I don’t like being blind very much. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty safe to say that I hate being blind. Once in a great while, for a few moments, during rare occasions, I forget I am blind, but then something comes along that snaps me back to reality and quickly reminds me that I am indeed blind. It’s not a good feeling, but as time goes by, I am able to accept it a little better each time it happens, and then, I move on, continuing to be blind.
Being blind has influenced so much of my life these days. It is teaching me things about myself that I never knew about. It is teaching me things about other folks that I never ever thought about. It is teaching me things about differences and rarities and variables and anxiety, oh how it has taught me about anxiety. I don’t think I ever knew how to spell anxiety before July 2010. I had probably experienced it before that day quite a few times, but had never taken the time to work through it to see what was on the other side. I probably didn’t dare to, for the uneasy feelings that associated themselves with the word. I still don’t feel very comfortable when I am faced with a dose of it, but I have been taught to work my way through the experience and make the best of what’s left over. I am very fortunate to have worked with quite a few folks who proudly hold the patents on a few different tools that I had never known before. Once again, I am reminded of a blog post from last year that talked about absorption, adaptation, and advancement. Three things that when combined, take you by the hand and lead you into tomorrow. Even though tomorrow’s tales are yet to be, knowing that no matter what they are can be lived, worked through and enjoyed is quite a feeling in itself, a feeling that hopefully we can all share together and learn as we advance.
It has been a wonderfully enlightening experience to have been able to meet the folks in the blind community these past three years. I can’t even begin to tell you how much admiration and praise I have for them. I can’t begin to tell you how much they have helped me to open my eyes again and see things for what they really are. I have grown so much because of knowing them, and I feel somewhat ashamed that before I became blind, even though I had a legitimate vision disorder, I never took the time to reach out and get to know any folks in the blind community. Perhaps it’s because I was brought up to feel as adequate as the next full visioned person? Perhaps subconsciously I didn’t let myself think of myself as being visually impaired? Perhaps, like so many other “normal” folks, I was too caught up with all of the shimmer and glimmer of a material world, and day after day, looked right over the top of something that was a representation of me, myself, and I? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Although I strived to be just like everyone else who had two working eyes, I was always aware, deep in the back corridors of my mind, that I was visually different, and as evident as that was, it was all overshadowed with me feeling and paying more attention to the fact that I felt different because of my looks, and not my vision.
And so I lived on.
Like I said, I don’t like being blind, but I am. I don’t like having to use a mobility cane, but I do. I don’t like banging into things and cracking my toes, but I do. I don’t like having to ask for help as much as I do these days, but I do. I am angry, upset, frustrated, mad as hell, grouchy, sorrowed, embarrassed, but I am also grateful. I am grateful, happy, enlightened, inspired, and blessed. When I first lost the vision in my good eye, I was flooded with just about every negative feeling and emotion that you can find online. I was at the bottom of the pit of doom, and I couldn’t even find the strength to reach up and grab the bottom rung of the ladder that led back up into the light. I was sad and empty, with no end in sight, that is, until one of my doctors put forward a slice of personal philosophy. After realizing how much of a pitiful wreck I was, he told me that perhaps I was looking at what had happened to me all wrong. He told me, in his opinion, with all that I went through as an infant, the cancer, the pneumonia, the radiation, the incredibly harsh and deadly hand I had been dealt, I had fought through and found a way to live a life filled with vision and sunshine for almost fifty years. I had proven that miracles do happen, and with the grace of God, I had been blessed with life and sight. I had beaten the odds, and I should feel nothing but grateful for the life I had forged through and experienced.
I had never thought of my life that way until that day. I had never looked at the glass as half full. It had always been half empty, and in those early days in July of 2010, the glass had started to crack and shatter, until I heard his words. Oh, how I heard his words. A more meaningful description of my life had never been uttered, Or perhaps I should say, had never been heard and understood. I was alive, I was still standing tall, I was still loved and I could still love. It’s just that I couldn’t see as good any more. Only one thing in my life had changed, and I didn’t realize it, but there were a lot more things in my life that were about to change right along with it. All of them would surround me, pull me up, and take me by the hand as I figured out how to once again put one foot in front of the other.
Talk about baby steps! grin That’s all I had those first few months. One little mini step at a time. One right after the next, and all of them into a new path of scary darkness, but I was not alone. I felt alone, well, that is until I figured out that I wasn’t alone, you see, another wonderful gift that I was given was being continuously told that I would never have to go through my new dark world alone, ever!
As I have said countless times, with the help, love and support of family, friends, and the professionals afforded me, I never did have to face any of it alone.
I do still fall back into the very comfortable, woe laden valleys of my old ways. I do still skim up against the wonderful highs, right after I have caught a current of hot air that has lifted me up out of the cold, dark valleys of uncomfortable dread. I rise with the tides, and fall to the ocean floor like a stone, but I never forget the voices of inspiration that echo around in my ever wandering mind. Even though this may sound corny, and even though it has been repeated again and again, I am right where I am supposed to be. I am full of worry, full of wonder, full of sadness and happiness and doubt, and it is wrapped in positive influence and persistent admiration from me, through me, around me, and even though I still sometimes weigh the good against the bad, there is no way, with all of the good that is available in my life these days, that the good will ever lose.
I don’t like being blind. I don’t like having lost my vision. I don’t like not being able to see the faces of the voices, but I am thankful and grateful for the new visions that I have been given. I am thankful and grateful and blessed because even with my next to nothing eyesight, there are so many things that I can still see.
If you can find a new way to open your eyes, along with your heart, perhaps there’s a bunch of brand new bonus material that you can see too.