money for Crohns and Colitis UK raising £550!

I also started working as a contributing writer for the Metro, this was a massive thing for me, I have always wanted to be a writer and between getting my agent and starting to work for the Metro, I really felt like I was getting there!

seven hills wi talks sam cleasby self esteem public speaker so bad ass

 

June

In June I did some more talks for Pelican Healthcare about body confidence with an ostomy and also wrote a post that was very popular (and still is) called ‘What happens during a Colonoscopy’.  I generally got pissed off about fat shaming with posts about that twat Steve Miller and the cringeworthy term Mummy Tummy.

I was struggling with the effects of Pouchitis and fatigue and not having a great time mentally and emotionally and so wrote about Going Dark and avoiding family and friends.

July

July was Tramlines, Sheffield’s inner city music festival, my husband is the production director for them and so July is a crazy busy month for us as a family.  I was also out working for art group Responsible Fishing UK and worked away for most of the month.  I did a couple more talks for Pelican Healthcare too.

sam cleasby public speaker

 

August

August was Music in the Gardens time, where Crohns and Colitis UK were invited along to be their chosen charity, as a volunteer for the South Yorkshire group I went along with Timm and Charlie to shake buckets and raise money!  We raised £2800 for the charity and couldn’t be prouder!

I wrote the post ’10 great things about IBD’ ,opened up about how it feels to have an absent father and was shortlisted as a finalist in the National Diversity Awards as a Role Model in Disability.

 

September

In September I attended the National Diversity Awards where I didn’t win but got very pissed off about the fact that they got the name of my disease wrong…

I also wrote a post explaining what a Jpouch is, medical apps on your phone, incontinence, my Alexa Chung story and I had my 2 year no-coloniversay!

sam cleasby blogger awards

October

I’d been really struggling with my health for a while, but in October it was getting a lot worse and I had a particularly nasty time with Pouchitis which then cause gynae issues. I was struggling emotionally and had some big decisions to think through regarding the future of my jpouch.

November

I was invited down to Parliament in November by Crohns and Colitis UK to talk to MPs and peers about life with IBD, it was such an honour and a really proud moment.  I also took part in the Scope End The Awkward campaign, in their A-Z of sex and disability, I was their I for Intimacy and did a few newspaper, radio and TV interviews about the brilliant project.

I was really struggling with the Pouchitis and ended up having another stint in hospital for treatment, this really cemented the decision that my pouch needed to be removed and I would need to have a permanent ostomy, it has been a difficult decision to make and to come to terms with.  Surgery will be in January.

Oh, I also made the finalists of the Bloggers Lounge, Blogger of the Year Awards!!! It was all go in November!

sam cleasby so bad ass parliament ibd blogger

 

December

December found me writing about body size, body hair, why wheelchairs aren’t a fashion accessory,  and comparing ourselves to others. I also appeared on Sheffield Live TV and was discussed on The Wright Stuff!

I wrote a letter to Santa, had a bit of a breakdown with all the mega life stresses going on and then returned to fight another day.

 

 

So there it is, that is my year in (not so) brief… It certainly has bee a roller coaster, the ups and downs have been tough but I came through it pretty much unscathed.

Thank you to every one who reads and supports my blog, your messages and audience means so much, it genuinely feels like an honour to share my journey with you and I can’t thank you all enough.

Thanks for sharing my 2015 with me, I am awaiting my next surgery which is a BIGGIE and I am terrified/relieved/angry/over the moon… Basically a whole bunch of mixed emotions, I will share them all with you as I go.  So please stay with me, keep reading, keep sharing, keep getting in touch.

Don’t forget to head over and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Here’s to a So Bad Ass 2016!

 

Sam xx

 

 

Bloggers Lounge Blogger of the Year finalist!

That’s me!! I am a finalist in the Blogger’s Lounge Blogger of the Year Awards in the category of Charity & Social Blogger! From many entrants, I have been shortlisted and am 1 or 5 finalists. Woo hoo!!

I am having a tough time with my health right now and so this has really boosted my spirits.  I love writing and this blog is my passion, it has helped me get through the toughest few years of my life and to know that it has helped so many others just feels amazing.

People don’t like to talk about poo and embarrassing illnesses regarding bums, but I do think times are a-changing and more and more I see news articles and stories about life with IBD and many other chronic illnesses and disabilities.  This can only be a good thing and I am proud to shout loudly and be the voice of those who don’t feel able to speak out.  I love being The Poo Lady!

So I am asking for your help!  If you could go along to the Blogger’s Lounge website and vote for me, that would be awesome!  It takes only a minute and you don’t need to leave your details. Just head over to http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/bloggers-of-the-year/blogger-of-the-year-2015/, scroll to the Charity and Social category, click my blog name and press submit!


