Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2015 02 24 Constructiveness February 24, 2015

Constructiveness

Hello. My name is Deon, and I’m a writer. I haven’t always considered or called myself a writer, but these days, it’s fairly apparent that most of my constructiveness is done so using a keypad and a screen reader. Is constructiveness a word? If it isn’t, it should be.

I’m still not used to the sound of calling myself a writer, and I’m certainly not used to the feelings associated with it. Fact is, I’m a rather shy person, and whenever I receive praise for my writings, or for anything, I can sense my ears getting red. Yep. You heard it. My ears get beet red whenever I get embarrassed, brought on by my pathetically shy state. I suppose I’m not as shy as I used to be when I could see, but characteristic traits have a habit of sticking to us like glue, and stuck to me it has.

I am a writer, and before that, I was a regional salesman, which is a glorified name for a truck driver who sells stuff to people who need the stuff and have money to buy the stuff. I was pretty good at it, and was the top salesman for my last company a couple years in a row. The company had over thirty regional sales reps, so once again, I was pretty good at it.

I’ve always done well with things that I have taken part with. I suppose I owe that all to my folks and my siblings. My brothers and sisters all excelled in whatever they tackled, which provided me the inspirational drive that has stayed with me to this day. Always try to throw faster, run faster, swim faster, jump higher, and if you don’t, keep practicing until you do. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be done? No blue ribbons or trophies for just trying. At least not back where I came from.

Like I said, I’m a writer, and I love to write. I have written long stories, short stories, poems, essays, stuff I don’t know what to call, and I have enjoyed every second of it. It was a little slow in coming, that is after I lost my sight. You see, I had to learn how to touch type, which was something I used to cringe at whenever I heard my wife suggest I learn. Finger cramps, wrist cramps and hand cramps weren’t anything I looked forward to, and the four fingered, hunt and peck system I used up to then seemed to work for what I needed to do.

Boy did that mind set change.

With a rehab and independent living skills program opportunity dangling there in front of me, I had to learn how to touch type, and learn I did. Within a couple weeks I was banging away like a finger tapping, key punching fool. I was actually surprised how easy it was to learn. I suppose that my mental attitude had a huge part to play in the learnings, but either way, my life as a writer was born.

I have written a few miles of text in four plus years. Around corners, up hills, down across bridges, and it all ends up right in front of me on my pc screen, with JAWS hollering out the detailed adventure.

One other thing I’m not used to doing, and feel totally uncomfortable with is critiquing of others writings. Unless it’s a very familiar material matter that the writing is about, then I will add my advice with details that transpire with the writing. As far as writing styles, formats, and anything to do with the English language, count me out. Sorry to say it, but I have never liked the learning of English. Sentence structures, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and the likes have twisted my mind up like a butter pretzel. I know the language fairly well, and I do ok with the writing of it, but to try and tell you that this should be over there, and that shouldn’t even be here, well, I’ll just quietly sit and listen, while I try to learn.

The first time I had one of my writing pieces critiqued in a constructive manner just about destroyed me inside. I felt like someone had broken into my home and robbed me blind. No pun intended. I felt as though everything I had ever written wasn’t up to standards, wasn’t appreciated, wasn’t, or shouldn’t ever be displayed in any public forum again for as long as I lived.

But then again, that’s just me.

It did take some time to be able to look past the criticism, the critique, the painful experiences, and find the lessons that were hidden inside the critique. Once I was able to step back from my emotions and approach the critique from other’s perspectives, I was able to grow and evolve. I like to use the phrase, absorb, adapt and advance. That’s what my writings, along with being blind, have taught me. Almost as a prize fighter does, we absorb the blows, learn how to better shuck and jive our way through the situations and take control of said situations when and if they should arise again.

As I said, I am no critiquing noble or anything, and I probably will never lay claim to such a thing, but I do know how hard it can be to receive at times. I do know how much we put ourselves out there when we write. I know how deep into spirit and soul our writings come from, and with such strong emotions wrapped around those amazing penned words, I know how cutting the critique can be at times.

I hope that with each incident, I will grow and become more aware of the lessons that are inside each well thought out comment made towards my writings, and I will always try to take advantage of each situation and make the best of it.

From a truck driver’s writing perspective, I hope that I’m able to keep on writing for the rest of my life, as it has brought me riches beyond belief.

No matter where you go, there you are, so please, please, take full advantage of it.

Thanks for stopping by, and God bless all of you. Take care.

dp

 

2014 02 10 Poetry: Canvas February 10, 2015

Hello again and how are you doing?

