Friday, April 28, 2006


The one thing that prevented me from developing my own blog in the past was my unwillingness to start any journey without a clear destination in mind. I knew I wanted my own outlet to express myself. But I didn’t want my blog to be rambled expressions of whatever popped in my mind and whatever I was inspired to scribble my opinion about. I wanted my blog to have real purpose, to be strategic, to liberate, and to penetrate. I pray that I accomplish that with this blog.

Now that I am here, present on the World Wide Web, I must get organized. Being that I am a person that has many layers, experiences, and interests, I foresee that my entries will often times not be related to one another. So, for the sake of organization and clarity, I have developed a schedule in which I will adhere to. Hopefully, that will help you and I understand what’s going on, at least when it comes to my blog.

Each Monday, I will post entries that discuss disability issues. My friend asked me to disclose my experiences as a blind person in America. I must say, I really did not want to specifically focus on my experiences. But I will use my experiences to help explain or converse about some of the many barriers that people with disabilities must knock down, leap over, dismantle brick by brick, or dream about not really being there. I am mainly concerned about employment issues, the social aspects of disability, societal prejudices regarding disability, and accessible technology.

(Disclaimer: I am not the spokesperson for all persons with a disability. These will be my experiences and my opinions about my experiences.)

Each Thursday, I will post an entry that discusses my opinion of various social issues: politics, race in America, economics, and so on. I’m full of opinions. So, I don’t expect to not have something to write about on Thursdays.

And finally, each Friday, I will post an entry discussing health and wellness. The health disparities in the African American community are staggering. We have to close these gaps. I firmly believe that health literacy, compliance, and increased self worth will help African Americans lower these startling stats.

I will begin my purpose filled blog next week. Until then, be encouraged and be a blessing to someone else.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Learning to Cherish the Gift of Life

While working as a consultant for a small school district, I was asked to place a visit to one of the students that was severely disabled. I was asked to stimulate him through friendly interactions and play. I arrived to the classroom with my box of instructional toys, and was introduced to a small, eight-year-old boy strapped in a wheelchair. I greeted him, but he did not respond. I grabbed his hand, but his fingers were limp. His little head was slumped over. The child had not even looked up at me. I took my hand and placed it under his chin and lifted his darling head up. “Hello.”, I said. No salutation, moan, laugh, or wiggle came from the child. “How can I play with this child?” I thought. “His body is here, but he’s not.” I wanted to put all of my toys back in the box and leave. I felt saddened and upset for the child. How could anyone want to live that way? But I couldn’t leave. I had to do my job.

I tried to get a response out of him with my toys. I pulled out my rattle and put it in his hand. But his fingers did not grip the handle. I cuffed my hand over his hand so that he would hold the rattle. I shook it. But the boy did not respond. I pulled out my talking, school bus that sings the alphabet. But he was not interested in the bus or the happy melody that poured from the bus.

His teacher suggested that I try a toy that she described as his favorite. I placed his small, bony hands on the colorful toy and pushed a button, the toy started to vibrate and ring silly sounds. I couldn’t believe my ears. The child hummed a high pitched sound that sounding like he was expressing joy. “What? A sound from the boy?” I thought. Then I heard light tones coming from his mouth. His teacher said that he was laughing. I pressed another button, the toy buzzed and rattled. The happy sound came from the boy again. I was so delighted to see this lifeless child be filled with happiness and joy.

Last year, when the highly controversial case of Terri Schiavo, a severely brain damaged woman, who was in the middle of a highly inflammatory legal dispute between her parents and her husband on whether or not to keep her alive, was introduced to the world by the American press, I thought about my small, severely disabled student. I’m ashamed to admit that I initially thought this darling boy’s life was not worth living. But inside of his little body was a little boy that enjoyed what I thought of as simple and unimportant. He was enjoying life in his own way. I’m sure that the child’s mother would have been devastated if her little one was completely taken from her. Instead of being bitter about what she did not have in a son, she cherished every part of her little boy.

I learned from that experience that all life is valuable and that we should cherish every morsel of life. I also discovered that no matter how fractured or impaired a person’s abilities are, joy, love, peace, and happiness can be and should be experienced by every living person.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Little Bit About Me

I'm an African American, 31-year-old woman, single, without children, college educated, and a for real Christian. I currently reside in Bush country. For those of you who don’t know—Houston is the home of the President George and Barbara Bush. I’m so lucky! And for those of you that do not realize it—I am joking about the lucky part.

Back to the bio… I love to experience pleasure. Well, as long as the pleasure is within the frame of what I deem to be right or wrong. For instance, I’m not going to be trying crack anytime soon. It’s some things in the world that God did not intend on us manufacturing or perverting in order to experience pleasure.

Moving on… I’ve had to cope with a lot of pain. But I am not one of those people who run to pain, just because that’s what they are use to. Pain, while it may have been useful in helping me develop into a mature woman, it is not what I welcome into my life. Pain is one of those things that God allows for my growth. But to tell you the truth, if I had it my way, I sometimes would rather be dumb and immature. Well, that’s at least how I feel tonight. So, don’t quote me. LOL Tomorrow, I’ll probably be thanking God for all the pain that has made me a strong, bold sister in the body of faith.

