Saturday, March 31, 2007


Ladama’s death confirmed something for me… You never know when your contract is going to expire. I think it’s time for me to starting hitting as hard as I can. I got to start banging out my legacy in this earth.

As much as I would like to think that I will live a long life, far as I know, I could be taking my last breaths this very hour. We really don’t know when our last day is. I know I don’t. And you might as well accept it, you don’t know either.

If I died today, the fact is they will be able to say that I lived a good life. It’s true. I have lived a good life. With the help of God, I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve done things that will make most folks shake in their boots. I’m thankful for all of my experiences, the good and the bad ones.

But have I accomplished all that God ordained me to accomplish in my life? Have I done everything that God hoped for me to do up until this minute? I’m sure I haven’t.

It’s time for me to get moving. I have a lot of work to do. I need to make use of this time that God has loaned to me.

That way when I die, they will say she lived her life to the max. They will marvel at all of the things that I squeezed in these very few hours that we are given to live. They will say that she served an awesome God.

I’m making an announcement. I’m getting ready to finish the book that I started writing a few years ago. I’m also going to start writing my memoirs. It’s time…

Keep me in your prayers. I need the Lord.


Friday, March 30, 2007


This week, I was forced to reconnect with a part of my life that I have tried so desperately to leave behind me. The time I spent at TSB, for whatever reason, was a very painful time in my life. So painful that I find myself haunted with a reoccurring nightmare that disrupts my sleep every six months. In this nightmare, I am informed that I didn’t complete one class, and I must return back to TSB for a semester to finish the class and receive my diploma. Keeping with the tradition of the nightmare, I always object to going back to TSB, but I still find myself back in the dorms I hated so much, and back walking through the hallways of a school building that I wished that I would never see again.

The reality of the situation is that I did indeed finish all of my classes at TSB, May 29, 1992. And when I graduated and crossed the stage, tears rushed out of my blind eyes. Graduating was such a liberating experience for more reasons than one. Actually finishing high school was just one of the many perks that came with having my diploma in my hand. When I started crying it was because I was finally getting the chance to declare TSB as an experience in my past. It was no longer my present circumstance. I left TSB, vowing to never return.

Well, I’ve maintained that vow, even though I think that the vow was a bit obsessive and over the top. However, I’ve not returned back to TSB physically or emotionally since I left. Besides the God awful dream I have about having to return back, I pretty much keep my memories of TSB locked in a volt, pushed in a very dark corner in one of the rooms of my mind.

The few friends that I had at TSB have always resented the fact that I decided to disconnect myself from TSB and everything that was connected to it. I now know that action was uncool, rude, and definitely over the top. (What do you expect? I was only 17 when I left TSB. Okay… What’s been my excuse all these years?)

This week, I found myself thinking and thinking and thinking about my times at TSB. Last week, when I got the call about my roommate leaving the Earth and flying away to meet God, I was forced to confront memories that I have decided to keep far away from me. I was forced to think about a place that my sorrow was so dense that sometimes I found it difficult to breathe. I was forced to think about a place that did so much to help me, but at the same time hurt me.

Sitting there in Ladama’s funeral, I got a chance to think about why Ladama made life at TSB better for me. I loved her for that. She was the diamond in a dark cavern of coal, rock, and dust.

Her death was made real to me when I walked up to her casket. Touching Ladama’s dead body electrocuted me. I felt all the emotions that I have ever felt in my entire life all at once.

When I touched her hand, I was drug back to the sidewalk that led into Dorm C, where Ladama and I called home for four years. I was lying in the twin bed in the tiny room that we called ours. I was sitting in the cafeteria at the table that Ladama and I would often eat and laugh for 30 minutes. I was in the gym, trying to be as physically fit as Ladama. I was in the wreck center listening to Ladama sing in the talent show. I was in the main auditorium, listening to Ladama play the piano in the spring recital. I was in the library helping Ladama with her homework. I was standing next to Ladama when she married the boy I hated she loved. I was walking through the campus with Ladama, clowning and laughing about anything we could think of. I was on the phone, talking to some boy Ladama thought it would be a good idea for me to hook up with. I was sitting in the TV room with Ladama, listening to videos on BET's Video Soul and Rap City. I was sitting in our room, listening to our favorite cassette tapes, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Guy, Bobby Brown, and New Edition. I was with my friend all over again.

