In today’s blog, let’s have a conversation about driving. Yes, you heard it right, it is a Blind Girl’s conversation about driving. In case you didn’t know- I’m legally blind, and therefore, I’m not able to drive.
For a lot of people in the blind and low vision community, if someone is to point out that one thing blind people cannot do, it would probably be the inability to drive.
To be honest, I didn’t start thinking about driving, not until when nearly all of my friends now can drive.
I remembered, I cried the first time accompanying a good friend of mine getting her driver’s licence. And, I get ‘teary’ almost every time having a friend drive me around town. Also, did I ever mention, I find some people’s maturity through their driving. Somehow, their focused look on their face while driving looked like suddenly they’ve grown up a lot!
As much as it is a reality that I’m not able to drive, because of my eye sight problem, whether I accept it or not. Sometimes, it makes me think: let’s say that I’m a fully sighted person, and I’m qualified to drive, would I learn how to drive? Would I enjoy driving? I mean, I’m sure there’re sighted people out there that hates driving, and wished that they don’t need to drive every single day!
In my perspective, I don’t think I’m suited to drive, and it’s not just because I can’t see well enough to do the task. I may not be suited to drive because of my personality. As weird as this may sound, but it’s kind-of true. How I looked at it is this: some of you may know, I’m a highly sensitive person, and I’m also very emotional. The task of driving, is not as simple as it look. You can be a confident and reliable driver, but that doesn’t guarantee the people around you are the same. There are not only unreliable drivers, but also unpredictable pedestrians as well! And, sometimes, problems or accidents happen, and it may not even be because of you. Driving is not just about get on the road and go, there’s a lot to consider, which includes weighting both the benefits as well as the risks. As for me, I would say, I’m not willing to take that kind of risk. Considering my high sensitivity, it would probably be challenging, and stressful for me to become a driver.
Although, I sometimes envoy those who are able to drive. And, I know the convenience of having a car. But, driving is really not for me. And, even if I could see well enough to drive, I probably still choose not to. So, it actually worked out that I’m not able to. I’m still able to get around without a car, and especially without having to take care of one!
So, this concludes today’s blog on driving. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!
May is Vision Health Month. So, I want to take the time and opportunity to write a blog related to Vision Loss.
A lot of times, sighted people, or able-bodied people ask this quite frequently asked question to people with disability or with Visual Impairment: Don’t you find it scary to have a disability? Or, Isn’t Vision Loss just so scary?
Well, let’s answer this question, and have me explain you how I think about this.
To answer the question, I just want to say, there is no simple yes or no answer to a question like this, because a yes or no does not really answers to the question! But, I will first say that, yes, Vision Loss is scary, because the reality is: any kind of loss is scary, whether it is an emotional or a physical loss, and whether the loss is related to disability or not. Think about it, if you lose a friend, or a family member in life (which it happens in life, no one lives forever), almost no one would say that that’s OK, and I’m not scared or sad about it. An experience like this, it must be uncomfortable, and often, sad and scary. And, we all need time to heal from this kind of loss, but it won’t go away easily, it will always be there, and be a part of our lived experience, it’s a part of life. So, this is the same or at least in a lot of ways, similar for those of us living with Vision Loss. Losing your vision, is almost like losing a part of you, especially losing something or maybe a lot of things you were able to do, but probably ‘not as much’ able to do anymore. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything (that might be what you think in your mind, especially at first, and that’s where the fear is!), also the truth is: you will be able to learn to do things, just do them a little differently than before. So, because of such a loss, there must be an adjustment period, to that loss, and sometimes, give yourself sometime to heal from that loss.
