Introducing my cane | Dr. Amy Kavanagh

I love when other bloggers share their thoughts and feelings about using a white cane.

 

A white cane is not an easy thing to start using. It’s a process that many of us have gone through be it willingly or unwillingly! If you are reluctant to use a cane – reading blogs like this one by Amy, and other blogs in the GGB category “Life With A White Cane”, may help you take that next step towards walking with a white cane. Remember, you are not alone in your struggles. – GGB

Cane Adventures

I started using a long white cane in September 2017. Although I was born with sight loss, it took me 28 years to realise that a long white cane was the solution to so many problems.

I used to think that canes were only for totally blind people. I thought because I was registered partially sighted, I didn’t deserve one. I could manage just fine. I only fell over sometimes right? I only bumped or people into stuff occasionally? I tripped up steps or down curbs now and then. I only got really disorientated and totally panicked once in a while…

Like many visually impaired people I’ve spoken to, my decision to use a cane was a long difficult process of self acceptance. Using a cane means that you are really accepting that you can’t see and that you do find some things difficult. Initially it felt like sticking a…

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What Does It Mean To Be Enough? | Mel Scott

When looking back on five years worth of blogs, there are just a few that still feel important for me to read over and over for myself. I think this one especially is worth revisiting. I changed the name because it applies to everyone.
What does it mean to “be enough?” How does it feel to “be enough?” How will we know when we have reached that blissful state of “enoughness?”

These questions have been churning in my brain consciously for years, and probably subconsciously all my life. Well, I have been pondering on it long enough. I have some ideas that might help sort it out.

To say, “I am enough” is a very different statement than, “I have enough.” We can quantify “having enough:” there is enough food, shelter, or whatever it is that is required. “Being enough” is a bit more allusive. It is a state of mind. To be willing to say, “I am enough” and truly believe it, even for an instant, allows for a feeling of inner spaciousness; a peaceful expansion of consciousness.

I could easily tell you at this point to do twenty affirmations everyday saying, “I am enough,” and eventually you will feel better. This absolutely can be an effective practice. I use it myself but I want to introduce another idea.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation and the person said to me, “I am sad because I am not enough.” Usually I might have said something like, “Of course you are enough. Look at all the people you have helped and influenced over your lifetime.” There are a lot of dismissive remarks I could have made. This time however, what shot out of my mouth was, “You are right! You are not enough and you never will be, so get over it!” I felt kind of shocked when it spilled out of me, but I realized the truth of the statement immediately. How can any of us ever be “enough” when the To Do List is infinite? How can we be enough when we feel “less than” due to blindness, deafness, or a thousand other physical conditions, or when the size of our pants aren’t the size we have decided is the perfect one? How can we ever be enough when we measure ourselves bya super hero we have conjured up in our own minds? How can we be enough when the mark moves up as soon as we reach it?

We can’t! There is no way! Therefore, to be sad about not being enough means you will be sad about it the rest of your life. That does not work for me.

The way I see it is I can either drop the thought, “I am not enough” and even drop the thought “I am enough.” They really are not useful because a measurement is inherent in both statements. I propose we drop them both. Can you imagine that? You never have to be enough again and you never will feel sad again because you are not enough. “Being enough” is no longer a measurement that applies to us.

How does that feel?

For me, a whole world of guilt-free possibilities just opened up. So much inner space can be created if we get over “being enough.” Let it go and observe how you feel. Take it in and you might breathe easier.

*This blog was orugunally published on BlindAlive | by Mel Scott

19 Blind Blessings I’ll Be Bringing Into 2019

As the years go by, some of the blind blunders and battles that made me anxious, angry, or annoyed in the past have slowly converted into what I’m going to call “blind blessings”.

Personally, going blind in a matter of months was the farthest thing from a blessing. I can’t change my eyesight, but I’ve been able to change my mindset (for the most part) about this unexpected life. For example – I can’t drive which totally sucks and always will, but the blessing is that I get to spend more one on one time with friends and family when they drive me places. Such a better way to think about things. Right?

