Good day reader,
I pray you are doing well on this toasty Tuesday. Today’s entry is brought to you by a conversation I had with a dear friend in Iowa who also is in graduate school and happens to be blind. We were discussing what motivates us to keep on keeping on when all too often society either sets low expectations or flat out refuses to permit us to participate equally with our sighted peers all because we are blind. Whether it is parenting our children, accessing printed materials in school, finding employment or interacting with peers, we frequently have to be on our best game or at times face many criticisms. As much as I wish my blindness wasn’t a hindrance for others to get to know me, I have realized in some cases it truly is.
While I welcome questions, it is frustrating when I am constantly told, “You can’t do this or that” because you are blind. The world sure has drastically changed for the better when it comes to attitudes toward blindness; however, we sure have a ways to go. We still have a high rate of unemployment to decrease, many blind children who deserve to be taught to read Braille along with a myriad of access issues to fight for. This week there are two blindness conventions taking place; resolutions will be passed, records will be broken and many will realize the truth in the motto “live the life you want.” The real work comes in when those attending leave the safety and comfort zone of the blindness realm.
Well, to answer the subject of this post: I respectfully agree to disagree with the above attitudes, misconceptions and disbeliefs of our abilities. Just as most would think it absurd to say your visual acuity ranks your worth in society, our limitations do not define us. Rather it is the people we are, the contributions we make with our lives and how we choose to use the gifts God has given us which truly matter.
I realize I have to work harder than my sighted peers, because, well the world is not designed with blindness in mind which is okay. (I am not saying this to be snarky). I went onto graduate school out of necessity since I was automatically eliminated from undergrad jobs because I could not drive. This may not be a popular thought but I believe as people who happen to be blind we have to prove ourselves a bit more than our sighted counterparts. Guess what? It is all good because the qualities of a hard work ethic, determination that we have cultivated are transferrable skills. This can be said for anyone, no matter how much sight you have or don’t have.
No matter where you are, no matter what challenge you are facing I implore you to agree to disagree, be brave and keep on stepping forward. If I can do it, so can you, my friend.
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Until next time,