I now know that I must deal with these memories, the good ones and the bad ones. I have to file them in a place that will help me and that will help others. Locking them away in a volt, never to be shuffled through, does not help me learn from all of those experiences.

I made a decision that I will make a pilgrimage back to the place that I died and then mustered up the courage to live. I will plan a trip to Austin and visit the place that I called home and school. I’m going to make it a point to go in the next 12 months. It’s going to be hard, knowing that Ladama is gone forever. But I still have to do this. I just need to decide who I want to go with me. I know that I will definitely have to be with someone that I can lean on in case I come face to face with some feelings that I didn’t expect to see.

Note to My Readers:
Don’t think that I am a little thrown off. And don’t think that I have mad issues. I just have some very dark experiences, thanks to the tragedy of losing my sight. I’m now in a place that I have to reverse the harm, pain, and sadness that was brought to me because of this experience. If you would like, you can travel with me. I’ll do my best to continue to update my blog as I renew myself and find my way back to love, peace, understanding, love, forgiveness, light, and acceptance of who I am.

I pray that God’s peace be all over you. Talk to God; and while you’re at it, listen for His voice. He has something to tell you.

Ms. Angela L. Braden

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pain, Death, TSB, and Ladama

I’ve tried to sit down a few times this week to write an entry for this blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to type more than two sentences. This week, I’ve been in pain. A pain that doesn’t produce tears, moans, and cries. Instead, it’s a pain that leaves one silent, wishing and hoping for a chance to articulate and release the pain that lives inside.

I think that I’m finally at a place that I can write about what has happened. At least, I’m giving it another try.

This week, I was informed that my best friend from high school passed away earlier in the week. Her name is Ladama Hunter. She was my roommate three years of the three and a half years I lived at the Texas School for the Blind.

Interestingly, I made mention of this young woman in one of my blog entries a couple of weeks ago. “Moonlight Madness” In that entry, I talked about my roommate, Ladama, who had no problem with sleeping. I went on to say that I would give the sleeping respect and not disturb her rest. Now, my friend is truly sleep. And now, just like then, I give her respect to rest in peace. Ladama was truly a special person to me.

Many of the people that met me in my post TSB life really don’t know much about that time in my life. It’s not a part of my life that I really like to talk about that much. The time I spent at TSB was full of pain and sorrow. I really hated TSB. And my feelings about TSB haven’t changed. Even though I’m grown, mature, and wiser, I still hate TSB.

And why did I hate TSB. Well, because TSB was the place that I was losing my sight. TSB was the place I lived, instead of living with my family. TSB was the place that I learned about and experienced racism. TSB was the place that I was sent to learn, rather than my home school district who should have taken responsibility for my education. TSB was a place that supposedly shielded us from the real world, while at the same time preparing us for the real world.

With that being said, let me also point out that all of my time at TSB was not bad. (I know that sounds hard to believe after the above rant. LOL) I had some great teachers, who really-really cared about their students. Those teachers, even the couple I didn’t really care too much for, made sure that I achieved all that I could. Of course, there were a few teachers/counselors that didn’t believe in me. But that’s cool. I didn’t feed off of their energy anyway. I attached myself to the folks that wanted to see me achieve.

When I was not hurting and wishing that I could just be dead instead of live out each dreadful day, I was kicking it with my roommate, Ladama. When I look back over my happy memories at TSB, Ladama is probably in 90% of them. She really did make life easier to live. If it wasn’t for Ladama, I probably wouldn’t have made it during that very sad part of my life.

I will always remember and appreciate Ladama for what she gave me. Laughter, hope, energy, determination, assertiveness, fun, friendship, sisterhood, companionship, and love… She was my best friend, and I’m comfortable saying that I was hers. We were like sisters.

Wednesday, I will attend her funeral in Tyler, Texas. News of her death is still a little surreal for me. I’m sure that the reality of what is already final will strike me deep Wednesday morning. I’m certain it will.