However, Vision Loss can also be not as terrifying as you might think. That being said, just like any kind of loss, that we need to adjust to it. So, as long as we’ve made the adequate adjustment to Vision Loss, as long as we’ve first accepted the loss (meaning that we’ve accepted the fact now that we must live with it). To understand, and then to accept it, and then move on. There will be a huge grieving process, and it could take a long time, for some people as well, but that’s OK. Then, the next step is finding support, which is very important, whether it is from supportive family members or friends, people that care about you, or to find support through a community or an organization that helps people living with Vision Loss in the greater community, is also crucial. Then, it is to get on with the necessary training and learn skills to cope with Vision Loss. And of course, having a team of medical professionals also play an important role in this as well. Once you have all of that, you’ve created a huge network for yourself! Then, Vision Loss may not be as scary as you might think anymore. And, sometimes, by accepting your disability or your Vision Loss, it might give you the strength and make you a much more stronger person than you’d ever imagine yourself to be!
So, I hope this blog is able to give you an insight of how to look at your disability and your Vision Loss in a positive manner. And, I also hope that you’ve enjoyed reading today’s post! Thank you for reading to the end!
In today’s blog, I hope to bring some positivity and motivation to you, my dear readers! Today’s blog is about fighting a battle in life. This battle, is completely different from the battle fought in war, nor is it a physical fight between people in conflict. This battle, is the difficult challenges and struggles that one faces in life. Believe it or not, everyone is fighting a battle, regardless of if the person has a disability, or is chronically ill, or not. EVERYONE in this world has a battle of their own that they must fight, this is unavoidable, and undeniable, it is the reality of life: no one has a “straight sailing” in life. The fight, it often began as soon as the moment one is born. And, it is a continuous journey, for as long as our life last.
Here, in this blog, I want to share with you the life battles that I’ve fought and is still fighting throughout my life-time so far. Also, I want to say, this is not a blog ranting about my struggles, that is NOT the purpose of this blog, at all. Now, keep that in mind, let’s begin my life journey!
My life battle began the day when I was born, a pre-mature baby. I was born with a congenital heart defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, the condition is not too acute or serious, but, it did affect my overall physical health. I was a lot smaller and fragile, I also grew a lot slower than average healthy baby. At age five, I underwent a surgery to fix the defect, and it went successful. It was also around that age, my parents had discovered that I looked at things very closely, and I fell down and got hurt a lot more often. (before this time, they never noticed that I couldn’t see well!), Then, it was quite a shock for them to found out from the doctors that I’m severely near-sighted, and also have high astigmatism and other eye conditions.
In my childhood, I was sick a lot. I had a very poor immune system; so, whenever there is the flu season, I would always catch it. What’s worse than that was, even for a common flu, it would always turn into something more serious, like a fever or even pneumonia.
In my teenage years, I was a little healthier physically. I guess that my immune system had finally decided to stay stronger and not getting defeated each time when bacteria or virus comes around. But, it was around this time I developed mental health issues. I had so much trouble regulating my emotions, especially with anger and sadness. I was just not happy with my life, because of some negative and discouraging people in my life. Then, I became very negative, I had extremely low self-esteem and had even conducted numerous acts of self-harming (my teenage life was the most gloomiest time of my life, but, I have no intention to hide or deny that part of my life history). What’s more, most people that knew me during that time didn’t know I was unhappy, I seldom complained to anyone about my problems, because I kept most of it all to myself.
I moved away from home at age 20 to go to university (I attended school late, I know). At that time, I continued on fighting with the ‘mental demons’ inside me. It was not until a little later in life that I decided it was time to step up and seek for help. Also, it was around this time, I had discovered my eye sight was declining, that made life just a little more difficult. Then, as some of you may already know, in the summer of 2015, which was the year that I accepted my vision loss and decided to live my life as a visually impaired person. But, in that summer, I also made another acceptance, in which I have not yet to reveal, that was an acceptance of my mental health diagnosis (I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety/Panic Disorder). Everything happened so fast during that awfully difficult summer.
In addition, despite the vision loss and mental health acceptance, it was also around that time, maybe a little earlier, beginning in my early 20s and up until now, I was also fighting another battle, one that is unexplained, but is still under investigation. Since almost the end of winter in 2013, I was experiencing severe chest discomfort and pain, and it only happen in the winter months. At first, I thought it might be because of my mental health especially anxiety that is acting up to affect my physical health. Then, in 2014, I was told that I have a minor heart condition: Atrial Septal Defect, but nothing else could explain the cause of pain I was experiencing. Then, each winter, the pain seemed to be getting worse, to the point I had lost conscious at one time from the pain in this past winter. Then. I was informed that this could be the cause of Coronary Vasospasm. And, in another recent clinic visit, I was discovered of another heart condition: Aortic Regurgitation. Now, I’m faced with all of these medical terms thrown at me, one by one. It is a lot to take in, to understand, and to accept. Even though this is difficult information to take in, I have tried my best to accept it.