It’s true that I am blind, and with my vision loss comes a plethora of absorption, adapting and advancing towards a future full of tomorrows. One of the best things that have emerged among my vision loss has been the rebirth of my lifelong passion for writing. The magnificence of the pen has shown me things about myself that I never knew, and didn’t care to learn. How time and space can change a person.

I have written a lot of my vision loss, and it has proved to be a huge stepping stone as I make my way through this next chapter of my life.

The following is a poem that I wrote a year or so after my sight loss of 2010. I have written many poems about entering my dark world, and I chose this one because it ties in closely with my last post.

Thanks for dropping by, and here we go.

*** *** ***

Canvas

The sights are gone, but I still feel the visions.
They are forever firmly engraved into my searching mind.
Reaching out into the darkness, the memories of yesterday guide me into tomorrow.
Picture by picture, the snapshots that still remain, vividly run through my mind.

One by one, colorful canvases pull me back into my past, and remind me how to feel.
Faintly, I see the day unfold, as the foggy colors come sliding by.
Faintly I work my way through the shadows, and recall what once was.
Faintly I muster a vague smile, as I silently cry inside.

With echoed sound replacing familiar sight, I listen to the view.
Foggy colors tell their story, as endless days tell their tale, one empty canvas at a time.
Slowly, I start to understand the sounds of the colors.
Slowly, I begin to understand the harmony that constantly plays inside my head.

Chaotic concerts fill my imagination, as a single lullaby rolls over the horizon.
Blending the two as one, I slowly fill the canvas with colored sound.
Strokes of vision glide across the empty white of my mind.
Pausing, I step back and take all of the beauty and breathe in deep.

Darkened nights come alive with the palette of the day.
Oh how I wish to wrap the starless nights with those lighted colors of sound.
They soothe and calm the anxious child inside.
They wrap around and hold tight the true meaning of this endless story.

The grays turn to gold, as the blacks turn to blue.
I am the artist inside the painting.
I am the conductor staring down at the strings and horns.
I am the director of the soaring saga.

I color the page with a scheme of sserenity, promise and hope.
So many familiar things seem so distant and alone.
So many memories replace the present.
So many feelings touch my soul.

So many times I hear the laughter of the loved, and the cries of the innocent.
So many doubts and emotions and questions play out in front of childhood dreams.
The canvas is empty, except for the colors from within.
The canvas tells of a tale long forgotten, but quickly remembered.

It is empty, but for the colors that I hear inside.
It is empty, but for the call of the colors.
It is empty, but for the visions that come alive with the strokes of brush.
It is empty, but for the comfort of the memories.
It is empty, but for a few hints of what eludes me.
It is empty, but for the darkness that bursts alive all around me.

**

Thanks again for stopping by, and always remember to color the canvas with the colors of your day.
Take care and keep warm
dp

 

2014 02 09 I May Be Blind

I may be blind, but oh how I can see.

Although the darkness has crept in from all around, the colors continue to push it out of the way. A pinch of this, a memory of that, a recollection from way back when, it all becomes what I see, and sometimes, what I can feel.

With these memories comes the smells, the sounds, the feelings that instantly sweep me away and take me back to those specific dates and times when vision shaped and molded a young man.

As these pictures from the past keep me company, once in a while I seem to acquire the exact feelings from yesterday’s experiences. As though I’m right there, living through the moments again, a shiver runs up and down my spine. A feeling exactly from my past, from my moments, from my existence knocks on the door to pay a visit. It doesn’t last very long, but when it occurs, it’s almost like a déjà vu, a second helping, an instant replay of the senses.

During my initial vision loss, everything went black. I had what I call tracers, floaters, teases of visions running here and there, but they were just mental sparks showing me things that weren’t really there. As the next months progressed, I reclaimed a tiny portion of vision, but only the right outer peripheral, which I was told was a temporal vision condition that was a normal occurrence from the type of vision loss I experienced. Some of my colors started to creep in, like yellows, greens, reds and my favorite one of all, my Wal Mart Blue. I called it this because when my wife and I would go to the box store, I would see it all over the place. I truly thought my vision would come back.

It never did.

Over this past year, the colors have faded, the edges of the shapes have softened, the sun has grown dim and the features of the most beautiful creature on the planet have slowly and sadly drifted into the shadows of my memory.

I imagine that it won’t be long before I am totally blind, but I’m hanging on with all that I’m worth. My perception of light seems to be holding on, and for that I am grateful. I’m also grateful for having been given vision for fifty years. One of the ophthalmologists I visited back in 2010 told me that with my infancy retinal cancer, in his opinion, it is a miracle that I did have sight for those fifty years. His words brought it all into a totally different perspective for me. My outlook for my future changed then, and I try to hold onto his insight as I place one foot in front of the other.