I’ll update my blog after I return back to Houston from the funeral. Until then, love God. He loves you.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Talk is Cheap

Proverbs 14:23 - In all labor there is profit, But mere talk {leads} only to poverty.…

Well, I tell you, that is a word right there.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's Finally Happening. I'm Blogging More Often.

From the day I started this blog, I desired to post pretty often. Somehow, I managed to let time and space get between my blog entries. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to say. It wasn't even because I didn't have time to say it. I simply just didn't have the motivation.

Plus, I wanted my blog to be focused and not just ramblings from an opinionated, blind, black woman. So many folks use their blog as outlets to complain, murmur, and moan. I didn’t want this blog to be used for that. It’s tempting. But I refuse to go there.

In the last couple of weeks, it seems that I am now motivated enough to keep this writing up. Why am I more motivated? I'm not sure. Maybe it's just a new season for me. I’m hoping that the season will last for a while. I have a few writing projects that I need to push out. God help. I need to make some money!

I kind of think of writing as a way for me to cleanse myself of all the emotional toxins that's trapped inside of me. I'm surrounded by so much negativity. I think that this blog is a place that I can just empty myself out. Of course, I'm not disclosing all the crap I feel on the inside and out. But getting a little something-something out actually helps.

My aunt just called me at 3:00 A.M. with her usual rant about something that me and my sisters are and/or aren't doing. Talking to her sends me to a place that I hate visiting. But she is simply inescapable. I don’t want to be rude to her and hang up on her when she calls. So, I just indulge her. Yes, I know… That’s my fault.

Let me get this straight… I absolutely don't hate my aunt; I just hate what she likes to talk about when she calls. What's that? Negativity. If it's negative, she loves to talk about it. She likes to call here and talk about things that happened 10, 20, 30, 40, and even 50 years ago. She brings up stuff that dead folks did when they had breath in their bodies. Again, if it’s negative, it’s on her tongue.

I'm not a person that likes to reexplore the pain that I experienced in the past. Why rehearse the pain? I got enough pain this very minute. Why do I need to remind myself of the pain I experienced days ago, especially years ago.

And if I’m thinking about things that hurt me only to remember how and why they hurt me, I’ve just became my aunt. And that’s not an option for me. Unless thinking about my pain can empower me to create happiness, wealth, newness, and self worth, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.

My conversation with her sent me to this blog. Besides my ability to choose, decide on a perspective, and love, it is the only thing that I own and control. It’s my space. And in my space, I feel safe. (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme.)

I have to remember what is important to me. So many of the entries on my blog remind me of the hope and peace that I cling to with dear life, and why I do cling to it. I refuse to allow anyone to disturb that. I don't care who it is.

So, I often travel to my blog to read the different entries. I’m sometimes encouraged by the words that God spills out of me.

It’s official… I dedicate this blog for hope, healing, and love. And if I talk about pain, I will be talking about what I gained from the pain.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t despise pain. I’ll explain that concept in another entry. Stay tuned.

Until we meet again, I pray that you make time to reach out to the Master. I also pray that you are refreshed, energized, and over loaded with satisfaction.

Much love, peace, and healing from pain,

Angie Braden

Thursday, March 15, 2007


My senior year in high school, I lost all of my eye sight. Well, I could still see light. But what good was that? For all intense purposes, I was totally blind.

The doctors always told me that total blindness was a real possibility for me. I always believed that could never happen to me. And if it did, I decided that I would just kill myself. Seriously... I made up my mind that I would rather be dead than to live life as a blind girl.

Well, the dreadful day that I would lose all of my sight came a couple of months after I turned 17. And killing myself was no easier than living. I was stuck. Stuck living, but still dying on the inside.

I needed a way to escape. A place that could feel no pain... Sleep became that place. But going to sleep wasn't that easy either.

I ended up getting a bad cold and got some Nyquil to take. What did I do that for? I messed around and realized that I could use the Nyquil to help me slip away into a place that I couldn't and wouldn't feel anything. The cold left me, but the Nyquil bottles stayed for months.

The only reason why I gave up the Nyquil is because I moved back to Houston with my mama. And one thing was for sure was that my mama wasn't gon' put up with me drinking Nyquil everyday. It wasn't like I could get to the store and buy if for myself. Mama would have clamped down on me so hard that I would have needed more than Nyquil to help me be numb.