So, I got to thinking. There must be at least 19 of these blind blessing conversions I’ll be bringing, or dragging kicking and screaming, into 2019. Here is what I came up with – not in any particular order.

My 19 BLIND BLESSINGS

1. My remaining vision. I have most of my peripheral vision remaining – it’s not great, but I use every bit of it.

2. I am able to “see” people for who they are on the inside – their mind, heart, and soul tell me more about them than the color of their skin, choice of clothing or hairstyle ever will. Trust me, this can be good or bad for some peeps.

3. I have met some fantastic people inside and outside of the LHON and blind community. Many of them have become close friends and confidants.

4. Being recognized and given opportunities to speak about ways to support the blind, use and promote local assistive tech, and/or tell my story to large and small audiences — is amazing. Always an honor and a rapidly growing passion for me.

5. I can’t see the extra 20-ish-or so pounds I’ve packed on post vision loss in the mirror. A blessing and a curse.

6. I don’t see the nasty color of my fruit and veggie smoothie. I just drink the sh*t.

7. My friends can see when my wine glass is almost empty. Needless to say, my glass is rarely empty, and I don’t have to think about getting behind the wheel after one too many. 

8. Stemless wine glasses. Enough said. Perfect for #7.

9. Asking for help, or accepting help, isn’t as difficult as it used to be. It can feel a bit empowering.

10. I can tell the difference between peanut butter, plain, and peanut M&Ms by feel. Explains #5.

11. I can “blindly” cut a piece of cake that is a bit more than I should eat. Oops. Gimme a fork. Explains #5.

12. I’m an old dog who CAN learn new tricks. Assistive technology and Apps for the blind are better than ever – they all just take time to learn.

13. I can scroll through my emails and social media, text and make phone calls, plus lots of other stuff – on my iPhone/iPad even though I can’t see the screen.

14. I’m not obsessed with taking selfies. 

15. I rediscovered my creative side. I can create my own images and graphics on my computer with the use of magnification and  Canva.

 16. Spider? WHAT effing spider??

17. My white cane can get me a front row seat if I work it just right!

18. I can still see the color blue. Blue stemless wine glasses would be wonderful for #7.

and

19. My blog is, and continues to be successful. It gets shared all over the world by my awesome followers!!  They are the BEST!

So, there ya go. I know there are more than 19 “blind blessings” in my life – but I’m gonna stick to the – 19 into 2019 – theme here. I want to give a big thank you to all of you who follow and share my blog!! You guys are a huge blessing to me!! Wishing you good health, lotsa love, and heaps of happiness in 2019!! X ❤️ – Maria

What Is It Like To Be Blind At Christmas? | Tamara Gaudet

Christmas is my absolute, hands down favorite time of year.

Has been ever since I was a little girl. I would wait for Santa and hope he heard my Christmas wish. Then, growing up Christmas traditions continued and my love for this holiday deepened further. And now as a 44-year-old, I’m a proud, but pitiful knock-off for Mrs. Clause.

Usually, by December 1st, our home is all decked out. I put up the outdoor lights, although I don’t use a staple gun anymore. I decorate our tree, walls and windows. Hang pictures and hang stockings. But, with this year being such a tumultuous one for many of us, I’m a little behind.

In fact, my Christmas Spirit itself missed the first train…maybe even the second.

But then I realized we NEED the joy. We need the love. WE NEED CHRISTMAS! So, that means I was not going to miss the next train!

Christmas time is so beautiful. With all the sparkling lights, shiny bows, gift wrap and exquisite Christmas trees. It’s hard not to be in awe of it all.

So, when I was asked the question “How does a blind person enjoy Christmas?”, it made me think for a moment.

This Is How…

Do you hear what I hear?

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment nothing but the distant ring of winter bells. Maybe in a song or in the streets. I hear Angels.

Truly listen when you hear a Christmas choir or when children sing. I hear happiness.

Or how about when a gift is given? A gift of a smile, a hug, something desired from Santa or a hot plate of food. I hear gratitude.

Do you see what I see?

With just 1.5% vision, I am able to see the flickering of Christmas lights up close. The darker the room and brighter the lights, the happier I feel.

