Eyes Wide Open

A room covered in boxes, wrappings, and bows accompanied by piles of just-opened gifts. The remains of a hearty dinner filling tummies and like a lullaby, pulling families into naps after all the anticipation and excitement. The thing I forgot about the most wonderful time of the year is that it is also the prime time for sickness. As I’m being reminded of this fact with a sore throat and the feeling of my body giving a definitive feeling of UGH, I try to think of the last time I felt this terrible. 

I don’t get sick often, but I have some memories of periods where I became part of the couch living on crackers and Gatorade. 

Surprisingly, these aren’t what comes to my mind first. I realized that the feeling that comes to my mind first has nothing to do with a bacterium or virus. Honestly, it’s much more crippling. 

The worst thing I have ever felt in my life is feeling like I was less of a person because of my physical disability. 

It’s hard to think about, hard to even write that sentence. I mean, why should I feel bad about something that I have absolutely no control over?

It seems ludicrous but I felt this way, and not just for a little while. I’m talking years of my life. I couldn’t make friends in middle and high school, at least not real ones. I ended up hanging out with any crowd that would accept me, and even there I was an outcast. 

I’m not the only one. Over the years I’ve made friends who deal with the same things I do and the story is often similar.  

So now, years later, I’ve finally realized the truth. I’ve realized that I actually have incredible value just like all of my legally/totally blind friends. But why did it take me so long to figure that out? 

Because when I was growing up there were no commercials and models and general media showing blind individuals as we truly are. 


Not an anomaly, not “wow that’s incredible they can do x,y,z considering they’re blind”. 

I wasn’t exposed to this and neither were my peers,or the peers of my friends. As a result impairments become like that curse word that even those who swear a lot refuse to say. 

 This isn’t just the case for visual impairment. Across the board physical impairments are displayed as an oddity. An oddity in itself considering that in one car accident, anyone could become a part of our underrepresented group. 

I say all of this not to be bitter but to be honest. I would never want someone to go through the isolation that I experienced during school. No one should have to because after all, this is the Information Age. Media does so much to negatively affect younger kids, giving them misconceptions about how they should look or act. Why not make it into something positive? Teach them that physical impairments happen and that those who deal with them are getting through life just the same as everyone else. We can help people to see, we just have to open their eyes. 


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. ❤