But my days of hitting the bottle would return after one short year. I left mama’s house and moved to Denton to attend University of North Texas. My days of becoming a real live lush began at Maple Hall. I started hanging out with some girls and drinking anything we could get our hands a hold to. Drinking so much that I would often find myself sick as hell the following morning, and sometimes for a few days.

Thankfully, I realized that my life was spiraling down into a pit of complete and utter despair. After 2 years of drinking and getting drunk, I gave up alcohol, which means I gave up the numb feeling that I would find when I was drunk. I also gave up getting sick to the brink of being alcohol poisoned. I also gave up the possibility of passing out from time to time. Yes, I hate to admit it. I would sometimes drink to the point that I would just pass out.

But after I put the bottle down, I picked up a fork and spoon and started eating the pain away. So much self destruction in the name of false comfort. Food punished me more than the bottle did. I would eat to escape pain, but I ran smack into fat. Just thinking about it trips me out.

Well, after almost killing myself for being so heavy and out of shape, I gave up eating as a way to find comfort in 2005. I lost a lot of weight. Praise God!

But now, I’ve picked up another bad habit. I picked up another bottle. I know this might sound silly, but the fact is that I am hooked on Mountain Dew. Yes, I said it… Mountain Dew…

Why is that a problem? Well, drinking all that caffeine and empty calories is not the way to good health. My doctor has already told me that soda has so many calories and sugar. He also explained how the carbonation bloats your stomach. Lord knows I don’t need any bloating. Plus, I don’t want to gain a pound of weight. I still would like to lose 20 more pounds. I sho’ don’t need to be gaining any weight, not even one pound.

I find myself wanting a Mountain Dew when I am feeling stressed. The caffeine in it calms me. Some people drink caffeine to boost them. But caffeine has the opposite effect on me. I actually feel relaxed when I have caffeine in my system.

A couple of months ago, I actually gave it up for a week. I managed to survive the bad headaches that one has to endure when they are coming off of caffeine cold turkey. And what did I do, I got a Mountain Dew at the end of the week. I figured I had done pretty good. I could take it easy on myself and have one bottle. Well, you know what happened the following days.

It’s a trip. As I’m sitting here writing this and thinking about how I'm not going to drink any more Mountain Dew, my sister told me that she’s about to go get something to eat. What did I tell her to bring me back? A mountain Dew from the corner store… God help. When will I learn?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


About 2 hours ago I posted an entry, discussing how my crazy behind can't sleep at night. After I finished that entry, I walked away from my computer with the intention of going to bed.

Why am I still up?

It's 6:45 A.M. I feel like I'm going to fall out. I hate when I stay up so long that I feel torn down.

Oh well... I'm going to get in my bed now.

I'll try this again tonight.



Moonlight Madness

Somewhere around fifteen-years-old, I developed this love for the night. I don't know. It was something about the midnight hours that relaxed me. No, not the kind of relaxation that seduces you to a good night sleep. I'm talking about the relaxation that's so good that you want to stay awake to enjoy it.

My unorthodox sleeping habits made its appearance when I moved out of my mother’s house and into a dorm at the Texas School for the Blind in Austin. Not immediately though… After one normal year of going to bed at roughly 10:00, the moon started calling my name. I started staying up to watch late night television, read books, and any other activity I wanted to do. I just enjoyed the silence of night.

Every night midnight rewarded me with silence. And silence was what I needed to gather my thoughts, do whatever I desired to do without any annoying interruptions, recover from the nonsense of the day, and heal my gaping wounds.

Another reason why I liked to stay up at night is because the folks that stood on my nerves would be sleep. It seemed that I could only escape them when they were sleep.

Let me explain, I lived in a dorm with a bunch of other girls. Most of them were not my friends. In fact, my dormmates were apart of that group of people that worked on my nerves the most. (I hate to be mean. It is what it is.)

But there was a chick that I loved hanging out with. She was one of the coolest white girls that I have ever known. Cassie also had an affair with the midnight moon. We would stay up and talk, read, watch television, try on clothes, and just sit in her room, soaking up the peaceful silence.

