Reflections

Life is a state of constant change. Even when we don’t know it, things around us in life are always changing. Circumstances, relationships, moods, if you think about it humans are incredibly temperamental. Simultaneously, we’re also habitual. As a child, we’ll touch a stove twice even though it burned us the first time, and we still do it as adults. We keep toxic people in our lives, we do things that are unhealthy for our bodies, and possibly worst of all, we consistently stay in mindsets that hold us back from being happy. These kinds of behaviors can be really difficult to change because sometimes we don’t realize that we can be our own worst enemy.

I have been treated poorly by people in my life, but two years ago I experienced the worst treatment I have ever known. The perpetrator was the person I know better than anyone, the person should be able to trust the most.

It was me.

Of all the times “friends” have walked all over me,the times partners mistreated me, and the times strangers have been incredibly rude to me, none of it compares to the way I treated myself during my depression. I wanted others to accept me for my disability and who I was, but I was more harsh and ignorant toward myself than any of my peers. Not to say that their words didn’t hurt and have impact. If I had one kind person in my life during those times, I may have never gotten to the dark place that I found myself in. The funny thing is that I could have, and should have, been that person for myself. Instead I dissected all of my mistakes and punished myself every day, mostly for things that i had absolutely no control over. I know I’m not the only person with a medical condition who has done this. I’ve found that the best decision I ever made was to realize that I’m not a mistake. I work hard-sometimes harder than most people- through disability and the depression and anxiety that comes with it and I’m building a future for myself. I used to be ashamed to have a visual impairment. Now, I’m proud to be exactly who I am, and I love the way it feels.

In my head, I have this kind of reverse mirror of Erised. I look into it and see all the things I used to be, and I compare it to who I have become. Stay humble, but don’t forget to give yourself credit for the changes you have made. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you and never accept less respect than you give. Above all, respect yourself because how you carry yourself sets a precedent for how others will treat you.

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Love Yourself

I think of people and their personalities as something that is very abstract. There isn’t a scientific formula for the contents of a personality, and therefore one can never be sure how a person is going to react to a given situation. Some people are highly logical, while others are propelled largely by emotion. No two people are exactly the same, just like our fingerprints. The problem is that what is inside someone, what “makes them tick” is not as easily examined as a fingerprint or DNA, but is often much more compelling.

These facts and more are the reasons that human relationships are often complicated. There will always be work in the therapy field because people will always have problems. One of the ironic things about human behavior is that we often know more information about ourselves the anyone else and yet we often don’t understand the way we feel or why we feel that way. One of the things I have learned about my personality is that I am very empathetic.

I don’t think that I have a psychic superpower, or any kind of power. I’m just attentive to how the people around me feel, even if I don’t know them very well. Sometimes I find this part of myself helpful–it forces to pay attention to how my actions affect other. By the same token it can also be a hinderance. Always gauging how other people feel and taking on what I perceive to be their mood can make it difficult to tell how I am feeling about a situation or to act normally. For example, I often feel extremely agitated if I watch someone who i very nervous giving a presentation even though I am sitting in the audience

So, why am I telling you about my weird quirk? I’m telling you because you have them too! Everyone has different attributes that nobody else has. We spend so much time getting to know other people. Memorizing names and relationships and how others act. Sometimes, though, we don’t take an adequate amount of time being introspective. Maybe we don’t want to see our flaws. The fact is, you’re going to have flaws whether you think about them or not and it is much better to know yourself in terms of identity rather than letting others define your traits. Accepting yourself for all that you are is absolutely essential to staying happy. And think about it; who knows you better than you?

 

 

Picture Perfect

I’ve been through a lot of changes since the last time I posted. Because of recent events, I’ve been made to realizing that we are constantly changing even when we don’t realize it. Sometimes when you’re young a romantic relationship can feel like the biggest, most important thing in your atmosphere. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long track record of being devastated after a break-up.

To be honest, isn’t that the way we’re trained to be? Media and today’s world of instantaneous updates and highlights of the happiest, most photo-ready moments leaves many people feeling like they are constantly striving to achieve a sort of superficial happiness that they can paste on social media to make everyone think that they’ve got it all. The truth is,no one does. We all have parts of our life that are painful and challenging and messed up because we’re all human. In addition to being beautiful and wonderful life is also inherently messy and crazy and sometimes just plain ugly. With this being true, why is it that young people grow up in a culture that teaches us to fall apart when we lose a romantic partner?

Certainly there’s a very delicate line between accepting a break up and hardening your heart against letting anyone in ever again, and I have found myself dancing that line more often then not in the past month. That being said, it’s amazing wen you change your perspective. When you accept what has happened but move on knowing you have a future ahead of you with or without that person.

