Impressions

My sister called me today and told me I had mail. I told her to open it, and inside she found this. The postcard included said “Your words made an impression on us, so we made an impression of them. A Seattle U you are one of one, and nothing could be greater.”

I realized that while I was glad to be appreciated by the good people of Seattle University Admissions, they were actually incorrect. My words being immortalized on a nice laminated poster is nice, but there is something better.

I read these words and I realized that I actually genuinely believed them. For the first time in my life I’m in a place where I believe that I have a great worth and that I will do incredible things.

I actually have a point here, I’m not just bragging I promise. Everyone has days or moments or periods where they don’t feel good about themselves. But when you only think negatively of yourself that soon becomes your truth. Being consumed with putting yourself down will hurt you and prevent you from making the impact that you have the power to make.

Loving and accepting other begins with accepting yourself. Take in all your flaws, quirks, talents and traits. Every part of you together has the potential to create something beautiful; it just depends upon how you choose to put the pieces together.

Love,

Court

Shedding Some Light

I’m feeling incredibly down today. It’s probably one of the roughest days I’ve had in quite a few weeks.

That being said, I wanted to write about something positive. A man named Kevin came to present at our Orientation Training Center. He works for the Lighthouse for the Blind here in Seattle. He talked to us about their program and although it’s not currently applicable to my life, what they do is truly incredible.

The company makes parts for Boeing aircraft, military equipment, and other items that they machine on really high-tech gear. The part that makes them incredible is that they actively seek out blind and visually impaired employees.

You read that right.

Kevin’s job is literally to travel the country and find skilled people who need work but happen to lack sight. It’s not government paid, and it’s not SSI dollars. It’s the way out of SSI. It’s an opportunity to provide for yourself and/or family. I think it’s also a chance for a bigger change; a chance to change the view that the “sighted world” has of those of us who are blind or visually impaired.

I wasn’t as inspiring as Kevin, not even close. But if you’re blind or VI and you’re looking for opportunity this is definitely something that could change your life in a big way. Even if you’re just thinking about it a little bit, look at their website and see for yourself.

Seattle Lighthouse

Be(you)tiful

Facebook at times has the tendency to suck us away from our lives and have very negative effects, but I try to keep my feed full of positivity, information, and close friends. Tonight as I was scrolling through I noticed an article about a YouTuber who does mainly. Her name is Jordan, and as I read her story, I realized that she and I have a lot in common.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a make-p addict. The bag that I keep my lipstick in is bursting at the seams, I have three different kinds of mascara for different occasions, and enough eyeshadow to create a recreation of Starry Night. I feel naked if I go outwithout anything on at all. I do makeup for a few reasons.

  1. It’s fun
  2.  It makes me feel good about how I look
  3. It makes me feel accomplished and independent

It turns out that Jordan is tetroplegic. She can’t move her hands at all, and is confined to a wheelchair because of an accident. She makes her make-up tutorials anyway, and achieves stunning looks even with her hands that many might call useless. Like Jordan,, make-up was a huge frustration for me at first. I have no usable vision in my left eye, and the vision that I do have in my right eye is limited by any standard. Over time and with practice, I began to get better at doing it and I started to love the routine. It was something so simple and yet for me it was a challenge. Despite that fact, my make-up most days was pretty “on-point”, as the kids say these days. My point in this is not that you should start doing your make-up. My point is, don’t let anything stop you from making yourself feel beautiful and fulfilled. I remember my Mom saying something to me once; it went like “You can always regret quitting, but you’ll never regret trying.” At the time I was young, and thick-headed and didn’t listen to her advice as well as I should have. However, now I am older and wiser and I’m telling you this is a golden nugget of Mom advice. When they told you you could be anything you want, they lied. They SHOULD have said you can be anything you work hard enough at.

Everyone has some beautiful and some ugly inside of them. Which shines through depends on what you choose to nurture. As for myself, I try to be the most beautiful me that I can.

What about you?

Watch Jordan’s video below:

Chrysalis.

I’m leaving home tomorrow.

Even though a few months ago I left for the first time, this feels more real and substantial for some reason. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m going alone. Not that I’m flying alone, but that I’m going to really be “on my own” when I get back to my training program in Seattle. This time, no one is coming with me to help, but it’s not a bad thing. Neither I nor my parents have any doubts that I can handle all of this.

To a lot of people, this kind of thing happens naturally and isn’t a big deal. But despite the fact that I’ve always been intelligent, things were just more difficult to learn because I had much less vision than normal in a sight-dependent world.

After graduation, I decided to take a gap year. Even though people do this, I wasn’t excited about it at all. I didn’t want to be any more different than other people than I already am. It turns out, the problem was really my perspective. Living and working with other blind/VI individuals at this program has really opened my eyes. (pun intended.) It hasn’t been easy. Going to this program feels like your disability is being shoved in your face every day, and that’s hard, especially knowing that I am going to lose more vision as I get older. Everyone there has a lot of emotions about their situation, each person has a story, none of us are perfect, and we don’t always get along. The thing about blindness is that it doesn’t discriminate. Rich, poor, tall, short, thick, thin, all kinds are affected by this impairment. To put it simply, the OTC(Orientation Training Center) is a lot of imperfect people trying to make the best life they can for themselves despite the challenges they face. That’s not a mantra or anything, just my personal assessment.