(I had to go to Cassie’s room at night. My roommate, Ladama, didn’t have any problem sleeping at night. So to give the sleeping respect, I would sneak down the hall to Cassie’s room after the dorm supervisor ordered the lights off.)

But it came with consequences though. We would often get in trouble by the night-time dorm supervisor. But that didn't stop us though. What did two night owls care about being on restriction in the evenings? That’s the time we would get our naps in.

So here I am... Fifteen years later... And I still find myself being more comfortable with 4:00 A.M. than 4:00 P.M.

But something is different lately. I'm up, but I'm not relaxed. I'm up, but I'm not at peace. I’m up, but not really getting much accomplished. I'm just up. And I’m not really comfortable with that.

I need to reevaluate some things. I need to take an honest look at my sleeping habits. I guess what I’m trying to figure out is:

Is staying up all hours of the night a choice?
What’s the real reason I can’t/don’t like to sleep at night?
Am I making the best of my time awake?
Are all these sleepless nights finally catching up with me?
Is it okay that I’m a woman of the night? (Get your mind out of the gutter. LOL)
Is it just my nature to be up late at night?
Does my blindness have anything to do with my clock being different from most people?

I guess I got a lot of exploring to do. In the meantime, I think I’m going to force myself to get in the bed. It’s 4:30 in the A.M. I guess this is a good time to call it a night.

Well, good night. Or should I say Good morning?


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Most children are afraid of the dark. But I think my fear of darkness was more intense than the average child. So, when I started losing my eyesight at the age of ten, my fear level increased dramatically. I found myself being surrounded by perpetual darkness. I was afraid every moment of the day, simply because of the deep shadow that loomed around me that seemed to never disappear.

Quite naturally, as I matured into a young woman, my fear of physical darkness faded and I learned to not tremble and faint over the darkness that followed me daily. I am not going to pretend like darkness doesn’t heighten my need to be more alert and careful, but I am glad that I am not imprisoned by the fear of darkness like I was for so many years.

Looking back on my childhood fears, I now realize why most people are afraid of the dark. The uncertainty of what lurks in the dark seems to put people on edge. It’s not really the darkness that is frightening. The unknown possibilities that hide in the darkness are what we are afraid of. As we become adults, we may leave our fear of a dark room behind. But our fear of unknown possibilities and uncertainty typically follows one into their adult life.

The night of August 2, 2002, I came face to face with one of the most challenging and daring events of my life, so far, that is. That unforgettable night, I found myself in a very dark and frightening situation.
When I arose that unforgettable Friday morning, I presumed that particular Friday was going to be like the many Fridays that had come and gone. I would get up and go to my job with more peace than I had Monday through Thursday. Simply because Friday was the day that connected me to my two days off from work. But I was in for a rude awakening. That Friday would usher in a heap of changes and challenges that seemed to be insurmountable.

After finally counting down the hours that led to the end of my work week”, I celebrated by meeting a childhood friend for dinner. Since my friend and I seldom have a chance to spend time with each other, I relished every minute. Before I knew it, hours had tiptoed by.

Midnight was approaching. I knew I should be headed home. I called my mother to let her know that my friend was about to bring me home. However, my mother, being the protective, selfless woman she is, preferred to meet us halfway, so that my friend did not have to drive the entire way back to her apartment alone. My mother immediately left our home and headed out to meet my friend and me.

Upon arriving at the meeting spot that we all agreed would be the most convenient and safest to connect, my friend informed me that my mother was already there waiting for me. I greeted her and jumped in the car, ready to get home to my bed.
After being in the car for only five minutes, I detected that something was not right. Our car began to swerve across the busy lanes of the expressway. I initially thought my mother had fallen asleep. I called her name and nudged her. But we swerved again. She was not responding to me. The car violently swerved again and again. I held on to the door of the car with my right hand, bracing myself for a possible crash, while continuing to scream her name. Strangely, she still would not respond to the shouting of her name. Miraculously, the Lord allowed my mother to pull the car off to the side of the lanes. But still, she was not responding to my persistent request to tell me what was wrong.