Vision is the key to so many things in life, but the vision comes in so many different forms. The eyes of the world have the bulk of the sights, but the heart takes what the eyes see and shapes it into a complete experience. One by one, the recollections that are connected between the mind and the spirit set the heart pounding and the blood pumping. True vision, true sight, true glimpses of what we were, what we are and what we might some day become are the most important things that we will ever encounter. Of course, this is my opinion, as it is also my own personal vision.

I am only four and a half years into this new journey, and as a toddler does, I learn with each step. I see new things every day. I live different emotions every day. I feel frustration every day, but as I have throughout my life, I grow with each opportunity that I come face to face with. A lot of what goes on around me eludes my sight, but I sense so much more of what used to elude me.

The colors will always shine brightly within my day, and the bursting palette of memories will help fill one empty canvas after another with a vivid artistry of life. Like an artist looking for something to paint, I’m a feeling, an emotion, a memory waiting to happen.

I am blind. I am vision impaired. I am a member of the blind community, and oh how I am learning how to see.

dp

 

2014 02 08 Blessed February 8, 2015

Blessed

I’m blessed, or at least I feel that I am blessed, but how can I really tell? How would I know the difference? How on earth would I know blessed from unblessed? Is unblessed a word, and if it is, does it mean what I want it to mean? Am I rambling through the brambles like a billy goat usually does?

Back on track, or close enough to count, I truly feel blessed, and I’m not ashamed to say that some days I overlook those things that I should always recognize as blessings. It’s fairly easy to do you know. I mean, with all the commotion that some days have a tendency to shovel at us, it’s normal to forget the simple things in our lives as we are totally consumed with an abundant amount of things we call life. Coming at us this way, and that, we forget as we remember, and then we remember the things that we sometimes forget. Add it all up, and the blessings are endless, infinite.

I was talking with my folks this morning on the phone, and I told them how grateful that I was for having crossed paths with such an incredible amount of inspiration within the blind community. I told them how blessed I am with having such an amazing family. They both responded with similar feelings, and as we reminisced over the past, the feelings inside rose like a Quoddy tide, completely consuming my emotions with love, faith and hope. I then realized how these three things can get the human heart through almost any obstacle, any situation, any detour or road block or happenstance that can cause a spirited soul to stray off course.

I am blessed. This I know, and as I believe it I live it.

My mom said that with all of the situations out there, with all of the compelling stories of personal woe and torment, she felt extremely fortunate that for the most part, our immediate family made it through the years relatively healthy, and as we have grown older, we are still all together, as a family. Through the years, we have grown closer, even though the miles have pulled us further apart. Home truly is where the heart is, and our hearts are all clustered together, as one, strengthening our ability to overcome, to endure, to absorb, adapt and advance our way, together.

There are many different ways that the blessings in my life take shape. I am blessed that I am able to pray to a God every day of my life. I am blessed with support, with guidance, with opportunities abound, and as I recognize them, I am blessed with insight and strength to live the experiences and learn from the outcomes. I might be blind, but I am blessed with vision, with sight that for the most part had always remained unseen.

As the darkness of 2010 closed in on me, a light from inside grew. I’m sure that I have only scratched the surface of this light, but I suppose that recognizing its existence is a huge step towards each new chapter of my life.

I am blessed, and for that I give thanks. With the blessings comes inspiration, which until a few years ago, also remained for the most part, unseen and unnoticed. Taking notice of inspiration was very important for me, but being able to take it and utilize it to better myself is something completely different. As a child, I was always trying to catch up to my siblings, for it was they who were doing the inspiring. I idolized them all, and with an open mind and heart, I soaked up as much from them as I could, without even knowing it.

As we all learned from our parents, so have I learned from others I have crossed paths with. The family of the blind community has been alive and well long before I took my first steps, and it will remain vibrant long after I’ve taken my last breath. This amazing collection of inspiration has cascaded down into my life and shown that no matter how insurmountable, no matter how bleak, no matter how hopeless it seems, there are those who have gone through the same, lived through the same, grown up and through and out of the relentless grips of despair and pulled together as one to rise and live life to the fullest, taking advantage of, here we go again, those opportunities that disguise themselves as barriers.

I am who I am because of what I have become, and with a pinch of this and a dash of that, my ingredients, if mixed and blended correctly, will continue to offer up what I hope is some of the same as I have been handed. Passing it on, so to speak, is life, never ending. Paying it forward is a privilege, and for myself, is an obligation I hope that each of us takes pride in taking part in.