To conclude, this is the life battles that I had fought and is still fighting. The fight does not stop, for as long as I live. Even though I’m keeping my vision loss and my mental health in check, and I’m also managing the physical health aspect in the best ability that I can, but I need to learn and to know my limits. What I know for sure is that, the road of my past may not have been an easy one, but the road ahead could be a lot more difficult. Even so, I will not give up, and I will NEVER give up. I will do my best to overcome the challenges I face in life. I’m thankful to have these difficulties, because they made me re-think about life in a much more serious and positive manner.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little taste of positive vibe. And, thank you for reading to the End!
Today’s blog, judging by its title, I think you may already know what I’ll be talking about. And yes, this is one of those very personal, and very sensitive topic to talk about. Even so, I want to talk about it, and share that vulnerable part of me with all of you, because I know with the right people, you will be helpful instead of being judgemental. And, another reason as to why I want to share this now, is because that I am experiencing a phase of insecurity and vulnerability, so, it’s a perfect time to talk about it now.
As mentioned, this blog is about my Insecurity. And that being said, I will explain what I mean by this. I have two biggest and also strongest insecurities, and they’re anxieties that make me feel extremely vulnerable and insecure. My biggest insecurities are: Abandonment, and Change. Both, are also kind of very related with each other.
Let’s talk about Change. Change can be uncomfortable, scary and sometimes sad. When we are so used to be in one place or with certain group of people, we feel comfortable, and we tend to not like change to occur to us. However, sometimes, change happens, at the most comfortable satisfying, and happiest moment in our lives, and that’s just part of life, we can’t control that (I acknowledge this very well now, but it really did take a very long for me to accept and understand this).
For a long time in the past, I don’t like change, or rather, I hated it. I couldn’t bear to see or experience change, whether this change happened to me, or it happened to people around me. And yet, I’m constantly forced into witnessing and experiencing change. Then, there was even a time when I resented change so much that I had acted very inappropriately, but over the years, I’ve tried so hard to correct that, and it has been successful.
In addition, my strong emotion and sensitivity over Change has to do with my other insecurity, and that is: Abandonment (or rather, sometimes it’s a kind of attachment). I feel that change often makes me feel like I’m being abandoned, and when I’m so used to something, I become so attached to it (even though I know this is not a right thing to do). I will provide an example and show you what I mean by this. Let’s say, if I have a friend at school that I know for 3 or 4 years, this friend is graduating soon, and her plan after graduation is to move away and live in a different city; which means, we won’t be seeing each other every day now, and this is a change (for both of us, but especially for me, because I felt that the one remaining which is me, is somehow being ‘abandoned’ and I know that this isn’t true). Now, I hope you see what I mean.
So, knowing my behaviour and attitude I have over Change, knowing that they’re not appropriate and maybe not so normal, I’ve tried my very best to correct this kind of behavior over the years. However, it is easier said than done, and it is in fact a very difficult task to do. I may have become a lot less resentful to Change and to my idea of Abandonment, but, I’m still very emotional and sensitive when changes do occur in my life, and even some times, in the life of other people around me. But, I’m willing to work with my emotion and sensitivity, and of course with the positive and supportive people in my life, I’m certain that even though it may take a bit of time, I will overcome this insecurity, eventually!
So, this concludes today’s blog. I hope now you’ve learned a little bit more (and a different aspect) about me; and, maybe you could give me some suggestions on what I could or should do to help reduce my insecurity over Change and Abandonment, that’d be really helpful!
Today is a special day; today, I celebrate my First Year of Blogging!