I am the oldest daughter of 4 girls. My parents are divorced, and they never remarried anyone else. Although they have been divorced for nearly 20 years, we're still a close family. My sisters and I are all daddy's girls. I know that having a father in my life has made a difference. Mama is all of that. But kids really do need a good mother and father. I’ll blog later about how I feel about the state of the black family later this month.

I started losing my sight at the age of 10. By the time I was 17, I was completely without sight. I could still see light, but I had no functional vision. Two years later, light departed me. I haven’t seen the glowing rays of the sun since I was 19. Glaucoma is to blame for all of this mayhem that I have endured.

But I have a confession though… Losing my sight use to be the tragedy that defined my life. Now, I am redefining my life. I want my life to be defined by the fact that I am overcoming the tragedy that almost succeeded in overcoming me. Yes, sight is important. And I would almost give anything to see again. But learning to live and be happy with or without sight is what I’m aiming for. I haven’t quite succeeded. But I’m on the journey to the land of unconditional joy.

That’s it for now. I’ll fill you all in later. Be blessed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pausing to Reflect and Celebrate

This year marked the anniversary of two very cataclysmic events in my life. One being my very distinctive thrust into what I think of as “real womanhood.” I turned 31-years-old. Yes, I am officially in my 30’s. I can no longer benefit from the excuses that the world makes for the 30 and under crowd. I have entered an era that forces me to not only look like an adult, but act like one

The other anniversary that caused me to pause and render it a great deal of attention was my 20-year anniversary of being considered legally blind. Wow! I can’t believe it has really been twenty years. Although it was two decades ago, I remember the first day that I was informed that I had contracted the thievish Glaucoma just as well as I can vividly remember the events of yesterday. While most students were excited about the leap from elementary school to junior high, I was losing my eye sight at a speed that left the eye specialist baffled and hunting for clues on what to do to help me capture at least a fraction of the sight that I was born with. But to no avail, the doctors’ best efforts couldn’t save my sight. After a vicious seven year battle that included fourteen surgeries, I was declared totally blind at the tender age of seventeen. The doctor’s considered my sight loss to be permanent.

Without a doubt, I think it’s time for a celebration, or at least some 30-something, bold reflections. I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why is she celebrating being blind?” I’m not celebrating a twenty-year anniversary of blindness. Far as I’m concerned, my blindness was a tragedy. What I am celebrating is the fact that so far, I have made it through this rigorous, dangerous, and sometimes heinous journey in tact. I have my mind, my life, and my joy. No eye sight, but I have me, a whole, complete me.

But with all that being said, I find myself facing challenges that I never imagined when I was a child/teenager/20-something girl that was blind. Life as a fully grown, 30-something, blind adult can sometimes overwhelm me. When I was a blind kid, I could get a break here or there. There were at least a few somebodies that felt the need to extend their loving arm of compassion towards me. But now that I am a grown woman, the response is different. The help I use to get, I don’t get any more. So, the independence that I had to exercise as a teen and young adult now had to be kicked to the highest gear.

My major concern now that I am in my 30’s is my financial security. First of all, I am not married. Secondly, as I get older, my parents are also getting older. The reality of their eventual demise grows more near with each day. The burden of making sure that I am taken care of for the rest of my life is sitting on my shoulders and my shoulders alone. Hence, I am taking some extremely calculated steps to make sure that my future gets and stays bright.

I began my journey to create a bright future by taking steps to become physically healthy. I have made a commitment to lose excess pounds, exercise, and change my diet. Being blind is hard enough. I certainly don’t want a stroke or heart attack to be in my future. Weight related illnesses, such as Diabetes, hypertension, congested heart failure run deeply in my family. I have witnessed how serious illness can hinder a person’s ability to stay gainfully employed, thereby, causing them to lose control of their finances.

The second step I am taking is to further build my credentials. I shoved my laziness and pride aside and returned back to school to complete my masters. At this point, my bachelors degree hasn’t meant anything to anyone but me, my parents and the admissions department for my graduate school. So, rather than pout about not being able to get a “good job” with my bachelors degree, I went back to school to gain a masters degree.

In addition, I promised myself that I would take the steps to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit within me. Instead of waiting on an employer to give me an opportunity, I am working hard to create opportunities for myself. It is my responsibility and only my responsibility to make sure that I am the recipient of a desirable income. So, if that means that I have to start my own business to have the income that I need and deserve, then that’s what I have to do. The only place that waiting on someone else to give me an opportunity gets me is waiting in the welfare line.

I’ve also made a decision to be a wiser consumer. My daddy and mama may not live forever, but the Benjamins do. I have made a commitment to save for those rainy days that I seem to have pretty often, save for my future as a old woman that’s blind, make purchases that are smart and efficient, and give to others in their time of need. Having money is not the answer to all of my problems, but it will solve a lot of them now and I’m sure in the future.

Being blind and 30-something is pretty frightening. But when I factor in the new goals that I set for my life, I am certain that my future is pretty bright.