I am blessed, and for that, I give thanks to everything involved.

Blessed are those who live, who love, who learn and who give back what they have themselves been given.

Have an amazingly incredible day.

dp

 

2014 02 06 Essay – Poetry: Time and Time Again February 6, 2015

Well here I am, chugging along towards the second week of February, 2015. The year is six weeks old already, and there’s no turning back. It’s almost as if forward progression is all we have some days, and no matter how much you look to the past, when you realize that you’ve snapped back into the present, it’s later than it was before. Time waits for no one, and we always seem to be rushing around to be on time.

I hate to be late.
Always have, always will. Fashionably late to me seems like a lack of planning took control and had its way with all those involved. Lack of respect for time will usually end up creating unforeseen circumstances that could have been avoided if someone would pay mind to time. When you’re late, you’re late. Trying to turn back the hands of time only creates a void that you will never have the chance to take advantage of again. I’m getting to the age where my present time is absolutely what I make of it. I can’t wait around for something amazing to happen. My amazement, or a good portion of it starts with little old me. Not you, not them, not him. Ha! Most definitely not him!

It all starts with what we do with our time.

I wrote the following pasted piece of mind bending consumption a few months back, and when I read it, well, I’ll let you be the judge. ***

In Time

Tick, Tick, Tick, there it goes again.

Hands sweeping away the time of another timeless day.

Scores of seconds find their rhythmic beat as they continue to keep time.

Read along, and you’ll be right in time for the next chapter.

Follow the swirling hands of time, and hypnotize the day away.

Stack, and pack, while keeping track, and on and on it goes.

Write it down; punch it in, log on, just in time.

Same time as it was yesterday, right about this time.

There it goes, taking its time, again and again.

It will tell its own story, in its own way, in its own time.

Fear not, though it may appear to be just a waste of time.

Through the ages, the gentle caress of time will work it all out.

Breaking away the moments that made up Floyd’s dull, flittering day.

Isn’t it about time that we’re on time, just this one time?

A wonderful time, had by all who took the time.

In the knick of time, times two, and don’t forget to carry the three.

One last time, followed by just one more time, if you have the time.
Healing all wounds, while standing still, time and time again.

Time to start something new, hoping to finish it just in time.

Time to get up, to wake up, to stand up and get ready for bed.

Time to leave, to go, and to never look back.

For everything, there’s a time, and a time for everything.

In the nick of time, a stitch in time will surely save some time.

Timeless masterpieces find time to keep in time with modern times.

This is the last time, and probably the time before that.

Is there such a thing as an endless journey, followed by a timeless tale?

Isn’t it about time you found out what time it is?

I suppose I’ll let it go, but only this one time.

Time and time again takes up where time left off.

Once upon a time, there was time to dream.

It’s times like these that try the hands of time.

There’s no time like the present to make an effort to at least be on time.

This is the last time I’ll spend my time figuring out what time is a good time for you.

And there you have it.

Time, in all its glory, all its magnificence, all its wonderful wonderment will always end up being one exact thing.

Time.

No matter how you describe it, or spell it, or wish upon it, it will always be yours, mine, ours to do with however we deem appropriate. It will always exceed our wildest imaginations, and although it may fall short sometimes, it will still fall.

I have been on the other end of time, stood in front of the movement of time, waited for a long time, and wondered for a short time. I have taken the time, given up on time, looked for some extra time and wondered why time was taking so long. When time has run out, I would turn around to notice that all the time in the world was at my fingertips, and as I scooped up as much of it as I could, eventually I would figure out that I could always handle a little bit more.

Time possesses us all, and each of us possesses our own time.

There have been things in my life that have caused me to wish away the time, while other situations had me begging for more. When time finally runs out, it starts anew somewhere else. The countdown of life never ends, and as we live with each moment of our lives, we build a story that is bound within the hands of, you guess it, time.

Please, if you have a little time, take the time to have an incredible time today.

dp

 

2014 01 30 Poetry: Tell Me January 28, 2015

Hello again from the great, snowy North East. I wanted to tell you a little about the poem below. I wrote this piece back a few years ago when I was in the middle of the throws of vision loss. I was in a different place, a different frame of mind, and through the pain and suffering that went hand in hand with losing my sight, I have come through, on the other side, a much different person. I have tried to take the obstacles, the situations, the uneasy feelings, and make the best of them. With pain comes growth, and believe me, I have done some growing these past few years.

I thank you all for your support. Without you, I would not be where I am today, and where I am is right where I belong.

