Surviving

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

2017 06 28 Journal Excerpt Page 42 June 28, 2017

 

Taking on a new challenge is always difficult. There’s things that can make it a little easier, such as having family, friends, folks smarter than you to guide you, advise you and pull and nudge you along. Knowing that there’s people there to help you is a gift. Not being able to see them makes things a lot different, but it allows you to build a level of trust that is quite different than the visual trust. Seeing is believing, but believing without seeing is absolutely priceless.

 

A universal receipt with a lifetime warranty.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 42

 

As we started the journey into another long, cold winter, another journey, another adventure of mine was coming to an end. I can’t remember exactly what time of the year it was, but it seems that I remember perhaps late fall, early winter when Mike Adams announced that he had pretty much taught me what he could, and that I should be fine with setting out on my own with my digital adventures. I was rather shocked to hear these words coming from him, for you see, I was under the impression that I would be receiving tutoring from him for the rest of my life. Or at least a close facsimile. Grin

 

Had I fooled him that badly? Did I appear to have a clue? Should I have acted dumber than usual? Would I even remotely resemble an adequately prepared user of assistive technology? Should I have started stomping my feet and sucking my thumb as he handed me a box of Kleenex?Did I still have my warranty?

 

Hearing these words from him, once again, brought forth an upwelling of anxious lava from a semi-dormant volcano of doubt, anguish, confusion and frustration. He had to know how vulnerable I felt. He just had to.

 

But it appeared that he didn’t.

 

Several times, he assured me that he was just an email away, and that I had proven to him that I was fairly capable to problem solve on my own. I guess from his perspective he must have known what he was talking about, right? I mean, he was the instructor, and I was the student.

 

Through this time in my life, I had never felt like such a student. I never felt like I needed to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. As I learned, I studied a little more, because I knew that I had one test after another coming at me, and this classroom was one of those that locked from the outside of the room, and I was on the inside looking for a chair. It felt like I was unable to sit down though, I guess for fear that something would pass me by without me knowing, or seeing, or noticing. Before 2010 I didn’t want change, but now, then, from 2010 on, the change was taking place whether I wanted it or not.

 

My digital life had taken a sharp left, and man how the scenery had changed. The light and shapes and contrast was still there, in all it’s dulled glory, but I had begun to see things from so many different angles. The sounds, the textures, the broken toes and jammed fingers and bruised shoulders spoke to me in a way that snapped me to an attention I had never known. I wanted to find a way to sleep it off, but each time I awoke, it seemed that I was more awake than ever before.

 

Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors. I got a million of them, and they all have a place.

 

Saying good bye to my assistive technology tutoring was a scary thought, but I didn’t really have time to think about it much. When I came across an obstacle, the hidden opportunity was there for me to dig out, inspect, develop a plan of attack and set out on a mission to conquer, to understand, to build another layer on a new foundation of survival.

 

I never realized what a blessing it was to learn how to type. I remembered back to those first few emails I wrote to Leona, and how frigging frightened I was that I would never figure out how to do it.

 

I, I, I. All that I did revolved around me. Self centered? Posessive? Selfish? How else would I have grabbed hold of so many things that kept appearing in my new dark world?

 

This new life had things in store for me, and going against everything I had lived through in the past, I met every one of these things head on, as though they were all meant to be, and I had no choice. I suppose that’s exactly how it was, and as correct as it ever gets, but damn did it scare the crap out of me from time to time.I wanted to face my fears, but was

it possible to face the fears when they remained hidden behind a wall of blind?

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 21 Journal Excerpt Page 35 June 21, 2017

Emotions come, and emotions go. The distance between coming and going can feel like a lifetime, but it consists of all the things that life is made of. A recipe of living, breathing, experiencing, discovering, welcoming, and yes, veering away from. Millions of steps towards a sunset, along a sunrise, away from the rain and towards a familiar face, it all brings us to that certain spot where, for some reason, we’re meant to be.

 

And here we go again.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 35

 

Through the rest of summer 2011 I did manage to stick with the two groups, and as the writing assignments piled up, so too did my confidence in writing overall. I had started writing short stories and poems about my experience of losing my sight, and as I almost forgot to tell you, late spring 2011 I started my blog. I can’t really remember how I got pointed in that direction, but as I write this entry now, late spring 2017, I am still writing and posting to my blog, which is entitled, Surviving.

 

I started the blog on Google’s Blogspot platform, and with the help of my then assistive tech tutor, Mike Adams, figured out how to do it. We spent a few sessions going over the ins and outs of blogging, but time and time again I was met head on with issues with the blog site’s accessibility features, or lack there of. Before I knew it, the moderator of the second writer’s group told me about WordPress, which was another blogging platform that, from what Jacki told me, was far more responsive to the needs of those like me who used screen readers.

 

I switched over to WordPress, and am still using their website today. I think I’m hovering around 400 or so posts to my blog, and am right now in the process of posting a series of entries containing this journal that I’m writing in right now. I posted page 25 today, that’s 25 posts, 25 days in a row, and I still have a few to go, especially seeing as how I am lengthening the size of the journal as I write. Grin

 

 

Turning back a couple months, Rosemary and I started back with O&M early spring 2011, and although I didn’t look forward to the mobility lessons, I knew that I needed them greatly.

 

Our favorite stomping grounds were in the city of Waterville, and away I went, following my white cane with a blonde haired woman ten steps behind me. She didn’t have me do any more lessons with blindfolds on, which was a reason for me to jump for joy. What little sight I had was lending me a hand, as it was giving me the opportunity to find and identify landmarks, as blurred and dull as they were. Contrasted items proved to be the most benefit for me, especially with snow on the ground. Bare pavement, parked cars, telephone poles, buildings against the sky, they all soon became my best friends. I learned very quickly though just how many tricks my poor, limited vision could play on me. I remember once sighting what I thought was a telephone pole between the road and I. I soon found out that the pole wasn’t next to me, but across the road on that sidewalk. Things like that really spun me around and smacked me upside the head. A reality check supreme.

 

Our excursions around downtown Waterville usually included a stop into a small Main Street sandwich shop, where we both usually ordered bagels and a coffee. I fell in love with their asiago cheese bagel. As we sat and consumed our drinks and foods, we usually discussed the lesson. I was able to go over issues that I was encountering, and how they were affecting my ability to maneuver behind the cane. Rosemary began asking me to write up overviews of the lessons, which turned into assignments that I emailed to her upon completion. At the end of our time together, I compiled the documents into one single manuscript, which I sent to her as well. I should turn that into a book some time in the future.

 

The lessons over those next few months were a constant reminder of my blindness, but they also helped to open my eyes to what might be in store for me. Rosemary kept telling me that besides feeling vulnerable, frightened, scared, angry, frustrated, inept, uncoordinated and mad as hell, I exuded a level of confidence with the way I carried myself as I maneuvered down the sidewalks of Waterville. She kept telling me that I stood tall as I walked behind my cane, and that people were always noticing me. I was fairly certain that the reason they were noticing me was because I was a very unusual sight. She continued to disagree, and kept telling me that whatever I was feeling inside, it didn’t show on the outside.

 

There were occasions where my mobility lessons ended up being a learning experience extraordinaire. I shrug these incidents off as extreme lessons, and believe me, the emotions that accompanied these instances were very, very extreme. ,

 

To be continued…

 

 

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.