I also see my friends, family and community coming together to celebrate the holidays and each other. To share memories and make new ones. To give and to love and to “be.”

But most of all, what I see and hear at Christmas is the most beautiful thing of all. Love. It’s kind, generous and all forgiving. It’s honest and compassionate. It knows no limits and knows no fears.

So, how does a blind person enjoy Christmas? I actually hear, see and feel a lot during this magical time of year.

And, I didn’t even mention the delicious and festive food that makes it’s way out and on to my hips 😉

I hope you will allow the love and the joy to carry you through your holidays this year and every year to come. If you do, I promise it will be a beautiful gift for you and the people that surround you this Christmas.

Feel the magic. See the miracles. Bring the joy.

About The Author

Tamara Gaudet is a thought-provoking, motivational diversity speaker. Known for her authenticity, humor, moving storytelling, she delivers a unique perspective and a powerful message based on her own real-life experiences. Tamara’s mission is to create a space where all individuals feel accepted, respected, and valued.

What Is It Like To Be Blind At Christmas? was originally published on Besomebody.com on  December 4, 2017. 

Blind Reflections | Lynne Nicholson

Don’t Limit Yourself  | A Blind Reflection by Lynne Nicholson

Obstacles can seem insurmountable.

Two years ago, if you’d told me that I’d be making quilts on my sewing machine, I’d have thought you were crazy, as I had learned a month prior I was losing my sight – now I’m Blind Woman Sewing!

Two years ago, I thought my independence was gone and I would need help getting from A to B – now I’m Blind Woman Walking!

Two years ago, I thought I’d be a burden to my family but I still can babysit my grandson.
I thought my life would be sitting around waiting for people but I’m often out and about and even have started new interests including blind tennis – now I’m
Blind Woman Living Life To The Fullest!

Don’t let others limit you.
Don’t limit yourself.
There is always room to grow.

Via GGB Facebook – October 25, 2018

Photo description written by Lynne: A quilt in progress. There are hexagonal blocks made from equilateral triangles laid out on a bed to work out the final position on the quilt. Each hexagonal block is made from five triangles in a single autumnal print and one triangle made from plain navy fabric. There are a total of ten different autumnal prints in this embryo quilt. 

About Lynne

A cute illustrated picture of Lynne. She has blonde short hair a big smile and is waving. her hand as if to say Hello!Lynne Nicholson lives in the UK – in a place called Welwyn Garden City in the county of Hertfordshire. She was diagnosed with permanent sight loss at the age of 55, and was registered blind a year later.

I met Lynne thru my GGB Facebook page and she always has great things to contribute to GGB conversations, (like the above). She is fiercely independent and determined to live her life with passion, not pity.❤

 

 

 

17 Easy Ways To Make A Blind Person’s Day | A Slice Of Satire

I came across this little gem on Facebook with no author. I found out that it was originally published on Where’s Your Dog? |November 2015. It’s brilliant, sarcastic, and witty. I thought it deserved to be featured on my blog!

Now, who’s in the mood for a little sight loss satire and humor?

17 Easy Ways To Make A Blind Person’s Day | By Where’s Your Dog?

1. When introducing yourself, use loud, exaggerated speech. Since we’re blind, it’s safe to assume we’re a little dim, too.

2. Don’t speak directly to us. It’s always best to talk over our heads like we’re not there at all, especially if you are offering a service. Example: “What would she like to order?” Be sure to ignore our attempts to answer for ourselves.

3. Grab or otherwise manipulate our bodies whenever and wherever you deem necessary. For example, if you intuitively perceive that we’re going the wrong way (even if you haven’t asked where that is) just snatch the nearest limb and lead on, Macduff!

4. If you aren’t in a position to grab us, you can always shout instructions in the hope that we’ll know what you’re talking about. If we look baffled, just keep repeating the instructions in an increasingly frantic tone. We’ll clue in eventually.

5. Remind us often how grateful we should be that people are willing to provide accommodations for us. While it’s unlikely that we will ever, ever forget this for more than five minutes at a time, it’s a good idea to slam the thought home when we’re not expecting it. It builds character.