Thanks for stopping by, and here we go.

dp

***

Tell Me

Here I sit, alone in my thoughts once again.
Timeless stillness creeps in and out of the lonely night.
Cascading around an endless existence, the piercing shrills of voices past remind me of their purpose.
I hear the story, but can not see the tale.
Once more, I feel for the touch of simple memories, but they elude me yet again.
Trails of feelings, and passions gone by, I reach back to pull my youth to the present, but the resistance is too strong, and the attempt fails.
Here I sit, alone in my thoughts, as the day stretches into tomorrow.
The fears and the worries are for real.
The imagination and wonder are forever.
The pity and sorrow are but mine alone.
I share not these deep seeded chapters, as the stories would surely bore and tire.
Sleepless nights caress nothing.
Waiting for the dawn is a ritual I no longer admire, but still inquire.
I sit here, alone in my thoughts, but crowded with my fears.
surely I would give them all away.
Surely I would trade them in a heartbeat.
Surely I would never harken them again.
Though awake, I feel asleep inside.
Stirring emotions flow and bend as resistance strengthens.
How strong should I be?
How smart should I be?
How scared should I be?
How curious should I be?
So many questions need to be asked.
So many answers need to be heard.
So many inhibitions need to be faced.
So many, so many.
Need you not ask me whether I feel inadequate?
It should be fairly obvious, and all together appropriate.
Like a young child, I shiver as I trudge through the perils and obstacles, one by one.
Hold my hand and guide me through.
Hold my hand and show me the way.
Hold my hand and tell me a tale.
Hold my hand and help me love.
Hold my hand and pull me through.
Tell me what’s on the other side.
Tell me what to expect.
Tell me what to do.
Tell me how to feel.
Tell me when to laugh, and cry, and love.
Tell me what I have been missing.
Tell me. Please tell me.
Don’t leave me in question.
Don’t leave me as alone as I feel.
Don’t leave me to sift through the embers.
Don’t leave me to wonder how, or wander away.
Don’t leave me to fear the smiles, or worship the sorrow.
Don’t leave me without telling me the way out of the never ending forest of doubt.
Don’t leave me sitting here waiting for something that I have never seen.
I have seen a lot, but I still have no vision of lost truth.
Cast away my shame, and teach me to learn.
Teach me how to love.
Teach me how to spare my mind with endless rivers of self made anguish.
The light of the new day hints of things to come.
Slivers of truth carry with them a new found hope.
I can change the visions.
I can change the story.
I can change the fears and worries and inhibitions and everything sour to taste.
It is, after all, mine to behold.
It is, after all, my story.
It is, after all, what I seek.
It is, after all, Inside of me.
I seek the light, and the truth of self inside.
I seek love of self and endless praise of doings.
I seek help, and guidance, and lessons of the teachers of time.
In time, I will find the way.
The journey is marked with tainted promises that have eluded the truth.
The truth is what I search for, and ask about.
The question lives inside me.
Unlock my soul and set my spirit free.
Tell me I am not alone in my thoughts.
Tell me I am not alone.
Tell me, and I will listen.

 

2014 01 23 Poetry: In the Blink of an Eye January 23, 2015

Evening readers.

I love poetry. Always have, and always will. I’m not very good at critiquing other people’s poetry, and most of the time, I don’t know what to think of my own. I do know one thing though, and that’s when the words start to sing down through the page, and the rhyming comes in rhythmic tones, there’s no other feeling quite like it.

I have written about a lot of things, my youth, my family, my loves, dislikes, and yes, losing my vision. Nothing else seems to have gripped my soul when it comes to my writing, and although it has been a struggle figuring out how to be blind, I am blessed with the opportunities that it affords. The trip into my soul is expressible, and with words, the trip is helping me to figure out who I am, who I was, and who I might someday become.

I hope you like my poetry, as a few of them will find their way onto this blog.

Thanks for your support, and remember to keep searching for the learning.

dp

***

In the Blink of an Eye
04 09 2014

In the blink of an eye
It all changed
It all swirled around
It all disappeared

In the blink of an eye
A smile was lost
A tear was shed
A heart ripped in two

In the blink of an eye
The curtain was drawn
The lights went out
The sun disappeared

In the blink of an eye
The world stopped spinning
The universe imploded
The stars whispered good bye

In the blink of an eye
I searched for tomorrow
I searched for sight
I searched for You

In the blink of an eye
Everything was gone
Everything eluded me
Everything reminded me of nothing at all

In the blink of an eye
I started again
I started a new chapter
I started seeing a different way

In the blink of an eye
I learned how to crawl
I learned how to breathe
I learned how to walk through a different day

In the blink of an eye
I touched something new
I heard something new
I became something I never new

In the blink of an eye

 

 
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