I've realised it's okay to be different and to embrace your uniqueness

Jorden ‘Akes’ James is a 30-year-old independent musician with cerebral palsy from Wolverhampton, West Midlands

“Akes” is my rapper name, and I created the brand “Akes and Pains which stems from my condition; cerebral palsy left hemiplegia, which I've had since birth.

As a kid, I always felt different. I felt like, ‘why am I not normal? Why am I not the same as my cousins? Why am I different?’

When I finished my degree, and I was trying to apply for jobs, every interview I was going for was like, 'No.'

I found a job in retail whilst I was at Uni and I was doing 8-hour shifts. Because of the nature of my condition, I can't be on my feet for long periods of time because it causes me discomfort, pain and distress.

I kept looking for work, and I would put down on application forms that I was disabled.

But still, 'No.' 'No.' 'No.'

Even at the job center, I was looking for jobs but there are only certain jobs I can do. I can't be a labourer, or work in a warehouse. And when I was applying for jobs, nobody would even get back to me to give me the opportunity.

So, I thought, ‘you know what? The only way is if I start to work on my entrepreneur skills’, which led me to be the person I am today and continue to build my brand as a musician.

Throughout my whole life, music has always been my go-to, to express myself or document how I'm feeling about a particular situation or a certain time.

It was always a dream of mine as a young kid, to basically do what I'm doing today.

I spent a lot of years trying to identify myself as not being any different, because I wanted to fit in. But now, I've realised it's okay to be different and to embrace your uniqueness.

I’ve recently started to talk on my Instagram a bit more about my condition, focusing on more content-creation, rather than just music. It’s a sensitive thing, because once you put something on the internet, it’s always going to be there.

It's been an organic process.

So, that's where the whole idea for my musical brand came from. It happened over the course of my whole life and evolved into what it is today, through the support around me from friends and family.

All the things I said I wanted to do as a kid, I'm doing and I've done. So, it is what it is. Take me as I am. It's Akes and Pains, this is me.

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