Whilst there, do check out the other categories and if you love any of the other blogs, get voting!

 

Thanks

 

Sam xxx

BIG NEWS!!!!

And so after weeks of annoyingly vague Facebook and twitter status’ of secretive meetings in London (sorry about that!!!), I can announce my big news!

I have signed with wonderful agents Peters, Fraser and Dunlop and I am writing a book!!!

Since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of being a writer.  This was squashed out of me when my English teacher at school told me I would fail all my exams and would never be a writer. (I went and told her my great GCSE results grinning, thinking she would congratulate me.  She didn’t.)

My self belief and confidence took a battering when I became a teenage mum, I became convinced that everyone looked down on me and that the teachers at school would be laughing “I told you so” to one another.  As my friends went on to University, my life became a never ending cycle of nappies, feeding and sleepless nights.  With a husband who worked away for nine months a year and three kids under 5, my career choices felt extremely limited.  I also LOVED being a stay at home mum when my bambinos were little and so the dreams of being an author drifted further and further away.

The success of this blog has astounded me and pushed me forward, it gave me the confidence to put myself out there and through the help of friends I met with the bloody brilliant Nelle Andrew, who after a few meetings decided she would like to represent me and took me on as a client!  I am blown away, I can’t believe that I am getting this opportunity and I will grab it firmly with both hands!!

So what next?  My book proposal is being edited, rearranged and critiqued by Nelle and I am working my socks off to perfect it before we start sending it off to publishers.  Really excitingly, there are a couple of publishers already VERY interested and so life as an author begins!

Peters, Fraser and Dunlop is one of the longest-established literary and talent agencies in London and I am thrilled to be working with both Nelle as a literary agent but also the Media and Public Speaking departments and so I hope that the So Bad Ass message will spread wide and far and that I can make a real difference. (I think TV needs more bolshy, northern, plus size bad asses, don’t you?!!)

I want to thank you all so much for your support, love and messages.  The reason I write is to make a difference and to help others and the book will be an extension of this, I can’t give too much away right now but it will be a book about love, kindness and battles and it will be dedicated to every one of you that are So Bad Ass.

 

Love Sam xxxxx

 

 

 

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Well that escalated quickly…

So the past few days have gone WILD! My post about using disabled/accessible toilets when you have a hidden disability went viral and I can’t believe it, but So Bad Ass has had over 1.3 million views!!!

On Tuesday evening, I wrote the post, an open letter to people who judge others using public loos. It was about human courtesy, kindness and not judging a book by it’s cover. By the time I went to bed, it had a couple thousand views and I was over the moon! When I woke in the morning, the post was at 20,000+ and I was gob smacked.

By the end of the day, it was 100,000, and the next two days were hundreds of thousands each!!!

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Today my little website has hit well over a million hits.

1,000,000 +

WTAF?! I feel like I’m dreaming!! I have had thousands of messages, emails and comments. An unending stream of tweets and Facebook shares and media attention from newspapers and websites around the world!

I write this blog for one reason. To make a difference to the lives of others and so to know I am reaching a huge worldwide audience is just heart thuddingly wonderful. I am so humbled to be able to helping so many people. I’m excited and over the bloody moon that this is happening!

sam cleasby blogger

This website is my baby. 18 months ago I started writing to document my journey with IBD but it quickly became more than that. It became a way to let others know they weren’t alone, to inspire and support people with ulcerative colitis, Crohns, people with Ostomies and Jpouches.

As I wrote more about self esteem, body image and confidence as well as parenting, my audience grew to people without IBD and I realised I had an opportunity to share an ethos of being So Bad Ass.

I LOVE my blog, it means everything to me. Knowing that I make a difference and help people gives me purpose, drive and a deep happiness.

To see my baby blossoming into something that is being seen by millions is scary, overwhelming but makes me so proud.

The past 18 months have been the toughest of my whole life. But to know that something good has come of this means everything.

Thank you all

Be kind yo…

✌️& ❤️

Sam x

IBD and body image – Sunday Assembly Film

I was thrilled to be invited to talk at Sunday Assembly in London at Conway Hall, their theme for the day was ‘I’m alright, me!’ and so my talk on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Ostomies and body image fit in perfectly.

 

 

sunday assembly london conway hall

 

Sunday Assembly is a “godless congregation that celebrates life”, basically a ‘church’ without a deity, a weekly meeting of atheists who live by the motto of Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More.  Conway Hall is a great venue and home of the Ethical Society and so it was great to talk poo in such a fantastic surrounding with a group of lovely chaps!

sunday assembly conway hall london sam cleasby

 

I had a great day with Sunday Assembly and look forward to working with them again in the future!

Here is the film of my talk, enjoy!

 

 

 

sunday assembly conway hall london sam cleasby

 

To book me to speak at your event, get in touch.

 

Love Sam x