There are some of you I’m sure who have never found yourself revolving your life around your partner, and I deeply admire. If this is true then just take this as a small reminder to never forget who you are. Always stay passionate about what you love, don’t pause your life for anyone else. Always work on improving yourself but know that the right person will accept that you are only human and will continue to love you as long as you are trying

. Never let anyone look down on you as if they’ve never made mistakes because I hate to be general, but that just can’t be true. Love yourself and be confident but always remember to stay humble because we are all only blindly struggling through this thing called life without a map or a manual or instructions. God knows we have enough challenges without pushing one another down along the way.

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:

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.

 

The White Elephant in the Room

For me, it’s the Christmas season. I love this time of year and honestly, who doesn’t? This year is tougher than most because of a recent death in my family, and I find that getting gifts for the ones I love is really helping me to get into the spirit. A thought occurred to me yesterday as I was shopping for one of my closest friends who happens to be totally blind. She had full vision up until about a year ago, and I can’t imagine what a change that must have been. She’s courageous and positive and I admire her so much. Anyway, I was thinking that a change like that could making something simple like knowing what you want for Christmas somewhat of a challenge (and by default, make it harder for family members to choose a gift) We are a sight-oriented society and when your sight is lost, there’s no denying that your world changes. In light of this I have decided to make a list of my favorite gift ideas for this season that are great no matter how much vision you have.

1. Shut the Box

This game is great and fun to play in a large group or solo. The numbers would be an easy fix with jumbo dot sticker or tactile number stickers depending on the person’s braille proficiency. You can find it on Amazon here.

2. Scentsy

Pretty much any scentsy product is a win. They revolve around making spaces smell wonderful plus unlike a candle scentsy uses light bulbs so there’s no danger of getting burnt by an open flame. Visit their site here.

3. Bath & Body Works True Blue Collection

I love B&BW in general, but their True Blue Spaa line is greath. The products are soothing and make your skin feel oh-so-soft. These products are a great way to pamper someone on your list. Browse the collection here

4. Braille Jewelery

3 Sisters Braille Necklaces // Braille Inspired "SISTER" Necklace // Sister Necklace // Family // Braille // Big Sister Little Sister

Braille jewelry can show someone special that you love them for all of their unique qualities. The pieces can often be personalized. There are tons of great options here

5. Talking Measuring Cup

Product Details

For those who love to bake. Get it on amazon here

6. Ambutech

This place is great for any and everything to do with mobility needs! They have tons of options so you can get something truly unique. Visit the site here

Of course there are tons of other options for someone on your list who has a visual impairment, but these are a few out-of-the-box ideas you may not have considered. I wish you all happy shopping and and an abundance of joy this Christmas. ❤

 

 

Not Seeing, Still Believing

A while ago my friend introduced me to this YouTuber.

Her channel is called YesterdaysWishes and she’s completely blind. I cannot express how amazing she is. She shows how people with visual impairments and blindness can be normal and can do everything that sighted people can do. I personally love that she does make-up tutorials! It can be difficult to do your own make-up when you can’t see well, but it’s not impossible by any means, and if you’re like me, you feel naked if you don’t have your make-up done. I also relate really well to her struggle of trying to accept herself and her blindness once she lost her sight and she was really candid and accurate about a lot of the challenges that come about when you are differently-abled. Anyway, she’s adorable and super positive and is a really wonderful example of ability awareness. I would highly recommend watching her videos whether you’re visually impaired or not because a lot of her tips are universally wonderful. Check her out below

UPDATE: She also has a WordPress blog called Yesterdayswishes which is equally wonderful

 

 

 

How We Roll

This week, anyone who was exposed to any kind of media probably heard that Hollywood’s teen glamour queen Kylie Jenner got slammed for her recent magazine cover. I didn’t really care for her to begin with after I found out that she probably spends thousands of dollars per day on her beauty routine. Nevertheless, the magazine cover was drowning in poor taste. Kylie posed provocatively in a fancy (probably extremely expensive) wheelchair to symbolize her “disabilities as a celebrity”.

Need I discuss the absurdity?

As you might expect, the response was swift and appropriate with legitimately impaired women all over the world posting photos of their wheelchair that they have to use every day, not just for a glitzy photo shoot.

The good news? Tons of media attention has been brought to the lack of representation that we in the disability community receive from the fashion industry.

Just a few months ago during New York Fashion week differently-abled models like Leslie peoples and Rebekah Marine shined brightly and showed just how much our culture is changing. I can’t wait to see blind and visually impaired models getting this kind of spotlight too.11264744_132363267113724_819470995_nrebekha-marine-3-435