Well hi there. And just how the heck are ya all doing? That’s just about what I figured…
I am supposed to go and speak tonight at an event in Augusta. It is an event that I had the chance to participate in last June. It is an Employability Skills Program, and it was offered to me by the Division of the Blind as part of my rehabilitation program.
I am supposed to speak tonight about what has gone on in my life since I took this program last summer. I am supposed to speak to the new group of individuals that are taking this same program, in hopes of being able to find employment in their near future. These people, like myself and the others who took the same program with me last year, are visually impaired, and need some special assistance to perform tasks, like me, such as special reading magnifiers, screen readers, and other assorted accessible oriented items.
You have to know that other than a few times back in school, and a few A.A. meetings back in the nineties, I don’t have much experience with speaking in front of people. The last time I did was at our town’s local chapter of The Lions Club, back last winter.
I have no idea what I am going to talk about, but it will probably be about me, since I was told that they wanted me to talk about me, and what benefits the program enabled me with.
I have not yet found work, which is what the program was geared to help with. I know that I will be able to find work when the time is right, and I am ready to take that next step.
For the most part, I have been able to remain positive and have kept persistent with an overall good outlook on my future. This is such a contrast from the way I used to feel about things. It is, as I have said in the past, a complete one eighty from my old mind set.
I still don’t know what I am going to talk about, but I’m pretty sure that there will be at least one person in the room that can relate to my message. That person is me, and as long as I can listen to my message, and hear through all of the road noise inside my head, then I will probably gain the most from what I have to say.
I think it’s a lot like when I write. I have no clue what is going to come out of my fingertips, and for the most part, am quite intrigued when I go back and read what I have typed.
I can remember last June, when I took this workshop, they had several individuals come in and speak to us, in the same format that I’m supposed to follow tonight. They had a great message, and their stories were not unlike mine, in that they had all been faced with obstacles, and found a way to work through them, and come out on the other side far better off than they were before.
I try to go over in my head what I might say, and it usually rolls around a while until I get confused. That happens a lot these days.
Large quantities of cheap drugs over the years have taken their toll.
One thing that I won’t have to worry about is the stares from the people in the room. That used to be the worst inhibitor for me. I dreaded having the stares, because I would always try to associate with them, what I thought the dialogue was that went with them. I was always trying to put words into people’s heads, but what I ended up doing was to put what I thought were their words into my own saturated head. Silent distractions that eventually did me in every time.
I know it was all me, and in no way could I read peoples minds, but still I tried. I tried hard enough to believe what I dreamed up.
No more of that crap though. There are no longer stares from people. There are no longer the silent whispers that went along with their deadly glares.
It really is too bad when I think of all the time I have wasted in the past, pretending I knew what someone was thinking. Making believe that I knew what they were thinking of me. Dreaming up the different ways that I could wish away so many situations that just were too uncomfortable for me.
The uncomfortable feelings came from deep inside me and no where else. Oh yes, there were times during my life that I did draw in stares from people, and hidden comments about how I looked. It’s what I did to myself, by myself, as a result of these numbered situations that really pisses me off when I look back.
The best thing though, now, is that my own self made road blocks are slowly being taken down by me. I am the one that built them, so I guess it’s up to me to tear them down. No one else will ever be able to do as good a job as me anyways.
So tonight I will go and speak to a group of people I have never met. I will tell them things about myself that until tonight, I probably had no idea of. I will tell them who I am, and where I have come from. Most of all, I want to let them know where I am right now, and where I want to go. I do have obstacles in my path, but they are obstacles comprised of different challenges that I have to face head on, because I have chosen to meet head on, and work through in order to get to where I am supposed to be.
I am supposed to be somewhere. I’m not really sure yet where that place is, but I sure as hell ain’t gonna find out sitting here with my thumb up the old kazoo.
I will let them know what I hope for, what I dream of, and what I want in my life.
These are all new to me. I always thought I had just exactly what I needed, and thought I had everything that I deserved. I thought I knew what I had to know, and that it was enough to drag me, half asleep, across the finish line, totally unaware of what I had overlooked. I thought I would never stray from my self made levels of comfort. I thought I was going to just coast into the sunset with a big old complacent stupid smile on my face. I thought I was equipped with just enough, to last me just long enough, to get me just far enough.
What the hell did I know?