Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Vision on Life

Good afternoon to you all and Happy Valentines day! :) Although I have an "about me" section, I wanted to talk with you today about why I started this blog and about a part of my life that sometimes defines who I am in situations.

Back in 2010, I started college at the community college not far from here. It's been the greatest experience! When I first started I really wasnt sure what I wanted to focus my major on. So, after asking the advisors for help, we decided to start with Liberal Arts. This was fine and the classes were great. This lasted until the end of Spring semester 2011. The problem with basic Liberal Arts was that while i could choose a few classes here and there, it was more focused on, well, the Liberal Arts side of things. Which meant that I couldnt really choose classes that fit the type of things I wanted to study. There was a point during that time that something happened that started getting me thinking. Ask me what it is...I have no idea, totally forget :( But something did happen and then throughout that whole summer, I felt that I was getting signs which were leading me in the direction of which major to choose. A little background on this. I have a disability, and I have a few cousins that also have disabilities. I have worked with people with disabilities all my life and have loved it. I also love hearing peoples stories and, from what I've been told, give great advice. So when I say signs, I mean things such as commercials on TV having to do with a particular disability or being able to chat with people and give advice. There were more signs but I forget. Anyway, when Fall semester of 2011 rolled around I went back to the advisiors and said what I wanted and they suggested General Studies. The advisor I talked to focused fully on GS, so I think he was bias when he said I should do it. After talking to one of the main advisors, we decided on Liberal Arts with Psychology concentration, and luckily, that's what I've stuck with and love it

Whats the point of that? This is where we get into my own personal stuff.

At 2 months old, I came down with a serious case of RSV and was hospitalized for two weeks. It was so bad that the doctors said I should have died. While there and having tests be run on me, they found that my eyes werent quite what they should be. After examining more, they discovered that I'm visual impaired (I'm registered as "legally blind"). This means that I cant see far distances. I cant see peoples faces, read signs or any type of words from far away. Even my near-sighted vision isnt the best. I cant read small print. I mean I can but it has to be wicked close to my face. This is something that is hard in evveryday life for many reasons. I've had this all my life and will continue to have it; it will never go away and they cant do surgery or anything to take it away. I'm not complaining though! Instead of actually getting into it, I have decided to share a part of an essay I wrote last semester on this topic