So at first, I was a little disappointed looking at everyone’s college pics, thinking “that should be me”. I got over it though. This year was my chrysalis. I have two acceptance letters + scholarships to great colleges and a ton of possibilities. I love myself and have more confidence than I ever have before. To be honest, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Although I’m surprised and proud when it comes to my metamorphosis, I didn’t write this solely for that reason. School was really hard.I was a caterpillar at one time. From sixth grade to eleventh felt like I was crawling on my belly, trying not to get eaten. In twelfth, amazed that I survived to that point, I started to make my chrysalis. I know I’m not the only person who felt like school was more about survival than having a good time. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but if you’re thinking about giving up on yourself don’t do it. Not for me or your S.O. or even your mom but do it because if you give up you will never get to know all the wonderful things you can be.

comingout2

 

 

Under Pressure

To you, just another 80’s lyric, but to those of us who live with glaucoma, living under pressure is a daily reality. It seems crazy to people who don’t live with it, but for me, going to get my pressure checked is just another routine check-up. The only thing is that it’s way more stressful than that.

I have glaucoma. If you know of it already, you’re probabky wondering; isn’t that something that old people get? The answer most of tthe time is yes, but there are a few rare cases where people are born with the disease. Sometimes it’s passed down or historically characteristic for the family, but in my case, my parents simply happened to have the perfect combo of genes to make it happen. Needless to say, glaucoma has kind of always been my life, and the in many ways the life of my family. Though not life-threatening, my disease is sight-threatening and most of my life has been spent fighting it. Luckily, I’ve had a wonderful family support and been incredibly fortunate to have great medical care.  Not everyone is as blessed as I am.

As cared for as I was, I wasn’t diagnosed until age two and by then, a significant amount of damage had been done. I think the scariest part about glaucoma is that there are hardly any symptoms. You don’t feel pain or discomfort hardly ever, even when you eyes are being severely damaged. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. There is research looking for a cure, but unfortunately glaucoma is a tough disease to fight and 10% of those who receive care still end up losing their vision.

I feel like glaucoma is one of the lesser known eye conditions, and I know from experience it’s not easy to live with. This month is awareness month and I just kind of felt like this is the best way to spread awareness.

If you want more info or feel able to donate to research, you should visit this website.

Thanks for the read.  ❤

Freed By A (Braille)Cell

I didn’t even know today was significant but it turns out it’s Louis Braille’s birthday. I didn’t expect to, but I got really excited about this. I would write on his wall, but he’s been dead for almost 200 years so I thought I would write this. I’m not going to give you a history report but I’ll just say that Louis was really freaking rad and he accomplished a lot despite being totally blind. He was a composer, musician, and teacher. He also developed the entire braille code which is really amazing because he basically reinvented the wheel of the literary world.

I’m not going to lie, when you first start learning Braille is exceptionally challenging and I think giving up in frustration should probably just be added to the curriculum because everyone does it. Eventually though, it starts to snap into place in your head and you kind of feel like you have some sort of secret wisdom, Although technology is rapidly changing and making life better for those of us who have impaired eyesight, there’s a sort of independence about reading, actually physically reading, that no automated voice can fulfill. To me, Louis did a great service that continues to be useful over 200 years later and I think that’s pretty incredible.

As a side note, you know those yellow strips with dots on the down-slopes of sidewalks? That is braille for feet, warning patrons with vision loss that the sidewalk is ending.

Happy birthday Louis, I’m glad you existed ❤

 

The Un-Resolved & Resolutions

Call me dramatic, but I can’t help it guys. It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m reflecting. As I look back at this year I think about the people I’ve known and the things that I’ve done. I didn’t do anything extremely spectacular, but I just moved through it all. Tried my best to enjoy my senior year and being open about my visual impairment in a way I never had before…in a lots of ways this was my metamorphosis year. So I guess like many people today, I have all sorts of thoughts flooding through my head.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not making New Year’s resolutions or promising myself that 2016 is going to be “different from all the rest”. We sometimes tell ourselves these things on this day that happen for maybe one week post-holiday. I don’t believe in making life-changes on this day, but I do believe in gaining perspective.

This year, I had people judge me, put me down, do me wrong, you name it. And whether you black, white, purple, gay, straight, blind, deaf or anything else that a living human can be those people are going to be there. Some people are just waiting to tear other people down, and that’s just a fact of this life. But taking it in stride isn’t just about being the bigger person. It’s about becoming stronger and smarter and more ready for life because of what people put you through. You can have a smart comeback, but if they change the way you feel about who you are then they win.

I’m not making a resolution for myself. I guess I’m just looking back and making a mental note to be thankful for all the people in my life, whether they were the ones who cared the most and supported me or the ones who wanted to watch me fall. Maybe I didn’t speak up at the time, or stand up for myself the way I should have. What I know for certain is that all of the things in my life, especially those that were difficult, made me into who I am.

So, raise your glass to the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2015. Remember, reflect, and keep proving that you’re stronger than all that wants to pull you down.