Four Eyes.

imageWhoa, it’s been a a while since I’ve posted. This is probably for two reasons; one, my training schedule has gotten busier exponentially and secondly, I hate writing just for sake of creating a post. I always want what I write to have meaning. I could blather on into a monologue about the sanctity of the written word, but I’ll spare you. My point is that I am writing because something has caught my interest.
This past week, I started wearing my glasses again. This relatively simple choice is unremarkable except for the fact that I didn’t do it sooner and that I was seeing the world in HD again. The interesting part was how it affected other people.
The behavior of strangers around me has changed completely and this past week since I’ve been wearing my glasses. I still carry my cane and wear the same clothing. I’ve hardly changed anything at all, yet my interactions have been so different. The same strangers that I’ve passed walking back-and-forth to the training center each day now say hello or good morning more often than not. People don’t try to help me by explaining where things are anymore, people don’t scramble out of the way if they notice me and people haven’t opened doors. It’s incredible to me that such a little change can cause such a drastic difference. Nothing about my ability level for my disability had changed; simply the judge,net that others were making.
The “moral to the story” so to speak is this; life does not work in clean lines or straight edges. Disabilities are no exception to this rule. Blindness is not work in absolutes. Just because glasses help an individual does not mean that their disability is not significant. If someone is using a cane, it is safe to assume that there is a good reason. Please remember that blindness is a spectrum disability with thousands of different scenarios. It often blurs the lines of what we know and what we fear; the possibility of being blind.

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Invasion 

To all of my fellow species, I commend each and every one of you. We have achieved something I believed would never be possible. We have invaded the human-occupied planet known as “Earth”. Many species have tried before us and many will try afterward but I doubt any will reach the level of success we have achieved. We have not only invaded but we have ingrained ourselves into their society.

By masquerading as members of their own species plagued with “physical impairments” and “medical conditions” we have fooled humans into accepting us into their society and at this time I would like you to metaphorically pat yourself on the back. Hiding in plain sight is finally going to pay off when we take over this planet. We will name this planet Cure after the human term for eradicating illness where, sadly, some of our own will be staying to be closely watched as they contracted human illnesses such as Rudeness, ignorance, and Judgmentalitis.

I would like to thank my mom and dad for sending me, their alien child, on this alien mission.

Gestures of Affection,

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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. 

People. 

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. 

I See You Looking at Me

I lead a double life. Because I’m visually impaired and not fully blind, I’ve had phases in my life where I’ve carried a cane and times where I have not. Even above all the painful surgeries and physical challenges, becoming okay with using a cane was one of the toughest things I’ve struggled with due to my impairment. Finally, my senior year I moved to a new school for a fresh start. I decided to use my cane and I was asked some pretty interesting questions.

1. How do you have such a good fashion sense?

This was asked of me by my AP Psych teach in front of our ENTIRE class and I honestly didn’t know how to respond. You would think a psychology teacher to be a little more sensitive or at least know not to ask such an ignorant question. As a suggestion, if you’re ever asked this reply by explaining how you taste your clothing in order to decide on outfits.

2. Does your boyfriend drive you everywhere?

Because I have to have a sighted boyfriend/chauffeur? It’s kind of an implication of dependency, like because of my impairment I need a sighted person to take care of me. In fact, I find that relationships with people who also have a visual impairment are incredibly beneficial because you never have to worry that they won’t understand at all what you’re dealing with.

3. Should I have opened the door for her?

This was actually not asked of me but about me within earshot. The answer is yes and no. If you feel like being polite and opening the door for someone carrying a cane, by all means do it. But you shouldn’t do it because you think there is some unwritten social rule that says you need to.

So these are just a few of the questions I’ve been asked. I’d  l o v e to hear if you guys have any personal experience to add. Feel free to put ’em in the comments. ❤

 

 

Han-di-crap

It’s kind of a ritual for me to freak out about college approximately once a week now. It’s not the going to college that stresses me out but the $ involved that sometimes makes me want to curl up in a ball and eat Ben & Jerry’s for the rest of my life. Anyway, the other night I was having one of these weekly stress sessions and my boyfriend, being the wonderful human he is, directed me to this site. It’s a scholarship for students for disabilities which is pretty cool. The first essay was accompanied by this video that I thought was incredibly accurate and relevant. The site is called Incight if you wanna check it out but even if you don’t you should take a minute to watch this accurate-if-a-bit-cheesy video.

XOXO,

Court

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. ❤