I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I told them that I believed that my mother was having a stroke or a heart attack. Sadly, because I could not tell them exactly where we were, they could not dispatch emergency officials to help us. My heart sank and fear wrapped its dirty claws around my neck.

The 911 operator asked me to hold the phone while she and emergency officials tried to locate us. With my cell phone tucked between my shoulder and ear, I jumped out of the car and feverishly waved my hands, but no one would stop. Then I jumped back into the car and tried to encourage my mother to hold on and to cling to life. Then suddenly, my cell phone battery went completely dead. I panicked. My only drop of hope had evaporated when the one person that was trying to help me was suddenly disconnected from me.

I almost fell into a heap of despair, but I knew I had to get help for my mother. I lunged out the car and began waving my hands again, but this time I added screams and tears. However, the roar of the rushing traffic was the only thing I could hear. There were no sounds of sirens coming near. Nor was there the sound of a car pulling over. At this point, I did not know if my darling mother, who I love so dearly was alive or dead. My phone would not work, and I couldn’t run for help. I felt so alone. The fear of my mother dying right there on the side of the freeway assaulted my mind. Likewise, the fear of being left on the side of the freeway with the never stopping traffic all night, without anyone to rescue me, swelled in my heart. My very being was being crushed underneath the increasing weight of fear.

Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit touched me and reminded me of the many scriptures that I have learned and believed in most of my life. I remembered that God promised in His word that He would never leave or forsake me. I remembered that the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run in and they are safe. I remembered that God would respond to the cries of His children. I begin to scream the name of Jesus as loud as I could. Tears poured from my face like a rushing river. I screamed and screamed, with the assurance that God would respond to the cries of His child.

After only a few minutes of calling on the name of my Lord and Savior, someone pulled over and called 911 and gave them a location. Upon arriving at the hospital, I found out that my mother had suffered a massive stroke. But praise God, she is still alive and God is healing her every day.

Looking back on that seemingly dark night, I now realize that God was indeed present when I felt so fearful and alone. For example, God could have allowed my mother to suffer the stroke before she picked me up. If that happened we probably would have not known for hours where she was. Secondly, when my mother started having the stroke while driving, we could have been involved in a terrible accident, severely injuring or killing both me and my mother and maybe someone else. I now realize that God’s hand was still controlling the series of events that night. Although we were in a chaotic situation, God still wrapped His arms around us and protected us from danger.

We, the children of God, must understand that God will protect us from the eternal destruction that hurt, harm, and danger can bring. The tragedies and disappointments of life may, in fact, dim our vision making it seemingly impossible to detect the presence of God. But we must believe, beyond a shadow of any hint of doubt, that God is indeed present in the dark times of life. He, in all His faithfulness, will never forsake His children. There is no reason why we should be afraid.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm so proud!

This is an exciting day for me. Today is my bloggerversary! I've been blogging for a full year. What an accomplishment.

The reason why this is an accomplishment is because I have often started journals and never kept up with them. This is the first time that I committed to write on a continual basis, without someone else motivating me, such as a boss or a professor. I did this all by myself and with my own motivations.

Maintaining this blog has been important to me. I have learned a lot about me. And I also feel that I have shared a lot with others about my journey as a woman, who happens to be blind. No doubt about it, blindness has massively impacted my life. This blog gives me the opportunity to at least make notes of how blindness and disability in general have impacted my life.

Yes, notes... I could never truly tell the whole story. I don't have the energy to do so. And when I do have the energy, I'll be writing a book.

I want to thank all of those who drop by here every so often. I do realize it's only a few. But that's okay. This blog is for anyone that can be blessed, even me.

A big thanks to Rev. Heber Brown. His blog,, was the first to catch my attention. In fact, I had never posted on anyone's blog before his. It was his blogging that motivated me to register my own blog. I've been blogging every since.

Well, God bless you real good. I pray that God's wisdom, peace, and love wraps itself all around you. I pray the same for myself.

Only because of the cross,

Angela L. Braden

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Created to Reflect God's Glory

I am...


Do I take the blame for these attributes? No, God gets all the glory. I am His masterpiece and his workmanship. And if God created me, then I know I'm super bad. Again, God gets all the credit. He certainly deserves that and more.


(That’s the point of this particular entry.)