"I’ve come across many people that ask “How do you handle it?” or “How does it impact what you do everyday” or, my favorite, “are you able to go out and do things like everyone else can do?” My response: “ I’m the same as everyone else, I just have to do things in a different way sometimes”. I don’t like saying that this disability defines who I am and what I do, but in reality, it does. My everyday life doesn’t really change.  Although I’m capable of experiencing and doing the activities any other person does, sometimes it’s too difficult due to what the activity or experience is composted of. I like to use the phrase “I’m physically there but not visually there.”  When choosing what to do on a Friday night or on school vacation, most people can easily find something and go do it, and if they’re bored of it they can go somewhere else and not have a problem or any obstacle in their way. They’re reasoning “because I can and I’m free to do whatever”. Even though I have the ability to say that also, when deciding what to do on that Friday night I have to think about whether or not it’s safe, if it’s going to be really dark, if there will be any obstacles at complete the activity or being able to get the most out of it. Sometimes it’s a daunting task because I wish I could just get up and go like everyone else but it’s something that I’ve adapted to and am able to cope with. When I was younger it never made a difference to me where we went because the thought of “can’t I see this” never crossed my mind. I knew something was different but it didn’t phase me. My parents and family members were great at being able to tell me what we were seeing or what was going on so that I was able to at least follow some things. There were trips we went on where it was dangerous for me and I’d have to have someone right next to me at all times. Many people develop fears as they grow because of experience but for me the fears that I experienced when doing these activities were kind of already embedded in me. For example, we went once to climb some mountain with my class and it was very rocky and slippery. It was the first time I ever had climbed a mountain and so I should have had fear but because my visual of it was limited and different than anyone else’s, the fear of falling come about. As I’ve grown and have experience many unique things I’ve been able to have, what I call, a sixth sense in respect to knowing my limits and what’s best for me to attempt and what I shouldn’t.  My fiancé and I love to go out and do things and just be busy which I love but I’ve come to terms with the fact that there will be many times where I just can’t do the activity. It’s hard for my fiancé because he enjoys so many cool things and I want to be able to experience them with him and even though there are times I go to things just to make him or others happy, I can’t enjoy it myself.  For instance, my fiancé loves hock and we have a friend who has season tickets to the monarch’s hockey games. We go a lot with them and even though I know what the outcome will be for me, I go anyway. Sure, I ask questions and try to have a good time but what’s the point when you can barely even tell that there are players on the ice? My fiancé knows how serve my disability is but whenever we’re out somewhere he’ll sometimes slip and say “look at that” and all I can say, my famous line, “I can’t see that”. One of our favorite things to do during the summer every year is go see one of our favorite country singers. Even though year after year I know what happens when we get there, I still go because it’s fun and I can’t take away fun all the time. Music is great, people are great but there’s one problem: I can’t even see the singer on stage. As I’m sitting in the crowd listening to this concert I always ask myself if I’m crazy. We pay all this money to go see our favorite singer so I can just sit there.  I know I shouldn’t but I blame myself a lot for not being able to go places and for holding others back also. That’s why most of the time, I stay home while everyone else goes and does what they love or what they want to experience.  Being independent; it’s something I’ve been taught. Because of the many obstacles it’s hard to always be independent. I try to be as much as possible because I want to be like everyone else and I try not to let this disability run my whole life. For example, even when I’m getting a bunch of things I’ll ask to go into the grocery store alone. Being able to go shopping alone and successfully is something I’ve had to be taught but I love doing it. I go into the store and am able to find what I need to and cash out and leave; it’s perfect and I love it. There have been many times I’ve tried to be independent even though I don’t need to be because if I wanted someone there they would be but unfortunately I find myself, especially in the grocery store, saying one sentence over and over:  “if only people knew”. The reason for this sentence is because when I’m in a store and trying to get around I find that people don’t care. I mean they don’t care anyway usually because everyone just wants to get everywhere quickly and are always in a rush. I’m not complaining and I don’t need special treatment but here I am (or any other person with a disability) just trying to get one or two things and people just push buy or cut me off or bump into me because they can’t wait that extra two seconds. There have been times where I’ve just stood in an aisle and waited for people to pass. There have been times where all I can do is stare in disbelief and in anger but of course I suck it up and finish what I’m doing. It doesn’t happen all the time but this is just one example of when I want to be independent and it’s sad that I can’t even have that. None of this independence would be possible though with the help of someone driving me. Driving: it’s something that makes me happy and sad at the same time. I’ll never forget the moment I found out I’d never be able to drive. The .  reedom of getting in the car and driving somewhere was taken away from me. It was one day in elementary school. My vision teacher (who was a teacher for students with disabilities to help with whatever was needed in the classroom) was making one of her regular visits to my classroom to check up and help me out. The other students were asking questions to me and her about my vision and someone asked me if I’d ever be able to drive. Before I had a chance to response my vision teacher said the word I wish I never had to hear, “no”. I was about 10 and hadn’t really gotten introduced to what my disability actually entailed and how it would affect my life. It was a moment of heartache, of confusion, of the question “why?” and of, what seemed like,  the functionality of my life being taken away. I can still feel the shock in my heart. Luckily though I was able to adapt to it nicely and still do. When I was younger it didn’t really matter; because I was allowed to stay home alone, wherever my parents went I went too. Because I didn’t have any responsibility at the time or anything special to do, there weren’t those times where I’d have to ask for a ride.  Now that I’m older and have responsibilities, there are many times I have to ask for a ride (even if it’s just to go down the street to the store). Sometime that’s a difficult task because I only have three people that I can rely on and if they are busy well I have to wait. This is something that I know I have to deal with but it gets me upset when I can’t go anywhere because I like being independent. If everyone is busy and I don’t really have anywhere to be I am sometimes stuck in the house for days. I don’t mind but it’s hard when I want to get out of the house or go somewhere and someone doesn’t feel like going anywhere. When I’m booking my next doctor’s appointment or have to make a commitment to something and they ask if I have a specific time I can come because of school or work or something, my response is “no actually I have to book this around when I can get a ride” and they usually look at me funny. It doesn’t take much to please me so it doesn’t really matter if I stay inside all the time but when it comes to those few things I do need to do I have so much supp[ort in getting me there. One of those places being school.`I’ve always loved school and I’ve always done well. It’s ironic because I have a visual problem but I’m a visual learning. I’ve had my struggles with school but have met so many great people that have helped me along the way and if it weren’t for them I don’t think I’d do as well as I have. When I was in preschool I met my vision teacher. As I said before she helped me with anything I needed. She continued with me through elementary school, junior high and high school. I was given the best help in high school and I could never thank those people that helped me enough. There were many accommodations that needed to be made and many things with the lesson plans the teachers made that had to be revised. It was hard for many of the teachers because they had never had a student with a disability like mind. In fact, one day in psychology class (we were about a month into the class so the teacher knew very well what I could see and what I couldn’t) the teacher was writing notes on the board. I was following along best I could and had my helper sitting next to me. Out of the clear blue he looked at me and asked me a question about what he wrote. All I can say was, “I can’t see that”. The room of voices just a minute before that got completely quiet and it truly was the most embarrassing moment of my high school life. There were many modifications that had to be made and they were done perfectly. Because I couldn’t read the board, I had a friend always sitting next to me. We’d chat while the teacher talked and that person would take notes for me. There was this special paper that was used so that the notes that were written went to a paper attached to it so that we both had notes but they were only written once. I had to have books that were insanely big. Whenever there was a worksheet or homework it had to be enlarged on the copier which was sometimes a pain. Even though there were so many things that had to be accommodated for me and many exceptions that had to be made, I had the best support team and best teachers anyone could have."

I honestly enjoyed being able to write this essay. sometimes it's hard for people to actually understand and it's hard to tell them. This disability isn't all that I am and certainly will not take control of this blog. I wanted to put the subject out there because nothing I do in my daily life is alot different than anyone else's, it's just done in a different way and I want to (sometimes) give my perspective, just like I love hearing all of yours! There are so many different situations that I've had to improvise but I wouldn't change it for anything. 

I hope this post has given you some insight into a different way of looking at life. Please dont be afraid to ask me questions, I welcome them!

Have a great night everyone!!

Krissy Girl :)


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