I promised myself at that time that I wouldn't really talk about the disability at all. Figuring that people would get turned off of the blog and because it's such an important part of my life, it would make me sad that no one cared. But today, I am going to talk about it. This wont be a sob story or anything. It's a true real experience type of story that I hope you can find some inspiration from.
I'm not one to talk about the disability in public. I try my best to be as normal as possible when around others because there'd be questions and looks. There are every so often, I wont deny it, but I want people to see me for me. One place where it's really hard to keep it under raps is at school. I was lucky to go through elementary school into high school with basically the same people. And in high school everyone that I had a class with in freshman year appeared in many of my classes through the four years. Because of these two things, everyone I was friends with or would say hello to in the hall knew of the disability. It was different because, I'll admit it, I was spoiled. I'd leave class for a half hour to go meet with my vision teacher or I'd have to go make things bigger on the copier. These people were OK with it. They even liked getting to leave class and go press buttons on the copy machine :) Although none of them were "true" friends, I was comfortable enough to be myself. They all even got to look through this thing that shows how I see so they could understand better.
Then I got to college. You'd think that I wouldnt have to try so hard..nope! I think it's because it's a more professional atmosphere and you'll have one class with these people and maybe never see them again. I meet with my teachers before classes start so they can feel OK with the situation. But we never tell my classmates. In fact, even if the teacher is actually doing something for my benefit, they will make it seem like they had planned it this way for the class. There have been a few classes though where it's been obvious to everyone else. They may not know the extent but know I'm different. They let me tell them if it's an appropriate situation but they never question and that's how I like it.
Last week though, something happened. Something I don't think I will ever forget and ever be comfortable thinking about. After class last Monday, one of the other students (a male who is at least 15 years older, he has an 18 year old child) approached me as we walked out of class. His words were mumbled: "not to sound forward but do you have turrets?" Umm...what? I was stunned. I do have something that goes along with the visual impairment. If my arms or head are still they tend to move or shake a little. Nothing to be alarmed about or curious about because, frankly, I don't even realize it's happening when it does. But again, I was shocked he asked this. He went on to say that his friend has turrets but doesn't take medication and that he figured it was either that or Parkinson's. What does medicine have to do with this? He had went overboard with the judgement. I can understand a simple question with my respond and then that's it. I had heard enough. I couldn't bolt though because I was the one that said he could ask. I thought he'd ask about the visual thing.
We had walked a good little distance during this conversation. I stopped so I could grab a snack and he stopped as it seemed he wanted me to continue walking with him but I didn't. I felt sick to my stomach. In the years of my life that I remember I have never had anyone ask about this. I've brought it up to very close friends but because it's so faint, it's never been a topic. I was nervous. Here's a guy alot older than me asking me this. It felt that he was looking down on me. We had actually talked about judging people on first impression in class that day. Honestly he's someone I wouldn't want to talk to in a public place. I had a million thoughts in my mind with one being the fact that in order to actually see this movement happening, he would of had to stare at me for a period of time, creepy! I'm not sure why but he's like obsessed with disabilites. Yesterday in class we were talking about people having different accents. I have a Boston accent, you have a southern one. He then asked the teacher if having an accent makes you have a disability. I had to bite my tongue. Accordig to him all of you bloggers with accents have a disability. Isnt that so nice to know? Anyway, moving on....
After our next class, I talked with my teacher about it. I needed clarity. I knew and still know it's something that probably shouldn't be a big deal but it's just that feeling. I felt vulnerable and upset and just blah. He sits behind me in class and like I told my teacher, I am uncomfortable around him. I prayed for him and for myself. I needed guidance. I wanted to cry. We chatted with her ending that it shouldn't of happened.
That afternoon, I was still disturbed. I was scrolling through Facebook and found this quote:
It couldn't have come at a better time. I think I cried for 10 minutes. Finally, relief. I prayed and he answered. I wont deny it, I go days feeling upset that I have this disability. I get depressed about it even. During the summer, there are days I don't leave the house expect for a trip to the recycle bin down the street. I have to rely on my parents and Brian to drive me places. If they are working or busy, I don't go anywhere. During school, teachers don't get it sometimes so I get frustrated and want to give up. I spend three times the amount of hours on homework than all of you would. I get convinced I don't have friends because of it. Some days I just want to be normal and see the world like you do. People forget sometimes (even Brian) and will ask if I see this or that. Um, no. I don't get the same experiences. Although it may sound selfish because I am blessed, there are so many things people take for granted that I so desperately wish I could have or see. That beautiful butterfly?' I didn't see it. That country concert? I can only hear the music. The girlfriends you went to dinner with last night? I don't have girlfriends but even if I did I couldn't get there. Again, it's not a sob story. It's just real life.
Which brings me to the point. The Lord has a plan for all of us. Many of us like to control what will happen tomorrow and like to plan things and feel organized. We need to remember though that this is the Lord's work and we need to surrender our plan to him. Things will happen in his timing. Although I get discouraged and wish I could be normal, I remember one thing. If it wasn't for me getting real sick with RSV and almost dying when I was two months old, they wouldn't have caught the visual problem. It happened for a reason. The Lord made me this way for a reason. If it wasn't for the disability I wouldn't have gotten to work with all the other students with disabilities in high school. I wouldn't have gotten to inspire people and help all my teachers see life differently. You may not all care because it's not a fashion post or something fun, but inspiring people is what I believe I am here for. I want to make a difference. I want to make someone's bad day better. I may not be able to do everything you all can but feel I have my own special ways and that's what makes me me.