Exactly one year ago today, I published my very first blog post, its titled: My Story, My Vision. It is a brief story about me and my journey with Vision Loss. I started off with this blog because I wanted to reach out to the blind and visually impaired community, I wanted to read and learn their side of the story, but also, I wanted to share my story with the others as well. Simple as that, that’s how my blogging journey began.
To be honest, I had a lack of confidence when I first started blogging, because, I didn’t know how far I could go with my blog, meaning if this is going to be a long-term commitment or just temporary (since I am a busy university student after all). Also, I didn’t know if my blog would reach to many people, or if any at all. But, one year later, I must say, I couldn’t believe the achievements and the friendships I made through blogging. And certainly, I couldn’t be happier with this!
So, in today’s blog, I want to share with you what I’ve learned and or gained through blogging:
I made new friends:
Thanks to blogging, I made a lot of new friends, especially friends in the Blind and Visually Impaired community. I am thankful for these friends, because your story gave me the courage and strength to share my story. Your story touched my heart, and it made me realize that I am not alone, and that we’re all in this journey together. I am thankful for you, and for making me strong. Your presence made a huge difference in my life!
I found a new purpose in life:
It is through blogging, then I became a public speaker. It is through blogging, then I started dedicating my time and energy in working as a disability advocate. It is through blogging, I found a suitable career for myself, and even this career may be different from a ‘normal’ job, but it is a job that I am now so passionate, and dedicate into doing, and in doing it well, because I believe I have the capability to do so. It is, as if, I just discovered a new purpose in life.
I learned important life lessons:
One of the life lessons I learned from blogging is: it’s pointless to compare yourself with others. It is natural that we as humans have this tendency of comparing ourselves with others around us, especially those that are ‘better’ or ‘more successful’ than us, because we all want to be better and successful, but the truth is: then we ‘beat ourselves up’ for it. We often see this world as a competitive place, but it really doesn’t have to be. Comparing oneself with others can be very dangerous and damaging, because the person that does the comparison doesn’t see his or her real strength and capability. The truth is, any one is capable, but not in everything, but we’re all capable with and in different things.
And, another life lesson I learned from blogging is: success is not measured by fame. Often time, we put success and fame together, and assume that a successful person must be famous or that a famous person must be successful. However, the truth is, it doesn’t always have to be this black and white. When I first started blogging, I feared of having no audience and I envied bloggers with hundreds and thousands of followers. The more I put my thoughts on that kind of thinking, the less motivated I become. Then, when I threw away those unhelpful, negative and even damaging thoughts, and instead, I just do what I love to do, without fear or comparing myself with others, that’s when I found my true passion for blogging!
To conclude, in this blogging anniversary, I thank all of you, my friends, my readers, and supporters. Thank you for joining The Invisible Vision Project family, and be part of this journey with me. I couldn’t have done it without all of you, and your accompany!
So, this concludes today’s Blog. Thank you for reading to the end!
Do you love food? I think most people would answer “yes” to this question. But, do you know how to cook? This, may not be a simple question to answer, at least for some people. Nowadays, most people (especially young professionals and students with busy schedules) would prefer to eat-out instead of cooking at home, because it takes time to go grocery shopping, and it takes more time to cook. Today’s blog is about cooking, and its relation with people; and a little bit about my own experience with cooking.
I want to begin by introduce you to a cookbook: Cooking in Heels, a memoir cookbook by Ceyenne Doroshow. Doroshow began her book by telling a bit of her life story, and how she got into cooking. Doroshow is a male to female transgender woman. Growing up and being transgender, Doroshow faced a lot of challenges and harsh reality of being transgender, even inside her own home and with her parents; she didn’t have a good relationship with her father, because of her transgender identity. However, Doroshow started learning how to cook at a very young age (influenced by her grandmother), and part of the reason for that was that she used cooking as a way to express the femininity side of her (because it’s more typical for women to do the cooking at home than men). And, the other part, was to help-out in the house, feed herself and her brother when their parents weren’t home, or bringing food to the table before her parents return home from work, and it helped her mother a lot. Gradually, cooking also kind of slowly brought Doroshow’s relationship with her father one step closer.
