Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Few Lessons (Part II.)

After posting the previous blog entry, I now realize that I must recant my statement about not having learned much of anything in 2006. I actually did. Interestingly, the lessons that I will mention in a few minutes just didn't come to mind this morning.

It was probably because I hadn't been sleep in about 24 hours. Although I pride myself in being a pretty functional night owl, the older I get, I realize how a lack of sleep takes a toll on my ability to think and create. It's hard to admit. But it's the truth. At this point, I think I need to reevaluate my commitment to getting sleep. Staying up all night doesn't work very well, especially when you are not getting a chance to sleep in the daylight hours.

Well anyway... Getting back to some of the things I learned in the last twelve months. I will only list a few.

1. I learned that buying a house is easier and harder than I thought it would be.
I didn't understand anything about the buying process or home ownership before 2006. While I am certainly not an expert now, I did learn a lot from our home buying experience. I am committed to learning more. I want to learn more about buying real estate, in addition to and home improvement tips.

2. I learned that excessive weight really does weigh you down.
I have spent most of my life being overweight. While I always presumed that I would feel better if I were not "fat", I now know. Not only do I feel better, I feel younger, more healthy, alive, and much more energized. I use to feel like my excessive weight was my failure for all the world to see. So often, I would feel uncomfortable and ashamed for being so heavy. Thank you Lord... I don't feel like that anymore. Furthermore, I'm able to play with my sisters' kids without feeling like I need to take a rest in between each physical activity. I can walk and walk and walk, without feeling like I need a new pair of feet and an oxygen tank. I just feel better! Losing weight has got to be one of the greatest blessings of my life. I literally feel like I've gotten a second lease on life. What a fantastic feeling!

3. I learned that being blind really is okay.
About 10 years ago, I attended a blind convention. I was shocked and insulted that the participants of the conference were singing songs about being blind. One of the lines of one of the songs that stuck out like a mashed thumb was: "I am blind and it's okay." When I heard those folks singing that, I wondered what the hell was wrong with them. How is blind anything remotely close to being okay? I left that conference thinking that those people didn't have a grip on reality.
After 22 years of being declared legally blind and 14 years of actually being totally blind, I now realize that being blind really is okay. It's not the greatest thing that can happen to a girl. But it certainly is not the end of the world. Beyond that, blindness is nothing I have to apologize about, explain, be ashamed about, or hide. It is what it is. Don't get me wrong... Being blind is certainly a nail in the rear. But I finally have decided to be okay with it.
I had an awakening when I was in Florida last summer. As I was walking through the hotel in Jacksonville, I felt so self conscience. I felt that everyone was staring at me and my cane. And guess what... They probably were. But I had to deal with it.
The next week, I traveled to NYC. As we were roaming the city streets of Manhattan, I still felt so uncomfortable. I just knew that my cane was drawing so much negative attention to myself. It's one thing if folks were noticing how dang beautiful I am. But being noticed and stared at for having a cane and being blind is a whole different set of circumstances. After a couple of days of being in NYC, I realized that being blind is a heavy enough cross to bare. Why should I have to bare the burden of wondering what people think about me for being blind. Who gives a dog on what people think. Most of the people that stop and look at me will probably never see me again. And more than that, most, if not any of them, have never paid any of my bills and probably will never. So, really...Why should I care about what others think.

Well, I learned some more things. But I'm going to stop right there. I don't want this entry to be too lengthy. I'll post again in a few days.

Until we meet again, be blessed. To everyone: I love you. And to a select few: I love you a whole lot!

Always learning and evolving,

Miss Angela L. Braden

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