“Why doesn’t matter if I sound like a dying cat?” The power of music! 

It could be any kind of tunes from RnB, Hip Hop, Rap, Rock n Rock, Dance, Country or it might even be a bit of Opera that will take my fancy to break the silence. The black dog knows he has been beaten. As soon as I hit play, he will lay down to go to catch a couple of Z’s until the time comes for him to play again. Don’t take the chase of him howling to Classical, Jazz or Blues. It is not worth listening to his carry on. 

The fire in my belly comes alive. My vocal chords start to wake up by doing a little dance in my throat to say, let’s go and have fun. 

I come alive, the noise just follows out into the room. I have just let the cat out of the bag, and everyone comes running from everywhere to see if I need something. They realise that it is only me brushing up on my singing skills. 

They will crack jokes about waking up the dead because I sound like a dying cat, then my swearing will come out perfectly.

They say to me that we know that you are just putting on this Cerebral Palsy act on because you want someone to wipe your arse. We piss ourselves laughing. Off they go to turn up their music, so they don’t have to listen to the dying cat.

I don’t give a shit about how I sound to other people.

The music professional reckons that all singers have to be 100% perfect, but why? I can be any singer I want when I am in my world of my own and feel like a million bucks afterwards. 

The power of music can break many of hours isolation without having face to face contact with friends. You will find out who are your real friends from the ones are full of shit very quickly in life, but music will always be there. It doesn’t discriminate. It makes my world better because I can forget about everything that might be pissing me off. It doesn’t matter if I am non-verbal or not, I have a pair of ears to listen to the words in songs and a heart to feel the messages in the songs like anyone else.

Janelle McMillan



Click to watch a short film on Janelle by Small World Documentaries 


Or to buy her artwork



Janelle McMillan OAM is an artist and author living in Hobart, an incredible woman changing the world by helping to give her perspective about what it is like to live with Cerebral Palsy, getting around on wheels AND being a non-verbal communicator. She has a wicked sense of humour, and we welcome her contribution to Ponderings. 

If you liked this article, you might like our first introduction to Janelle, via the wonderful interview with Wendy Searle. You can read it here. 

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