6. Stage loud conversations about us while we’re in the room, because we won’t hear. If we hear, it’s okay, because we won’t understand. If we understand, it’s okay, because we won’t care.

7. Keep all conversation firmly focused on blindness. If we try to interject by discussing our education or interests, just redirect us. We get carried away trying to be all normal, so it’s helpful to keep us on track!

8. Be sure to describe all the other blind people you’ve ever met, in extravagant detail. We couldn’t be more fascinated by that blind guy who skied, and that other blind guy who went to school with you, and that blind girl you met on the train once—the one with the cute puppy…

9. Make a habit of asking us why we’re “here”. If we’re on the bus, ask us why we’re out alone. If we’re at work, ask us how we got the job. If we’re in class, ask us why we’re in university. If we seem offended, ignore us: deep down inside, we really enjoy presumptuous interrogation!

10. Dispense advice about how we should live our lives; the less you know us, the more valuable your feedback will be. If you need a good starting point, you can begin by analyzing our mobility tool of choice (cane or dog) and emphatically demanding that we switch. We love that.

11. Involve yourself in our love lives, specifying exactly the type of person we should date and why. If you think we should date a sighted person because they’ll be able to take care of us, we’ll want to hear all about it. If you think we should date a blind person because we should “stick to our own kind” we will be all ears!

12. Give us things—money, coupons, whatever—because you pity us and want to make our day better. Don’t be phased by any apparent expressions of confusion. (“Oh, that’s just my gratitude face!”)

13. Stop us on the street and thank whomever we’re with for helping/taking care of/being so kind to us. It’s not as though we have real friends who genuinely enjoy our company. No: if we’re out with a sighted person, they are fulfilling a purely charitable role. They will appreciate your praise, and we will feel extra extra grateful!

14. Place your hands on us in any public place and pray. If we gently explain that we don’t want to be prayed for, rest assured that it’s just the secular cynicism doing the talking. When our sight is miraculously restored, you’ll be the first to know.

15. Make as many potentially dangerous practical jokes as you can think of. A few good ideas include warning us of imaginary obstacles (“Watch out for that tree-just kidding!”), concealing our possessions, and encouraging us to “find” you while you run gleefully around us in circles. These were a staple of primary school, and I treasure many pleasant memories from that era. Do me a favor, and bring back the nostalgia!

16. Refer to us as “that blind person” even after you know our names. Blindness is so integral to our identities that our names are really just decorative, so there’s no need to remember or use them. If we fail to answer to “Hey, blind girl/guy!” just keep trying. We’ll learn to love it.

17. Assume that our default status is “Help!” If we reassure you that we’re okay, thanks, don’t fall for it. Insisting upon rescuing us every time we cross paths places us into a position of dependence, which is exactly where we belong.

GGB NOTE:
Yes, this is written with sarcasm, ridiculousness, and funny exaggerations related to situations that blind people experience – much like some GGB blogs! I’m sure it wasn’t written to offend anyone. So, lighten up! xx

The Best Kind Of Help | Dr. Amy Kavanagh

After the great response to my last post “I’m Not A Fan Of Your Hands”, I wanted to feature this brilliant blog written by Dr. Amy Kavanagh to further educate others on the best kind of help for those with sight loss.

The Best Kind Of Help | Dr. Amy Kavanagh

Many of you will be familiar with my #JustAskDontGrab campaign. I share my experiences of people who grab, push, pull and generally touch me without my consent under the promise of offering ‘help’. Check out my Just Ask Don’t Grab Campaign page for more information.

Today I wanted to share the best practice, the helping heroes, the people who really did do a good thing and made a difference. Here are my top tips on how to offer help and some of my best examples! To find out Amy’s top tips, continue reading at Cane Adventures! 

If you want to read more from Amy on her blog, go to Cane Adventures

Check out Amy’s #JustAskDontGrab Campaign and be sure to follow her on Twitter – @BlondeHistorian

GGB Note:

Many people who are legally blind, including myself, appreciate those who want to help us. It is not any blogger’s intention to discourage anyone from offering to help a person with a disability. Feel free to ask, not grab – we like our independence and personal space just as much as anyone else! xx