Cooking in Heels was written while Doroshow was serving her time in prison for a prostitution conviction, and of course to kill time, since there isn’t much one could do when he/she is in prison any way. However, another part of the reason that she wrote books like this cookbook was to advocate for her transgender identity as well as for other trans- people. Here is a link to the Q and A with Cooking In Heels and with Ceyenne Doroshow: https://bitchmedia.org/post/kichen-sister-a-qa-with-cooking-in-heels-author-ceyenne-doroshow.
When I first read that Ceyenne Doroshow learned how to cook at a very young age, I couldn’t help but feeling a bit guilty. Honestly, I don’t know when it’s the appropriate age to start learning how to cook, but I didn’t start until I moved away from home in university. When I left home, I needed to learn how to cook to feed myself. At first, one of the easiest meals I ever made was noodle soup, because it’s quick and simple. Even though I never learned how to cook from anyone, not even from my mom, but I did watch her cook, and therefore, I kind of knew the basics of cooking. However, because I was only watching but never physically did the cooking, when I was physically doing it, it was such a struggle, and I was very clumsy!
Of course, everything takes time and practice, but it does gets better each time, especially if you do it more often. I’ll say, from many years of exploring and experimenting on cooking all by myself, I can now call myself a confident cook. And what’s more, I found joy in cooking; and of course, good food always taste better!
I’ve Got a Time Bomb is a novel by a transgender author/ artist Sybil Lamb. The book is focused on Lamb’s personal story and experience in surviving an aftermath of a hate crime, where she was brutally beaten by two men with an iron pipe, and left to die by the side of the road. As a result, she suffered a brain injury. Due to her brain damage, it affected her balance, memory and language abilities. So, I’ve Got a Time Bomb is a novel that documented this traumatic event that Lamb went through. And the book is claimed by the author that it is to be at least 88% true!
I’ve Got a Time Bomb is dramatic, tragic, violent and wild; it also involved a lot of sexual depictions and cursing. Nonetheless, the novel is still very interesting to read. The structure of the book is designed in such an unique way, it matches with the title, in a time-bomb countdown manner, starting from 10 and ending with 0. The protagonist of the novel, Sybil D’Lye (the author adopted her own first name, personalized the story in another level). And of course, the use of wording and the language style is also very interesting to note. The novel challenges the traditional academic, accuracy and professional writing style, and instead, it uses word alternations for words like: “sumthin” for “something,” “bizznizz” for “business,” “cuz” for “because” and others. In addition, word alternation also used in words that represent a country or place, such as “America” for “Amerika” and “Canada” for “Canadia.” Furthermore, the year represented in the novel is also interesting, as the novel is set in the year 286 (note that year in the novel is in 3 digits!). Finally, what I also liked about the book is the art, (Sybil Lamb is also an artist), and the art appeared in between chapters of the book is so dramatic, and fun to look at, also kind of funky, so that definitely stood out.
However, what I didn’t like the book as much is the fact that it had a lot of cursing, it made me feel uncomfortable reading it. However, I do acknowledge and understand the anger and even the frustration and trauma that Lamb must had experienced the trauma and tragedy (of being beaten to death), and having to document such tragedy isn’t an easy task to do. And, the novel also says a lot about the reality and the experiences that transgender people face on a daily basis with regards to gender-based violence (hate crimes) and transphobia.
Finally, I want to conclude by making a connection between Sybil Lamb’s novel I’ve Got a Time Bomb with a song that I think could represent some of the themes in the novel. The song is titled “Pain” by Three Days Grace [Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud4HuAzHEUc ], Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band. I find the lyrics of the song “Pain” says a lot about Lamb’s experience, with the feeling of pain and the feeling of hurt. A lot pain is expressed in the novel, not only physical but also emotional pain as well. Pain, is also an indication that there is still feeling to experience, and when there is no more feelings left, it could meant for the end of something or it could even mean death. Life, is about having or experiencing different feelings, feelings of happiness, of joy or love, but also feelings of anger, sadness, hurt or pain. Traumatic events often cause us pain, but pain may not be always negative, because pain could be a feeling that could turn into courage and strength.